The Latvian center Gaŗezers, located in southwest Michigan, is set to mark its 45th anniversary of providing educational, cultural and recreational resources to Latvians from the American Midwest and beyond.
The center, near Three Rivers, Mich., will mark the anniversary with three days of celebrations from July 23-25, including a concert by Čikāgas piecīši, an art exhibit, an open-air dance and a worship service.
Gaŗezers, situated on Long Lake, began as idea in 1964 to create a summer camp for Latvian Lutheran congregations in the Midwest. The center’s founders created a nonprofit corporation and in 1965 acquired the former Girl Scout property that became Gaŗezers.
The center today is home for a six-week summer high school for Latvian youth (Gaŗezera Vasaras vidusskola), a summer camp for children, camping and trailer facilities, and other activities such as an annual 3×3 culture camp for families.
Gaŗezers includes more than 50 buildings, according to the center’s website. The nonprofit’s net assets at the close of 2008 totaled more than USD 1.5 million, according to the corporation’s tax return. That year, it took in nearly USD 293,000 in contributions.
The anniversary festivities at Gaŗezers begin at 8 p.m. July 23 with a concert by ČIkāgas piecīši. Admission to the concert is USD 15.
Events on July 24 include the opening at 10:30 a.m. of an art exhibit, “Mākslinieks trimdā: Latviešu bēgļu māksla 1944-1950,” focused on the art of Latvian refugees, lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the anniversary concert and open air dance at 7 p.m. The concert, set in the Song Valley (Dziesmu leja), will include performances by the Gaŗezers choir, Dzlmieši, Kīns un Mednis and DJ MGD. Admission to the exhibit is USD 10, while admission to the concert costs USD 25.
The anniversary celebration concludes July 25 with a 10:30 a.m. worship service in the open-air church and a noon lunch, silent auction and talent show for supporters of the Gaŗezers Summer High School. Admission to the lunch and talent show is USD 10.
A ticket to all events costs USD 50 and may be purchased in the Gaŗezers office. Children younger than 12, as well as participants in and employees of Gaŗezers summer programs, will be admitted free.
For further information, visit the center’s website at www.garezers.org.
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