Ypsilanti Citizen Community Ypsilanti Cycle

Volunteers prepare for Ypsi PRIDE Day
By Mark Tower
May. 13, 2010   ·   7:09 a.m.

Volunteers and W.H. Canon employees plant flowers in Depot Town while Ypsilanti resident Mike Labadie repairs the planter's brick work on Ypsi PRIDE Day last year.

Each year, residents in and around the city of Ypsilanti carry on a tradition started by a group of community members enrolled in a city leadership program, a sort...read more

Bicycles zoom as flowers bloom
By Citizen staff
Apr. 30, 2010   ·   2:11 p.m.

Riders from last year's spring ride come in after a long trip. Bike Ypsi’s 2010 Spring Ride and Festival is from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sunday at Recreation Park (1015 Congress Street).

The weather has turned, the trees are budding and the flowers are popping out of the ground; time for a cruise through town. But don’t be so quick to hop in the...read more

Sheriff Clayton visits Ypsilanti Township
By Mark Tower
Apr. 29, 2010   ·   12:59 p.m.

Ypsilanti Township resident Kathleen Hanadel takes notes as her and other residents attempt to asses WCSO services Tuesday evening at a community forum held at the township's community center.

About 50 Ypsilanti Township residents gave the Washtenaw County Sheriff Office their input about law enforcement in the community Tuesday evening.

The information...read more

Local photographer raising funds for Ypsi Project exhibit
By Adrienne Ziegler
Apr. 20, 2010   ·   2:20 a.m.

Ypsilanti resident Nicholas Beltsos his grandson Demetrios were photographed by Project Ypsi photographer Erica Hampton during a bike ride she took Monday. A former EMU economics professor, Beltsos and his family moved to Ypsi from Dearborn in 1967.

Ypsilanti has many faces, and Erica Hampton wants to share a few of them with you.

Over the past year, Hampton created the The Ypsi Project, a series of portraits...read more

Savoy taking shape as live music venue
By Dan DuChene
Apr. 17, 2010   ·   2:38 p.m.

Local funk band Third Coast Kings play in Ypsilanti's newest live music venue, Savoy, Friday night.

Ypsilanti's newest concert venue is preparing for its grand opening weekend April 23, more than a month after its soft opening March 13.

Formerly Club Divine,...read more

Downtown's Devil Ducky Derby

Dr. Kimberly A. Rice DDS

Merchants push for more activities, sales

By Dan DuChene
Aug. 17, 2009    ·    10:40 a.m.


Downtown organizers are putting a new twist on a Heritage Festival staple this year, with the Devil Ducky Derby. 

Unlike the Rubber Duck Race, which pits rubber ducks against each other to see which can float down the Huron River faster, the Devil Ducky Derby features more sinister toys propelled by water guns. 

Sold at The Rocket, downtown’s candy and novelty store, Devil Duckies are similar to standard rubber ducks, but have devil horns and tend to be painted with different themes or styles. 

The Rocket sells ninja, army and pirate Devil Duckies, among 15 other varieties. The store will be donating the Devil Duckies for the event, along with the water guns. 

The Devil Ducky Derby will take place at 1:30 p.m. Saturday on Washington Street in Downtown Ypsilanti. Denise Cutlip, a member of the Downtown Association of Ypsilanti, said there would be several different competitions based on age group, each with a prize from local businesses.
 
“We figured it was a little edgier,” Cutlip said of the Devil Ducky Derby. “It should be fun.” 

Cutlip said participants will push the ducks with water from the squirt guns down a wet, slippery plastic track. She said the fastest duck in each age group will win in a single elimination match. 

Paul Balcom, who owns the Rocket with partner Eli Morrissey, said the store has sold Devil Duckies since it opened nearly three years ago. He said the toys have become popular with the store’s patrons. 

“People collect them,” Balcom said. “People all have their favorite thing.” 

Balcom said many of the items the store offers are collected by patrons. He said a lot of people like local-oriented products, especially T-shirts. The most popular shirt is the “tower power” shirt that depicts Ypsilanti’s signature water tower. 

“(Ypsilanti-oriented products) are a big seller,” he said. “Everybody knows we have them.” 

The products are so popular Balcom said the store will be highlighting them in their sidewalk display for this year’s Heritage Festival. He said the Rocket has had a sidewalk sale every year since it opened, but they have always centered it on clearance items. 

“We want to do it bigger than we normally do it,” Balcom said. 

In fact, Balcom wants sidewalk sales downtown during Heritage Festival weekend to be so big he’s hoping other stores get involved too. Balcom said several downtown merchants have been getting together, and plan to hold sales during business hours the weekend of the festival. 

Simply deVine Cards-N-Gifts, Studio Glamour Fashion, Rita’s Designs and Salt City Antiques signed on to participate in the sidewalk sales two weeks prior to the festival. Balcom said he hopes as many as eight merchants get involved with the effort. He said the more merchants that are involved, the better sales during the festival will do. 

“It’s normally our biggest week of the summer,” Balcom said of sales during the Heritage Festival. 

Comparing the weekend to sales for Easter, he said much of the boost in sales can be attributed to the sidewalk sales they put on. 

Balcom said the Rocket has introduced new locally oriented products in time for the Heritage Festival, including a “tower power” shot glass and two new shirt designs. 

He said when his store releases new products, they often outsell the staples. He said a shirt introduced in April that highlights Ypsilanti’s new place in the film-making world has actually been out performing the “tower power” shirt, which has been offered since the store opened. 

The yellow shirt says “Ypsiwood” on it, written in a similar manner as the iconic Hollywood billboard. 

However, Balcom said people have also come in to the store to replace their “tower power” shirt, as the old one had worn out. 

Ypsilanti Historical Society
Roots Jamboree
The Rocket


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