Island Profile – Paint the Town RED!

“We have nametags to hand out so there’s no confusion at the football game. People always seem to look at one another and think, ‘Do I know them? Did we go to high school together?’” says Burgan.

Beginning Friday, September 22nd, Grosse Ile will kick off its three-day community gathering called Paint the Town Red. The weekend will consist of the Grosse Ile High School football game and homecoming, a family-friendly festival on Saturday, and the third annual Tour de Ile on Sunday. The entire three-day event is happening with the sponsorship of Angela Sukockas, Director of the DDA; Chad Novak, Director of Grosse Ile Island Fest; Kim O’Farrel, president of the Grosse Ile Recreation Department; and John Burgan, president-elect of the Grosse Ile Rotary Club.

The event kicks off Friday at 4:30 p.m., when the homecoming parade will commence with the Grosse Ile High School homecoming court and floats. Following the parade, there will be a tailgate party, sponsored by the Rotary Club, in Lyon’s Park with free hot dogs and water. The Rotary Club will also be handing out nametags for Grosse Ile High alumni.

“We have nametags to hand out so there’s no confusion at the football game. People always seem to look at one another and think, ‘Do I know them? Did we go to high school together?’” says Burgan.

The night ends with the Red Devils facing the Flat Rock Rams and the announcement of the Homecoming King and Queen.

Then on Saturday, residents can enjoy an afternoon of fun with a family-friendly fun fair located on Macomb Street.

“The idea for this whole three-day event around homecoming came up during the centennial celebrations.” Novak says. “It’s an opportunity for local businesses to showcase themselves and our beautiful business district to the community.”

The afternoon is filled with fun activities like face painting, balloon animals, and more all put on by the Art of Lions. Local businesses like Grosse Ile Hardware, the Gardening Center, and Ohana House will be selling spirit wear, and local restaurants will offer a Taste of Grosse Ile with samples and displays. Also on the agenda are hunts for Grosse Ile-inspired rocks, sponsored by Downriver Rocks. “I’m super excited to have this community event with an old fashion feel.” Sukockas says. There will also be a chance for students send their principals into a dunk tank or throw a pie in their face.

Then, when the high school kids are at their homecoming dance, their parents can enjoy craft beer tastings and live music at the Fifth Third Bank parking lot.

The three-day extravaganza ends Sunday with the third annual Tour de Ile. There are three possible tours to follow. The first, a 20-mile ride around the island called the “clean water ride,” showcases the natural beauty of the island. The second, a 40-mile ride with the mission to “end polio now,” extends on and off the island, taking the free bridge off Grosse Ile, through Elizabeth Park, and ending in the Lake Erie Metro Park. In the last tour, riders have the opportunity to pick their own route and will have access to historical areas around the island.

According to Burgan, “It started as a unique fundraiser and community event. We fundraise for local and international causes through the rotary club. This year we are partnering with the Downriver Clinic for the Underinsured.”

Post-race, riders and spectators can enjoy a food truck rally, a children’s bike parade, and more. The winners of the Business and Bike contest, ending Friday, will be announced on Sunday by the Homecoming King and Queen.

The Paint The Town Red weekend is a joint effort between the Grosse Ile Downtown Development Authority, the Rotary Club of Grosse Ile, Grosse Ile IslandFest and Grosse Ile Community Recreation Department. Visit for additional information and updates.