Memorial Day is one of the more solemn and patriotic holidays on our American Calendar. Dating way back to the Civil War era, my mother-in-law always called it “Decoration Day” and an important pat of her celebration was decorating the graves of military veterans around the area. In my area, Memorial Day Weekend kicks off the start of the Summer Tourist Season, so we are lucky to enjoy a wealth of special events Up North in Michigan. We’re at a major crossroads, setting where the Upper and Lower peninsulas of Michigan are joined by the Mackinac Bridge. Let’s track down several key events in the area communities of Saint Ignace, Mackinac Island, and Mackinaw City. .
The 7th Annual Mackinaw Bridge Race
Since the Mighty Mackinac Bridge connects us with Mackinaw City, the first event is Saturday’s early morning footrace across two communities, the Annual Mackinaw Bridge Race. This event is quite competitive, and all racers must be able to do a 12 minute mile in order to compete. Schedule yourself ahead of time as there’s no entries allowed the day of the race. You’ll be checking in starting at 4:30 a.m., with buses taking folks to the starting area through 7 a.m. on Saturday morning. Additional information is available at the Mackinaw Visitors Bureau at 800-750-0160 or on-line Up North. If you qualify here, you can enter the lottery for September’s Mackinac Bridge Labor Day Run in September, 2010. Check out the: Governor’s Council at 800-434-8642 or on-line at their website.
Memorial Day Observance, Fort Mackinac Post Cemetery, Mackinac Island and in Saint Ignace
Throughout the entire holiday weekend, Mackinaw City keeps folks interested with activities just across the bridge from Saint Ignace. Check out their events on the city website. Try Mackinaw City for a whole weekend filled with reenactments, trading, voyageurs, and even an 18th Century Fashion Show! Check out the website in Mackinaw City or P.O. Box 312 Mackinaw City, MI 49701. The Fort Mackinaw folks perform during Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of Memorial Day weekend 2010. I attended a few years ago and enjoyed an entire day playing fudgie right here in the Straits Area. There’s a town parade following at about 1 p.m, that same afternoon. Enjoy coffee and snacks in St. Ignace’s VFW Hall, and members from the Disabled American Veterans visit veterans in Long-term care unit of Mackinac Straits Hospital afterwards.
Saint Ignace has an inspiring ceremony to honor our military right at the Count Courthouse. An annual event, I’ve participated in previous years when they gather at 10 a.m. in the grassy area in front. There’s also a lovely ceremony each year in the local LaSalle High School, with students, veterans, DAV members, Coast Guard Personnel, and a wide variety of local individuals meeting together to pay tribute to servicemen and women both here at home and abroad. Be sure to call Janet Peterson at (906) 643-8717 or 800-970-8717 with any questions. The Courthouse is conveniently located right off I-75, just North of the Mackinac Bridge.
Brevort Lake Walleye Tourney
Interested in angling during Memorial Day Weekend? Right here in Saint Ignace is a great Walleye competition on Brevort Lake. All day Saturday, starting bright and early at 7 a.m., check out your angling skills on our own Brevort Lake. There’s the top three prizes for Bass, Walleye and Pike. Attend the fish fry and awards ceremony at a nearby fish market in Moran, Kings Fish & Moran Lumber. Check out the website or in the local Saint Ignace site at the end of my article. For further information, try Kirk at (906) 643-7979 & phone Jimmie at (906) 643-6743.
The Fort Michilimackinac Pageant
Mackinac Island is really fun on Memorial day weekend. Check out their website for the complete schedule of events, http://www.fmpcfestival.org. Be sure to remember that you can catch the parade at 1 pm on Saturday, and don’t miss the re-enactment events all weekend. You’ll see authentically dressed voygeurs, knife throwing contests, and a wide variety of historical events. There’s a moving ceremony on Memorial Day itself, Monday, at 10 a.m.
Wherever you hang your hat Up North, I hope you’ll get the chance to join us for at least a few of these incredible events. Most of what I’ve listed are free events, and there’s participation involved throughout our Memorial Day Weekend.