Tuesday, June 30, 2009

native son

Here's the letter from Winsor Robert McCay (great-grandson of artist Winsor McCay) that Kevin Collier read at the historical marker's unveiling:
Dear Mr. Collier and the Spring Lake Heritage Festival Committee,

On behalf of the McCay Family, I would like to take this opportunity to commend your organization and thank-you for honoring Winsor McCay at the McCay Day festivities. Our family would like to express their gratitude and are pleased that your organization has chosen to recognize Winsor McCay for his outstanding talents with this historical marker. It is fitting that you have chosen to honor him as a native son of Spring Lake. We know that this tribute will provide further inspiration and joy to future artists and fans worldwide.

His artistic genius and unique imagination were revealed at a young age in the village of Spring Lake. The foundation for this impressive ability as a master of both the comic strip and the animated cartoon is being recognized here today due to the hard work and determination of many of you. The dedication of this historical marker will remind us all to never stop dreaming or forget our childhood fantasies.

We regret that the family is unable to attend the festivities, but we look forward to visiting Spring Lake in the future. Again, thank-you for this wonderful tribute.

Best regards,
Winsor R. McCay

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It all started here...

Here's the Grand Haven Tribune's recap of McCay's marker unveiling. Great article by Marie Havenga and wonderful photos by Abbey Moore. You can read the full article here: Winsor McCay historical marker dedicated
Here are a few excerpts:
"This is something to be very proud of, "said Mark Miller, chairman of the Spring Lake Historic Conservation Commission and the Winsor McCay Committee. "It all started here. This area influenced his beginnings and that's something to be very proud of."

About 50 people attended the dedication of a state historical marker at that site on Tuesday. It included speeches by historians and local and state officials, followed by a 90-minute presentation of McCay's life history and animation projects.

Michigan Historical Commission member Tom Trescott said Tuesday's historical marker dedication is the first of a planned West Michigan Pike tourist initiative, designed to promote West Michigan beach towns as far north as Ludington and perhaps Mackinac Island.

The cartoonist's great-grandson sent a letter to the local historical committee to express his gratitude for the honorary plaque and the work that brought it into being.

"We look forward to visiting Spring Lake in the near future," wrote Winsor Robert McCay in a letter read by Grand Haven Tribune cartoonist Kevin Collier.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

McCay Day 2009!

McCay Day 2009 was tons of fun! Thanks to everyone who planned, presented, and participated. It was a wonderful, memorable day! Here are a few highlights for anyone not able to make it...

Chef Jim LaPerriere prepared Welsh Rarebit for a full room. And woah-ho-ho-nelly... was it good...

The McCay Party held for the younger set included crafts...

...and cookie decorating.
(Here's what happens when you let kids loose with frosting)

Children's book author/illustrator Aaron Zenz took everyone on wild adventures with Little Nemo and his friends.

Then all the kids were invited to create one last dream for Little Nemo to explore:

That's one CRAZY dream!

Later in the day, cartoonist Kevin Collier guided a full house through a great comic class.

And the evening held one of the events we'd been dreaming of for years: the dedication of a marker honoring Winsor McCay in his hometown of Spring Lake.

A crowd begins gathering for the unveiling and dedication...

Greeting were given by Mark Miller, chairman of the Winsor McCay Memorial Committee and the Spring Lake Historic Conservation Commission.

Some thoughts were shared by animation expert and historian, Ray Pointer.

Kevin Collier reads a letter from Winsor Robert McCay, the great-grandson of Winsor McCay.

Some of the kids in attendance were invited to help with unveiling...


Here's a view of the backside of the marker, while Michigan Historical Commission member Tom Trescott gives some concluding remarks.

All in all, one great day! Stop by to see McCay's new marker... And give thought to McCay Day 2010!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


A nice article about the upcoming Winsor McCay historical marker dedication appeared in the Grand Haven Tribune. Here are some excerpts:
"Winsor McCay is one of the many little-known Michiganians who have had a lasting impact on our state and our nation," said Michigan Historical Center Director Sandra Clark. "His pioneering work in animation is part of our state's historic and modern leadership in the field of design."

Mark Miller, chairman of the Spring Lake Heritage Festival and a local Winsor McCay committee, said he's been waiting for this day.

"Every community looks for that certain thing that really helps it stand out," Miller said. "Winsor McCay is just that. He grew up here. He's famous to this day. When he drew the SS Alpena sinking on the Union School chalkboard, that really kicked off his career. That ship sank in Lake Michigan in 1880."

Miller said the Michigan Historical Center found the McCay connection so fascinating that they sped up the historical marker dedication.

"They bumped it up so we could have it here for Winsor McCay Day," he said.

You can read the full article here: Winsor McCay Day celebrated Tuesday in Spring Lake

Friday, June 12, 2009


Even more McCay fun here in his hometown!

On Monday, June 15, at 7:00 pm. - (McCay Day Eve), Executive Chef Jim LaPerriere is coming to Spring Lake District Library to prepare Welsh Rarebit. Welsh Rarebit (which has nothing to do with our long-eared, cotton-tailed friends) is a savory melted cheese dish, which occasionally spawns some interesting comic nightmares, if you aren't careful. Enjoy some samples and take home some recipes. (Pre-registration required)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Historical Marker!!!

Great News! We are getting a Winsor McCay historical marker!

We knew this had been put in motion, but it's creation and delivery was supposed to take months and months to accomplish. However the folks at the Michigan Historical Commission loved the focus of the project so much, they bumped it ahead of all the other projects in line so that it could be ready in time for the Heritage Festival's "McCay Day" celebration!

So... everyone is cordially invited to attend the dedication ceremony of the Winsor McCay State of Michigan historical marker on Tuesday, June 16 at 6:30 p.m. The event will take place in the park located between the Spring Lake Township Hall and the Spring Lake District Library, 123 E. Exchange Street. The site is the one-time-location of Union School which McCay attended as a child and is directly across the street from the location of his childhood home. You are invited to remain at the library for the Ray Pointer presentation on Winsor McCay beginning at 8:00 p.m.

There is hope that McCay's grandson and/or great-grandson will even be flying in to attend the dedication.

The marker is set to be delivered next week. It will be installed and covered, awaiting the big reveal. In the meantime, its resting place has been dutifully marked with what we've now dubbed the "Winsor McCay Memorial Stick":

Thursday, June 4, 2009

McCay Day Events

Join us for McCay Day 2009!

When: Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Where: Spring Lake District Library in Spring Lake, Michigan - Winsor McCay's hometown

10:30 a.m. McCay Day Party
Children ages 3 to 6 are invited to attend this fun filled party which will include cookie decorating, face painting, and a dinosaur craft. Special guest, artist and children's book author Aaron Zenz, will introduce us to Little Nemo and kick off a fun story time and art project!

2:00 p.m. I'm OK with McCay Cartoon Workshop
Artist and cartoonist Kevin Collier will highlight the art and life of Winsor McCay as well as lead a traditional cartooning and comics class. This program is designed for children in third grade and up.

7:00 p.m. Winsor McCay, Father of Animation
Ray Pointer, an animation expert and historian, discusses the many contributions of Winsor McCay to the world of animation. Currently the Creative Director of Inkwell Images, Pointer is also an instructor at the Kendall School of Design. With 40 years of professional experience in the field of animation, Pointer is a member of The Television Academy of Arts and Sciences Animation Peer Group, has worked with Nickelodeon Animation Studios and MGM Animation, and has over 300 credits to his name.

7:00 p.m. Winsor's Whimsical Creations
This fun program is designed for the kids. Boys and girls can participate in a scavenger hunt, put together their own Gertie the dinosaur puzzle, and paint a shirt.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

McCay Day is on its way!

The 2nd Annual "McCay Day" Celebration has been scheduled! Join us on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at the Spring Lake District Library in Spring Lake, Michigan. The day's events are planned in conjunction with the Spring Lake Heritage Festival, held in Winsor McCay's hometown.

Details to come in the next post... In the meantime, here's a look back at some of the family fun we had last year!

For all info regarding McCay Day - both this year and last - click HERE

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Comic Strip Library

Over at the fantastic Comic Strip Library, all the Little Nemo episodes have been uploaded. Now they're working their way through Winsor McCay's "Dream of the Rarebit Fiend." What a great resource!

Monday, June 1, 2009


Quote from legendary Warner Bros. animation director Chuck Jones:

"The two most important people in animation are Winsor McCay and Walt Disney. I'm not sure who should go first."