Peter Rettig, a resident of Rosedale Park from 1958-2010, doesn’t remember a June without a June Day in Rosedale Park. Peter has many fond memories of the over 50 June Days he attended. “I went to all of them! They were a big deal!” The earliest June Days that he remembers took place at Stoepel Park. Later the celebration moved to Rosemont-Acacia Park, also affectionately known as Flintstone Park. While the location has changed, June Day has always been held on the first Saturday in June and it is always a “big deal”. For well over 50 years Rosedale Park residents have been building floats, grilling hot dogs, organizing kids’ games, and lining sometimes Chalfonte, sometimes Rosemont, sometimes Eaton, to watch the parade. Over 50 years of high school bands have marched along with the president and board of the Rosedale Park Improvement Association who waved from convertibles. Fire chiefs and police chiefs have marched in the parade. Prizes were awarded to the best floats. For years and years kids have ridden in the parade on their carefully decorated bikes. Charlotte Petnaude remembers more recent but no less exciting June Days and the excitement her kids in particular had for June Day. “My kids lived for the days before the June Day parade when they would plan their bike decorations.”
Peter also remembers June Day as a great opportunity to collect association dues from Rosedale Park residents and to recruit new members. In fact, as a former president of the RPIA and longtime board member, Peter’s most effective strategy was to ask residents “Do you have any complaints?” When he heard “No, we love living here. It’s great!” Peter would then ask “Then why haven’t you paid your dues?” He was successful in getting 100% dues participation on his Glastonbury block.
So, while you’re mixing the potato salad, or helping your kids make sure their decorations stay on their bikes, or gathering the chairs you’ll need to watch the parade, remember that you are part of a long and important tradition. One of the most powerful forces in the world is a sense of community. And that’s what Rosedale Park’s June Day celebrates. Rosedale Park residents knew that more than 50 years ago, and while the world and the city may roil around us, we still will celebrate the simple power of community, of gathering on the first Saturday in June to celebrate the fact that we’re part of one of the most wonderful communities in Detroit.