Cascade Heritage Day is the key to community bonding

According to history teacher and wrestling coach Brad Anderson, Cascade Heritage Day is a great way to celebrate the Native Americans who first settled on this land. 

Cascade has a rich history that deserves to be celebrated. Cascade Heritage Day is a day to come together as a community after the struggles of last year, and Anderson strongly believes that events like these will help to bring our community closer. 

“This was land settled by Ottawa Native Americans; they were early pioneer settlers,” Anderson said. “The Irish settled out where the airport was, out near Grand Rapids. They were then asked to leave GR, so they came to where Cascade is. We have a very unique heritage.”

Cascade Heritage Day not only brings us together to celebrate our history but our future too. Anderson hopes Cascade Heritage Day becomes an annual event. He believes it is important for the community to have something like this to bring them together. 

“One of the biggest things, when I was growing up here, was [that] there’s nothing to do,” Anderson said. “You can come walk around and see people, [it’s something to do].”

Online teacher Andrew Belsito holds no expectations for the new Cascade Heritage Day, though he hopes its importance to the community and the support for the event grows each year it is held. Each year, little by little, the gathering will get bigger and bigger.

Cascade Heritage Day includes a 5k in the morning, a cornhole competition, many kid-friendly activities, a beer tent, and a live 80s and 90s band. There is something for everyone. Belsito is a runner and is excited to show his love for his community during the 5k. 

“I’m looking forward to the 5k,” Belsito said. “It’s fun to run different routes. It’s always fun to challenge yourself or push yourself to get a different time, or to run different paths or courses.” 

The hope is for everyone to have something to look forward to at Cascade Heritage Day. There is hope for a large number of people, though it is understood this is a new idea. Belsito expresses his wish for students to attend the festivities, although he expects only a few students to show, as it is the day of Homecoming. 

Though few students are expected, there are activities planned in case. There is a student-age group for corn hole, and it is a nice walking distance away from many residential areas plus teen hangout locations. It is desired for more students to join each year. 

According to English teacher John Fisher, Cascade is at a deficit for community gatherings. The only one to come to mind would be the Fourth of July.

By going to Cascade Heritage Day, the community will grow and history will be made. 

“It will be a cool opportunity for the community to just get together and enjoy each other’s company,” Fisher said. “You know, we all have had a lot of stress being isolated during COVID-19 and the whole political atmosphere before that. Hopefully, people can come out and just enjoy being in Ranger Country and just have some fun.” 

This event is not a new idea; Anderson and Fisher had talked together for a while before bringing in Town Supervisor Grace Lesperance onto their podcast “This is Ranger Country.” She agreed that Cascade Heritage Day was needed. 

Fisher is excited about the different activities throughout the day. He sadly cannot take part in the 5k but will be on the cornhole team “Trophy Husbands.” He looks forward to bringing his family along with him to the festivities taking place. 

All three teachers agree that Cascade Heritage Day is a great bonding experience for the community of Cascade. This promising reacquiring event holds much excitement for everyone. By going to Cascade Heritage Day, the community will grow and history will be made. 

“I hope they will feel like they are part of something bigger, apart from just themselves, or that they are really a part of the community,” Belsito said. “I hope they see there are really people around that they might not have thought they had anything in common with, but there is common ground, and that begins with the place we live.”