Village of Sanford to host hometown music festival, Pop Up Palooza

Local Sanford residents were shocked and saddened to hear the announcement that the annual music festival, Parkapalooza, would not take place in the village this fall, but rather in Midland. But after community chats with residents, nonprofits, and event organizers, the Village of Sanford decided to host its own, mini version of the popular free music festival on Sunday, Aug. 1 with the first-ever Pop Up Palooza at Porte Park from 1-5 p.m.

The first-ever Pop Up Palooza will be held Sunday, Aug. 1 at Porte Park from 1-5 p.m.Village of Sanford President Dolores Porte saw firsthand the disappointment local folks had when they learned their hometown festival, which began in 2005, was being relocated. 

“My role was to respond to the community’s feedback that they’d like to have something like that, and to reach out to Dstreet and see if they couldn’t make it happen,” Porte says, “which we did.”

Porte met with Teresa Quintana of Sanford Strong and Modern Realty and Ed Kerns of Dstreet Music Foundation to discuss whether an event could still take place in Sanford. Porte suggested Porte Park, and the conversation went from concept to planning the event: bringing in a stage, securing porta-potties, renting tents, trash cans, securing sponsorships, and recruiting volunteers. 

Porte Park, located just south of downtown Sanford and the Pere Marquette Rail Trail, is new. After the 2020 Dam Failure, the community acquired it as a result of the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Act.

“What was once a lively neighborhood was wiped out by the flood, and our goal has been to create a space residents can use for outdoor recreation, social gatherings, small concerts, etc.,” Quintana says. “ We are doing our best to make lemonade out of lemons.” 

Porte Park, located just south of downtown Sanford and the Pere Marquette Rail Trail, is new, acquired just after the 2020 Dam Failure.

Pop Up Palooza will feature food trucks, inflatables, and live music from Michele Spitz (Linda Ronstadt tribute), Cornpone, Laurie and the Lefties, and Damsel and The Stress

Dstreet Music Foundation Events Coordinator Ed Kerns says he understands the initial community reaction to Parkapalooza being moved out of town. 

“Folks were justifiably unhappy that it was moving and so were we,” he says. “It was certainly not our intention to turn our backs on the people that have supported us all along. We talked with Dolores and Sanford Strong and some other community members, and decided this was something we could still do for the village.” 

Porte Park, located just south of downtown Sanford and the Pere Marquette Rail Trail, is new, acquired just after the 2020 Dam Failure.Dstreet is a nonprofit that provides musical instruments for children, musical scholarships, and more. Part of their mission is to bring low or no-cost music events to places that might not have them otherwise, says Kerns. Pop Up Palooza fits right in.

“The people in Sanford, I think, are deservingly anxious to rebuild and frankly, have a little bit of fun in their lives,” says Kerns. “They’ve been working to put their houses and their lives back together with so much destruction that’s been there.” 

For Sanford Strong leader Quintana, events like Pop Up Palooza celebrate the community’s resiliency. 

“We want to keep the morale high in Sanford during our recovery, and we want to continue to grow the community,” she says. 

Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.

Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at