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Frankenmuth bringin’ back the 80’s

On April 8, 2014

The 1980’s return for the 10th time as “Bringin’ Back the 80s Festival” in Frankenmuth at Heritage Park raises money for the American Cancer Society and cancer related causes. Jeanna Rogner, president of the 80’s festival, began the event 10 years ago when her mother, Jill Ann Zehnder, passed away from breast cancer.

“I wanted to do something in honor of her. I was at the convention for the Michigan Festivals and Events Association, and there was an 80’s cover band there,” said Rogner.

According to Rogner, it was when she saw the band play that she got the idea for the festival. Rogner’s two sisters, Jodi Reinert and Juli Cleary, dad Jon Zehnder, cousin Shelley Mixter and aunt Kathy Zehnder help make up the committee for the event.

Every year, according to Rogner, thousands of people come for the festival and dress up in their best 80’s gear.

“Last year we had a lot of people; it was so packed. We were prepared to cut people off at the door, but luckily we didn’t have to (be)cause of the weather,” said Rogner.

The flood kept the population at bay and the committee provided free shuttle buses for people to get rides from the festival to Frankenmuth hotels.

“This year if there’s no flood we will do the free shuttle; we don’t want people drinking and driving,” said Rogner.

According the Rogner, this year will bring some new entertainment and old favorites such as a hair salon to get your hair done 80’s style, a rec room featuring 80’s toys and games, a hot pink Chevette painted in characters like the Smurfs and E.T., breakdancing by Michigan’s Vertical Ambition and a look-alike contest.

New entertainment includes a 1980 Chevrolet Citation on display and on Friday, April 25, 80’s cover band, The Big Rock Show will play hair band songs. Due to popularity over the years, the Square Pegz cover band will play on Saturday, April 26.

“80’s fest is probably our favorite show,” said lead singer of the Square Pegz, Cindee Lish, of Northville, Michigan. “We try to mix it up; we try to not do the exact same songs, but we do sing the popular ones people like,” said Lish.12

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