Posted by: Kath Usitalo | August 21, 2012

Wrap Up Summer In The U.P.

Make Upper Tahquamenon Falls a stop on your U.P. tour

Paige is back at college, it’s getting darker earlier each evening, my iced tea consumption has slowed considerably and the tiny town of Alpha, south of Crystal Falls in the Upper Peninsula, is hosting its 1st Annual End of Summer Blues Fest on Saturday, August 25.

Join the Labor Day walk across the five-mile Mackinac Bridge

There’s one weekend left before Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, and if you haven’t gotten around to making that trip to the U.P. you’ve been thinking about, it’s a great time to head to “God’s Country,” eh?

Go ahead and take 10 days to explore the U.P. and wrap up the summer on the 55th annual Mackinac Bridge Walk on Labor Day, Monday, September 3.

This being an election year it will only seem that politicians make up a majority of the tens of thousands of folks who trek the five-miles across the Big Mac suspension bridge that connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas high above the Straits of Mackinac.

You betcha.

Here’s a sampling of Only-in-the-U.P. events Friday – Sunday, August 23-26:

Houghton County Fair August 23-26: All the traditional fair fun like livestock exhibits, the tractor pull and demolition derby, carnival rides, Miss Houghton County and community arts competitions PLUS the Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) festival on Saturday afternoon.

Porcupine BASH August 23-26: 3rd annual bike rally is “A Salute to Our Military” with bands, games, camping, vendors and maybe a beer or two, hosted by the incomparable Porcupine Press magazine at Otter Lake Campground west of Chatham.

Folding nuts and marshmallows into fudge as it cools at Ryba’s, one of several Mackinac Island candy makers

Mackinac Island Fudge Festival  August 24-25: As if you need a reason to indulge in the confection that has been a favorite vacation treat at the Straits of Mackinac since 1887 when Henry Francis Murdick introduced his candy to Victorian tourists in the same year the summertime resort Grand Hotel opened. Both businesses are celebrating their 125th anniversaries.

Highlights include a curious combination of adult beverages (Ann Brewing Company’s Fudge Stout Beer Tasting and Fudge on the Rocks), child ballerinas and a “Golden Ticket” competition to win a return trip to Mackinac Island.

Seafood Fest August 24-25: Chow down on lobster, shrimp, white fish and famous Clam Chowder at the Mattson Lower Harbor Park on Marquette’s Lake Superior waterfront. Be there Friday evening for the Pink Floyd tribute band Project Pink playing Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety.

Porcupine Mountains Music Festival August 24-26: A cool mix of sounds from more than two dozen groups on two stages in the beautiful Porkies Wilderness State Park, on Lake Superior in the Western Upper Peninsula. One of the workshops is by Australian musician Harper on the didgeridoo, and there will be activities for the kids. Hosted by Friends of the Porkies.

Rendezvous at the Straits PowWow August 24-26: A two-for-one history trip at Father Marquette National Memorial Park in the U.P. gateway city of St. Ignace, with French Voyageur re-enactors and encampment and Native American drumming, dancing and food. Bonus: Fireworks Over the Bay at 10 p.m. Saturday.

Keweenaw Brewfest August 25: It’s a tough job but you’ll feel good about supporting the work of the Keweenaw Community Foundation as you sample a choice of 80 beers from 35 breweries. Food and music, too, on the Houghton waterfront.

Suicide Mud Plunge August 25: It’s the 2nd annual event so it isn’t fatal. It’s a 5k adventure race for individuals and teams with obstacles and mud pits (you will be hosed down) held at the Suicide Ski Bowl near Negaunee.

A hearty lumberjack breakfast cooked on a century-old woodstove

Lumberjack Breakfast & Music Festival August 25-26: Protest all you want as the cooks load your plate with pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs and potatoes hot off the wood-burning stove in the lumber camp Cook Shack, but it’s surprising how easily all that food goes down.

You might even be tempted to go back for more. Then work it off tapping your toes to the traditional music in the pavilion. It’s all on the grounds of the Tahquamenon Logging Museum in Newberry.

For more Michigan events and travel information visit the Upper Peninsula Travel & Recreation and Pure Michigan websites.

Related Posts:

Mackinac Bridge Walk

Grand Hotel’s Quasquicentennial

Oh, Fudge

Lumberjack Breakfast

The Legend of Tahquamenon Falls

Visitor Info Clicks:

Upper Peninsula

Pure Michigan



  1. What about the Rock Labor Day Parade?

  2. Sorry – I see this is for events prior – I’m sure you’ll cover that Rock festivities as we get closer.

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