Celebrating the art of agriculture and fresh breath, the 29th Annual St. Johns Mint Festival kicked off Friday with events held at St. Johns City Park and the Clinton County Fairgrounds.
Saturday saw huge crowds in attendance for the parade that had an estimated 100 floats and at least 5,000 people in attendance, according to Alan Ebert, an auxiliary officer at the parade, who said he was happy with the turnout and the smooth flow of events.
The event also included a car show, carnival games, rides and arts and crafts, along with a Civil War encampment. The Civil War encampment featured historical re-enactments, including uniforms and weapons used during the war.
St. Johns, Mich., resident Chris Mikula said a large number of mint farms are present in the area, giving the town a common reputation of ““Mint Capital of the World,”“:http://www.downtownstjohns.org/downtownstjohnsmi.html or “Mint City USA.”
“I have been here more than a dozen times now,” Mikula said. “Everything from family businesses to local churches and kids groups.”
The Mint Festival is held approximately at the same time that mint farms surrounding St. Johns harvest their crops. Mikula added the flea market, businesses, food vendors and carnivals at this festival contribute to the excitement every year.
“The parade is the big part of the festival, and then all the people make their way up to the St. Johns City Park where they have a craft show and a carnival,” he said. “A lot of people come to town for this weekend from all over the area.”
Lansing resident Aaron Shelle said he enjoyed his first time at the Mint Festival, citing spending time with his family as his favorite part.
“I thought it was very well done,” Shelle said. “… They got a bunch of candy. (The parade) was pretty cool; it was my first Mint Festival. I got to see my nephew and two nieces in (the local swim team), The Sea Lions.”
The Sea Lions was among the many other organizations that participated in the parade.
Some of the other floats that caught the attention of the spectators were the Red Hat Society, Andy T’s Farm Market, Clinton County Sheriff’s Special Rescue Team and several other floats with pageant participants and winners.
St. Johns resident Dominique Wilson called the St. Johns High School Marching Band’s performance “the best” act of the parade. The marching band played the school’s fight song, among other tunes.
“The band was probably the best part of the whole parade,” she said.