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Today in Lansing: St. Johns Mint Festival


St. Johns Mint Fest

Aug. 10 to Aug. 12

Clinton County Fairgrounds

100 State St., St. Johns

Click here for event page and schedule

Though mojitos are a signature island drink, it is quite possible the mint that goes into today's cocktail came not from the Caribbean, but from the 5,000 acres of fertile mint farmland around St. Johns.

“St. Johns Mint Festival was started 34 years ago to celebrate our mint heritage,” said Brenda Terpening, Mint Festival general chair . “We continue to be one of the largest producers of mint in Michigan.”

According to a study by MSU, 90 percent of the world’s mint oil supply came from Michigan during the early 1900s. St. Johns' website said the county ranks first in the production of mint in Michigan.

Despite growing over the years, Mint Fest hasn’t lost its charm, said Terpening. “It’s really a hometown family festival with something for all ages.”

The event attracts about 60,000 people annually, according to the city's website.

“It is the largest weekend for the city — it highlights our community for people who have never been here,” Terpening said.

The Jeep show is becoming more popular every year, said Terpening.

“It started out with people wanting to use an old BMX track that was stagnant for a while,” said Terpening. “Now there are homemade rocks and hills. They get down and dirty, and it is loads of fun.”

Though the festival is St. Johns' largest event, mint farmers will be busy harvesting their yield that weekend for the season, said Terpening. “If you drive by the farms you will smell the mint there.”

There will be a gigantic assortment of mint products, said Terpening. “They have everything from mint hot fudge sundaes to mint brownies. We also sell mint candies and mint oil made right in St. Johns."

People claim mint oil helps alleviate headaches and stomach aches, said Terpening. It’s also good in tea, for those with sore throats.

Mint Fest wouldn't be possible without volunteers, said Terpening. “We have a boatload of volunteers that do it out of the goodness of their hearts.”

Musical acts include the Mint City Singers, Brenda Loomis Band, Karen Domanski, Donald Benjamin, DeWitt Community Band and Paul Imholte.

Other entertainment includes a dog agility show, Capital Ballet and mechanical rides.

“We invite everybody up to have a good time.”

For more information, visit www.clintoncountychamber.org/mint

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