9 & Mack association celebrates downtown St. Clair Shores and summer with annual Junefest

After 25 years of promoting the stretch of businesses that run along Greater Mack Avenue from 9 Mile Road to its southern border with Grosse Pointe Woods, the 9 Mack Merchants Association is gearing up for its annual party, its biggest event of the year: Junefest 2019.

Representing the 75 or so businesses that make up what is often referred to as the downtown of St. Clair Shores, the non-profit 9 Mack Merchants Association organizes events like Junefest to help raise funds for its yearly operating costs.

While the Nautical Mile might have the views of Lake St. Clair, the Shores and its downtown have plenty of businesses worth patronizing, says Mark O’Brien, chairman of the Roy O’Brien Ford dealership and president of the 9 Mack Merchants Association.

While the organization is considering the formation of a Business Improvement District that would collect money from area businesses to help fund itself, 9 Mack Merchants currently relies on events like Junefest to act as fundraisers.

They put in the requisite work accordingly.

"It’s months and months of hard work before Junefest," O’Brien says.

"This one-day event requires ten months of planning. People don’t always see that side of it."

This year’s events include dance performances, free face-painting, Kiddie Korner activities, the Lovely Lyra Ladies Acrobatic Troupe, a petting zoo, sidewalk sales, Tootsie the Clown, and train rides.

One of the more popular events at the annual festival is the Battle of the Bands, which pits local music groups against each other as they vie to win over the popular vote. The winners go on to perform at famous local rocker Vinnie Dombroski’s annual Rockin’ the Shores event.

"There is definitely some vibrancy being developed downtown. A lot of that credit goes to Vinnie. He wants to bring a lot of youth and vibrancy to the area," O’Brien says.

"We need to attract that youthful vibrancy here."

The 2019 Junefest takes place on Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the city’s downtown.

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