The Deer Season

November 18, 2019

This grainy newsprint photo is all we have showing one of the famous stovepipe candy canes. This shot is from 1965 and was taken in front of the Riverside Restaurant, later Irish Inn, and Homebaker’s Bakery, now the Dream Diner.
Bruce Aittama was featured on the front page of the Press on November 15, 1989. He was photographed installing Christmas on Main Street earlier in the week. A couple of the red bells are on display at the Marion Historical Museum.

By Julie Traynor

By November 1989, Marion, Michigan’s year long Centennial fest was winding down. In fact, most of the celebration was over. We were looking to the upcoming deer hunt and Thanksgiving, soon at hand. It was a busy time in our little Village.

During Marion’s Centennial year of 1989, the publication date of the Marion Press fell on the opening day of Michigan’s Firearm Deer Hunting Season, November 15. Thirty years later, and the opener and the Press publication date once again mesh up. This means it’s likely that nary a big buck photo or a good hunting tale will appear in the Press this week. The only one buck to appear in the November 15, 1989, issue was an 8-point hit by a vehicle days before. But that is not to say there was no news, quite the contrary.

Historically, by mid November, Marion has her Main Street decked out for Christmas, not only for her citizens but also for the influx of deer hunters. From the 1940’s through the 1960’s, strings of colored lights hung across Main at several intervals from Clark Street to Pickard. In between, fresh evergreens in the form of small trees or garland wrapped with lights hung on each street light post. It was all very festive and lent a certain magic and sparkle to Main Street.

Decoration was updated as need and condition demanded. Marionites enjoyed lit evergreen garland and brightly painted tin stovepipe candy canes for a long while. Before that, small Christmas trees were much admired. By 1989, the stovepipe canes and real trees were out, replaced by plastic garland, wreaths and big red bells.  Main Street was very festive during the red bell years. Almost every year, a photo of the Village crew installing decorations made the Press. This year was no different.    

 Garnering more than its share of Front Page space were details of an upcoming school millage request. A blurb about a murder in Temple did not get enough coverage. But the big story on this date 30 years ago was news of the retirement of Dr. Douglas Youngman, Marion physician for 42 years. This was likely was the top story of the month.

 Many of the advertisements were for events aimed at deer hunters. A Hunter’s Supper at the high school offered turkey or ham and all the fixings, including homemade pies. If fish better suited your fancy, all you can eat at the Irish Inn on Friday night, served up with Norma’s famous salad bar, bread and your choice of spuds was the place to go.  The Marion VFW threw a Hunter’s Ball on Saturday night featuring music by the Bad News Band – food and drink available. The Eagles served up breakfast on Sunday morning.

Things have changed a lot in Marion, Michigan since her 100th birthday, and in many ways, they have not. We still like our Christmas décor up by mid November. The big Buck Pole, rather new to our scene, has made quite a name for itself in a little over 10 years. It will likely remain a big draw, still packing them in by Marion’s 150th birthday in 2039.        

Good Luck, Hunters!

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