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Student art piece chosen to be next Red Flannel Festival logo

High school students invited to submit designs


One of Haley Van Houten’s earliest memories of the Red Flannel Festival involves crime.

“I remember as a kid feeling like I was actually breaking the law if I didn’t wear red to the festival,” said the high school junior. “One memory that stands out for me was when my brother, who was wearing an Ohio State jersey, got put in the Red Flannel jail during the festival.”

Haley poses with two of the images she used in her logo design

Keystone cops patrol the festival, looking for anyone not wearing the color red. Whether red-adorned or not, Haley definitely will be noticed at the 2018 Red Flannel Festival, to be held Oct. 6.

The RFF board has chosen her artwork as the design for this year’s logo, which will be reproduced on promotional posters, T-shirts and other memorabilia.

Cedar Springs High School art students were invited to submit a sketch for the RFF 2018 based on the theme “Step Back in Time.” Nearly 130 students participated in the challenge.

“It was interesting to see what they came up with,” said festival board President Randy VanDuyn. “There was something that I had in mind, but they came up with all sorts of different ideas. Many of them were very good.”

Festival logo winner Haley Van Houten loves art

Concept designs ranged from drawings of antique vehicles and buildings to dinosaurs.

One novel design came from an exchange student from Spain.

“Her entry has a gigantic keystone cop holding a person wearing green — which happens to be the opposite of red — amidst a sea of people wearing red,” said art teacher Jennifer Swift. “It has been really fun to talk with her about Cedar Springs and the Red Flannel Festival, since she is experiencing it for the first time.”

This design was chosen for 2018 Red Flannel Festival logo

Personal ‘Step Back in Time’

Haley said that she was always artistic even as a small child. “I have taken art every year that I could in school,” she said. “I take art classes not necessarily to get better, but because I enjoy it.”

She is currently enrolled in Intermediate Drawing & Design, but her favorite medium is painting and coloring. “I do not love sketching from life and prefer to create from my imagination,” she said.

Said Swift, her art teacher, “She is an extraordinary artist who is talented, hard-working and brings a positive attitude to the art room daily.”

Haley signs a copy of her design for use in festival reproductions

Community Experience

Halley’s logo design, which sports a pair of red flannels and a keystone cop helmet, will be a little refined with layering numbers over the objects. But for the most part, “this will be the design,” said VanDuyn.

All of the art students enjoyed learning about the history of Cedar Springs and reminiscing with each other about great times they have had at previous Red Flannel Festivals, said Swift. “I felt a lot of pride for the community and good energy while we were creating logo design together. It was really fun and I feel honored that we were considered to be a part of this experience.”

While there is no decision on future use of high school artwork, the Red Flannel Festival committee is considering the possibility, according to Van Duyn.

As for the winning artist. “I think it is really cool that my design was chosen for the Red Flannel Festival,” said Haley. “It will go down in history.”

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Janice Holst
Janice Holst
Janice Holst is a reporter covering Kent City and Sparta. She has been both a teacher and a journalist. A former MLive reporter, she wrote features and covered local government and schools for Advance Newspapers for nearly two decades. She also was a recipe columnist and wrote features for Mature Life Style and occasional entertainment pieces for On The Town magazines. She lives in Sparta Township and enjoys spending some of her retirement hours writing the stories of the northern Kent County school districts. Read Janice's full bio or email Janice.

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