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Meridian Township Embraces 175th Anniversary

Thursday, September 21, 2017  
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Year-long festivities create buzz and impact local economy

Meridian Township collaborated with businesses, non-profits and the residents to embrace its 175th anniversary year packed with a variety of events to commemorate the Township’s landmark year. Festivities have drawn more people from outside the area, which means greater exposure for the Township and a significant boost to the local economy.

Since the New Year’s Eve 175th event kickoff, Meridian Township has seen a tremendous response by the community at its events. Here’s a look back at the first eight months of Meridian Township’s 175th Year celebration – by the numbers (New Year’s Eve 2016 – August 2017):

  • More than 95,000 people attended 25 events
  • 13 local charities received a portion of the $15,300 raised so far from the events
  • Over 200 area businesses and organizations generously contributed more than $92,816 in financial sponsorship and over $100,000 in in-kind donations to support the events
  • More than 700 community members volunteered their time to help attendees have a positive experience during the festivities
  • The Food Truck Rally grossed over $175,000 in sales
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods sold $10,000 more in sales the Saturday of the Gus Macker Tournament than they did the same time last year

“The community, including the local businesses, have truly embraced the opportunity to be involved in a community-wide, year-long celebration,” said Deborah Guthrie, Meridian Township communications director and 175th special events coordinator. “I remember one of the first things we heard when we went door-to-door to businesses telling them about our 175th. The overwhelming response was how appreciative they were and asked how they could be involved.”

Meridian Township has already heard from many of the local businesses that have been impacted by the 175th events that have said they’ve seen many people coming from outside the area, which means greater exposure for the Township and a significant boost to the local economy.

“With 265 teams the first year, it is evident there is still a strong desire to participate in the Gus Macker. Teams traveled from across Michigan, even coming from as far as Illinois and Ohio to play. This resulted in more than 1,000 athletes and plenty of additional family members visiting Greater Lansing. The impact financially to the region and event sponsors is significant,” said Mike Price, executive director of Greater Lansing Sports Authority (GLSA). The GLSA hosted the Gus Macker 3 on 3 Tournament in Meridian Township on July 14 -16.

“The Food Truck Rally, in conjunction with the Celebrate Meridian event and the Gus Macker 3 on 3 Tournament, undoubtedly drove traffic and sales in the mall as well as the surrounding businesses,” said Meridian Mall General Manager, Todd G. Huhn. “Many of our tenants had double digit sales increases over the Gus Macker weekend.”

“Celebrate Meridian is our premiere event. This year, we added the Food Truck Rally as part of the event. Normally we have around 5,000 visitors to the Celebrate Meridian event. This year, we had almost 50,000 attendees,” said Guthrie.

Here is the line-up of the remaining Meridian Township 175th anniversary events to wrap up the year. For complete details, visit meridiancelebrates175.com.

  • Sept. 18 – 29: History of Meridian Traveling Pictorial Exhibit, American Legion Post #269, Haslett, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Oct. 2 – 31: History of Meridian Traveling Pictorial Exhibit, Community Music School/ Michigan State University, East Lansing, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Oct. 14: Rock the Block! Zumbathon, Haslett Shoptown Neighborhood Center Parking Lot, 2 – 4 p.m.
  • Oct. 29: Old Okemos Cemetery – Riverside Cemetery Guided Tour, Riverside Cemetery, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 29: Poor Farm Cemetery Guided Tour, Ingham County 'Poor Farm' Cemetery, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 10 – 30: History of Meridian Traveling Pictorial Exhibit, Horizon Bank, East Lansing, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Dec. 10: Christmas in the Village, Meridian Historical Village, 2 – 4 p.m.

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