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Allegan: there's only one


It does not happen very often these days that you find something that is unique. Search for your name in any search engine and you’ll discover that no matter how strange you think your name is, there are others like you. However, there is one name that you will not find with multiple names or locations: Allegan, Michigan.

In fact, Allegan’s latest marketing technique is called the Only One Allegan campaign, referring to the fact that Allegan is the one and only Allegan in the entire United States. As unique as the name is, I felt it only fair to see how unique Allegan is and what the city has to offer.

Allegan is located in Allegan County at the intersection of M-89, M-40, and M-222. The city is nestled along a curve in the Kalamazoo River providing picturesque images and their famous one-lane iron bridge. At the center of it all is the beautiful and active downtown district, filled with shops, eateries, and practical services for the citizens. But do not think that just because you are not a local member you can not enjoy what the city has to offer.

Downtown Allegan offers a great variety of shops and restaurants with history to boot. A great place to begin is the Regent Theater, Allegan’s pride and historical landmark in downtown Allegan. The Regent Theater is a beautiful historical landmark that was able to be restored through grants from the state. It has become a great focal point for the downtown and a lovely stop for avid movie-goers. The theater has one screen that continues to show current movies on reel film, as well as opportunities to see older films in special events throughout the year. The prices are cheap and the concessions are delicious, especially on ‘Bring Your Own Bucket’ day, when you are able to bring a container to fill with scrumptious popcorn.

Downtown Allegan also offers shops and restaurants featuring collectibles such as antiques and food in a variety of offerings. There are several bakeries, cafes, bar and grills, and even a national chain in Pizza Hut. The shops range from hardware stores to woodworking shops, from party stores to candy shops. There is surely something for everyone to enjoy in downtown Allegan.

What truly makes Allegan so special is the festivals and events that are scattered throughout the calendar in. The Farmer’s Market runs from May to October every Thursday in a small parking lot near downtown. In addition to finding fruits and vegetables from local farmers, you can find local organizations to support and treats from bakeries. Good Times at the Gazebo is the summer concert series that takes place from the July 3 Celebration to the end of August at the Gazebo on the Kalamazoo River. The setting and the local music provide a wonderful evening for everyone looking for a ‘good time.’

Two of Allegan’s biggest events are the July 3 Jubilee and the Allegan County Fair. Allegan’s citywide celebration for American Independence is the July 3 Jubilee which takes place on the riverfront. While many cities compete for excellent fireworks shows on July 4, Allegan has wisely decided to extend the celebration onto July 3 and brings in hundreds of people to their town to celebrate. Fireworks, festivals, and lots of fun contribute to an excellent celebration in the small city.

The Allegan County Fair, which is currently underway, is Allegan’s other big celebration. This year the fair takes place from September 11-19 and includes concerts from Kelly Clarkson, David Cook, and the ventriloquist Jeff Dunham. As fairs go, there are plenty of farm animals, fair food, and carnival games. The Allegan County Fair is no exception and always manages to draw a crowd to the Allegan County Fairgrounds, just off M-222.

Allegan County also offers a great deal of quality entertainment, from skiing in the winter, to canoeing in the summer. The city offers a wonderful, quaint atmosphere with friendly and welcoming people. There are wonderful places to stay and even a restaurant featured on the Food Network called The Grill House on M-40, south of town. Allegan certainly has a great many things to offer any visitor willing to stray from the highway to simpler times. It is, for good reason, the only Allegan of its kind. The local flair and the Midwestern attitude contribute to a fun and charming city that is worth a quick stop.

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