By Jim Newell
Lake Orion Review Editor
Oxford and Orion are merging forces to benefit festivals in both communities this summer with an evening cruise aboard the Grand Princess Riverboat on Lake Orion.
The Caribbean Cruise raises funds for the Lone Ranger Parade and Festival in Oxford Aug. 5-6.
Oxford businessman Rod Charles, who organizes the Lone Ranger festival — ‘The Home of the Mask” — is organizing the cruise.
Charles also is contributing to the Lake Orion Fireworks Association to help with this year’s operating costs.
“This is part of the Lake Orion Fireworks Association,” Charles said. “This helps out Lake Orion, and we’re doing a fundraiser for the Lone Ranger, too.”
This year’s fireworks show is from 9 – 10:30 p.m. July 1 on Lake Orion and has been a local draw for years, with people lining the lakeshore and the streets and businesses in the Village of Lake Orion to view the fireworks.
The riverboat cruise is from 7:30 – 10:30 p.m. July 3 and departs promptly from Pelton’s Point off M-24, just south of Flint Street, near the Orion Marine.
Attendees are urged to arrive early.
Reggae band One Love out of Detroit will perform during the cruise.
“There’s a live Reggae band playing on the cruise. I think that’s cool ‘mon,” Charles said.
Tickets are $39, “Which seems pretty fair to me for a riverboat cruise with Reggae music. It’s going to be fun,” Charles said.
The cruise includes hors d’oeuvres and cuisine from local restaurants.
“It’s BYOB because we can’t sell alcohol,” Charles said.
Charles said he drove up M-24 last year when the Grand Princess was docked at Pelton’s Point for the LO Fireworks Association fundraiser and turned his car around to check it out.
“Coming up M-24 one day I see this huge boat docked in Lake Orion. I took a mental note to use it for a fundraiser and called Carl Cyrowksi (president of the Lake Orion Fireworks Association) and said, ‘This is something that looks like fun, let’s do it.’”
Charles, a Lone Ranger aficionado said he would like to bring events to Oxford and Orion and see the communities do more together to benefit residents.
“I mean, we’re three miles down the road from each other. Everyone benefits,” he said.
Oxford resident Brace Beemer was the third radio voice of the Lone Ranger from April 18, 1941 through Sept. 3, 1954. Beemer was an American radio actor and announcer at radio station WXYZ (AM) in Detroit.
Clayton Moore went on to star in the popular televsion show, The Lone Ranger, in the 1950s.
To purchase tickets online visit www.homeofthemask.com or http://rodcharles.wixsite.com/home-of-the-mask. Click on the Tics tab and Caribbean Cruise.
For information or to purchase tickets, call Rod or Mary Ellen at 248-371-9100.
Ticket also are available at The Lake Orion Review office, 30 Broadway St., in downtown Lake Orion.
For information on the Lake Orion Fireworks Association, or to make a donation, visit www.lakeorionfireworks.org.