From my parents’ wedding ride of a lifetime, to being just a little tot dressing up with my family as chickens, walking the streets during the parade, to now being the queen of the ball…
The streets of Romeo, a sentimental showcase for every child-like memory I can account for, come to life in a merry-go-round of color during Labor Day weekend. Dear friends and loved ones gather around to witness firsthand this dose of nostalgia, but stay longer than to simply soak up each other’s company.
Laughter spills and dances down the sidewalk as the sun lightly kisses your cheek. Former strangers now bound together by the same yearning for their fix of the bittersweet memories they hold onto, as I do mine, file down the street for miles. What once was my parents’ memories of floating down the parade in a horse and carriage after their wedding ceremony now fade effortlessly into the gleam in my pastel green eyes. Many of us find sweet satisfaction in the summertime, because for a blink of an eye, we don’t have to be at school, or at work, or anything besides relaxing and stocking up on our vitamin D. And as much as summer ending seems like a unanimous drag, Labor Day weekend is always the perfect way to cap off the season.
Hi, I’m Emilee Wichtner, and I’m the 2016 Romeo Peach Queen. The Romeo Peach Festival is an annual event that I hold very dear to my heart. To me, the festival symbolizes community, tradition, family, and, let’s face it… happiness too. This year, while I get to encounter the five-day-long festival from a brand new perspective (that of a queen, of course), I will be attending each event hosted and experiencing it all right alongside of my friends, family and the rest of our community.
Whether you’ve been attending the parade for generations or if this is your first time swinging by, be sure not to miss some of my favorite events including: The Annual Baby & Pet Photo Contest (from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 1), which I won 9th place in when I was 3 months old; the 5K and 10K run (at 6:45 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 1), which I will be passing out awards; KIDSFEST (from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 3), a fun day dedicated to kids that includes relays, shows, games, crafts, a petting farm, train rides and giveaways; the Arts and Craft Show at Frontier Town (from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 3), which I always go out of my way to go to and stock up on fun ankle bracelets and homemade knick-knacks; the Nighttime Parade (from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 4), where my family once raced down the streets, acting silly dressed in chicken gear; the Children’s Parade ( at 10 a.m., Monday, Sept. 5), where we will host our annual bed races; and, lastly, the Labor Day Parade (at 1:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 5) where I will make my appearance as queen on my float.
These are only a handful of highlights that make me reminisce on my younger years, and I can only imagine it’s the same feeling for my parents, my grandparents and the rest of the community who have watched the streets of Romeo transcend into a walk down memory lane year by year.
So drop your obligations for Labor Day weekend, and head to Romeo where we ride carnival rides, stuff our faces with peach pie and laugh until our stomachs hurt. I don’t know about you, but I know where I’ll be.
For more information on the Michigan Peach Festival, visit http://michiganpeachfest.com/.
Emilee Wichtner is the 2016 Romeo Peach Queen.