Los Angeles, CA – Recently (Saturday July 23rd) a lively crowd gathered once again at the Cheviot Hills Recreation Center in West L.A. to celebrate the 39th annual Detroiters and Michiganders/L.A. Picnic.
This is the time of year when displaced Detroiters and Michiganders come together from all around to share fond memories of the city known for Motown music, Better Made potato chips, Vernor’s Ginger Ale, Faygo pop and other nostalgia. The hanging shade trees bring to mind the island on the Detroit River – between neighboring Windsor, Canada and Detroit – called Belle Isle.
City Sports Coordinator David Mims flew in from Detroit for the occasion. Other attendees included spoken word artist Ralph Jennings; Marcus Blend who DJ’d; Aaron Willisma of Hollywood Philadelphia Media; musicians/songwriters/media like Cornelius Grant, Quentin Dennard, Marvin Marshall, Larry Buford, Adell Shavers, David Mims, Ralph Jennings, Andy Harland, Jr.; actor Ernest Harden, Jr. (The Jefferson’s); Kacey The Songbird; and Horatio Gordon who added to the ambiance with his saxophone renderings.
Representing Detroit West Coast roller skaters were Marilyn Coleman, Kennedy “Too Tall” Wright, Marcus Blend, Gloria Taylor, Rita (Cocoa) Wilson-Rivera, Rita Versey, Gary Byrd, Aubrey McMurtry, Maurice Windom, and Kyra Locke.
All Detroiters are identified by their high school alma mater, like John C. Williams who attended Detroit’s top-rated Cass Tech.
Games included Hula Hoop, Bid Whist, Dominoes and Spades competitions. Detroit urban style dancing was demonstrated by Michal and Sandra Tyus; and of course there was lots of Motown singing especially by Dave Spight who knows all the parts of The Temptations’ songs!
A special thanks to volunteers Muriel Baldwin, Stephanie Harris-Byers, Louisa Abernathy, Evelyn Stokes, Price Zaire, John Williams, Debora Williams, Marilyn Coleman, Lynet Morrow, Cynthia Goldstein, Andre Graham and Dennis Weiss; and sponsors Dangerman Urban Super Hero Foundation, DerShawn Music Publishers, and Terrance Montgomery.
What a great Michigan reunion of friends, family and acquaintances! Organizer and president Gloria Taylor promises some surprises for next year which will mark the 40th anniversary. Stay tuned at http://michiganla/net