John Dee holds annual Snowfest

ATLANTIC MINE – Once again, more than 100 snowmobilers were united in their love of good snow and good causes.

John Dee’s eighth annual Snowfest took place Friday and Saturday, culminating in a dinner Saturday night in Atlantic Mine.

Dee said they had raised about $8,000 prior to Saturday night. He anticipated getting $3,000 to $4,000 more after Saturday’s dinner and silent auction.

With the eight years combined, “I think we’re closing in on $100,000,” he said.

About four years ago, Dee said, the Snowfest found its stride and hasn’t lost it since. A dedicated group of volunteers helps organize the event. And each year, Dee goes out to local businesses and community members and gets donations running from gets financial contribution, free lodging, or free food. And of course, the snowmobilers keep coming.

“My name’s on it, but I’m just a small part of it,” Dee said. “It’s all the other elements that make it what it is.”

The money benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan. Each year, the money benefits a child from the area.

This year’s recipient is Tom Olson from Mohawk, a 14-year-old boy who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth.

“It’s pretty neat,” said Olson, who found out about it two months ago.

Al Olson, Tom’s father, called it “humbling.”

Olson’s wish is to get a Polaris Razor ATV.

“My cousin had a dune buggy and I was jealous of him,” he said.

And where does he plan to ride?

“All over,” he said.

Chris Doezema rode up on his snowmobile from Petoskey. He’d found a lot to love.

“It’s a great area, and with the way the weather has been, it’s nice to know every place here there’s always snow,” he said.

It was also the first time for Joe Popka, who owns property in Calumet but lives in Naples, Fla.

“It’s great,” he said. “I’m glad to see it go to a good cause. It’s especially great to see it go to somebody local.”