Duck Lake resident begins ‘lake family’ culture

By Lia Iaconis

Living on the lake is more than just a nice view for Amy Schmieder.

Often referred to as the “Duck Lake social director,” Amy has been drawing attention to Duck Lake with her husband, Jim, since moving to the Highland Township lake six years ago.

“When we first moved here, we asked our neighbors when the Fourth of July parade was,” said Amy. To her surprise, there was no event, or any lake events for that matter.

Light up the (Duck Lake) night
“Jim and I said we were going to have a boat parade even if it’d just be the two of us,” Amy said. “We thought we would have maybe 20 people, but over 100 showed up.”

Lake residents and friends went all-out for the Fourth of July boat parade by decorating their watercrafts with patriotic bunting flags, balloons and other holiday-themed frills. Boaters docked and blasted their music. Some even wore elaborate costumes.

The Schmieders created a culture or “lake family” as they like to call it. They reiterate how lucky they are to have such welcoming neighbors. However, Jim and Amy agree it’s the joy of the children that keeps their events thriving.

Facebook friends
“I created a Facebook page because that’s how you communicate nowadays,” says Amy. She coordinates all the events through a Facebook calendar which creates notifications and allows guests to RSVP on the spot.

The fun couple moved into their home in the center of the “middle duck” in 2016. Two years later, Amy started the “Duck Lake Family” Facebook page which now has over 400 members. She currently has 11 events in the queue and counting for 2023. On the page, a full schedule is posted along with other lake happenings including birthdays, funny memes and lake photos.

“Our Fourth of July parade and Winterfest were most successful this year,” said Amy. “The kids love the parade. We had a disco ball on the boat…it was a blast.”

Winterfest fun

The Duck Lake Winterfest is typically held in February or March depending on ice conditions. As soon as they see the ice anglers and shanties out, it signals a go-ahead. The packed-to-the-brim event entails winter sport activities including hockey, ice skating, bowling, curling and even motorcycling in which cyclists put screws in their tires for traction and race around a cleared-off path. Others bring out their ATVs. The night comes to a close around a bonfire.

Another event Amy has created is their monthly “wine-o club” where friends and newcomers alike can attend dressed in themed pajamas. The age of members ranges from 30 to 80-years-old and “no boys are allowed.” Other yearly events include a Euchre tournament, a chili cook-off, golf outings, a visit from Santa and even an end of the summer adieu where the Schmieders put a screen out on the lake in the evening. This past year they played The Jungle Book.

In addition to planning events and connecting lake residents through social media, Amy has made Duck Lake apparel available. She sells items including knit hats, tumblers and even golf merchandise which features an outline of the lake on their Facebook page. Lake residents have shown interest.

“It used to take us half an hour to drive around the lake,” said Amy. “Now it takes us two and a half hours…it takes time to talk to all the people.”

Duck Lake is located in Highland Township and named after its unique shape. The private lake is split into three sections: the little, middle and big duck. The lake is private and home to just over 500 occupants.

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