Michael Wilcox, Publisher/Editor
Summer time in Mid-Michigan is the best time. With the plethora of lakes, ORV trails, and festivals/fairs it is unlike any other season or area for that matter.
Coming from downstate, summer typically means one thing- getting out of work on a Friday afternoon and driving guess where? Up to us in Mid and Northern Michigan. Spending several summers in Florida, I can attest very little happens there as most people camp inside their air-conditioned homes, avoiding the horrible heat and humidity.
Although we might have a little heat and humidity once in a while, it doesn’t stop us from enjoying the festivals and fairs that proliferate during Mid-Michigan summers. As we write, the Marion Fair is enjoying huge crowds of people who watch from the grandstands such events as the tractor pull, heavyweight draft horse pull, USA Figure 8 Demolition Derby and the Super Kicker Rodeo.
The Marion Fair which started last Sunday, will continue through Saturday. They sport a large midway where kids of all ages can enjoy a variety of rides or carnival games. As in all fairs, there are literally hundreds of animals being exhibited including horses, cows, pigs, goats, etc.
Also this weekend, the 27th Annual Summerfest takes place in Clare. Events are geared towards the family and include Teddy Bear races, dunk tank and bean bag toss, a gospel concert, and of course, a great concert performance by the Clare Community Band. There is also the ever-popular citywide garage sales and fireworks These sales will be set up at homes all over Clare. At dusk fireworks will be shot off over Shamrock Lake.
In a month, the Clare County Fair kicks off in Harrison. Many of the same activities that are going on now in Marion will be taking place in Harrison, including a massive midway with a large selection of rides and exhibits. The Clare County fair always manages to book a hot “country” singer and this year is no exception.
Headlining the Fair will be country heartthrob Hunter Hayes, who will perform Monday, July 29. The 22-year-old has had two number one singles and was named the Country Music Association’s best new artist of 2012. It’s pretty amazing that someone of his stature will be performing at the Clare County grandstands.
The 130th edition of the Clare County Fair runs from the 29th through August 3. Beyond Hayes, the Fair features a demolition derby, truck and tractor pull, motocross competition, mudbog and the Super Kicker rodeo. I’ve been to a lot of county fairs in my lifetime, and I have to admit, this is one of the better. Mark those dates and make sure you check it out.
Two days before the Clare County Fair, Farwell’s annual Lumberjack Festival kicks off. Held this year on July 27 and 28, this festival provides an entertaining alternative to the county fair events. For instance the Lumberjack Show which is held on Sunday offers spectators the opportunity to view axe throwing, chainsaw cutting and log rolling- fun, unique competitions that can only be seen locally in Farwell.
But that’s not all the Festival offers. The greased pig competition allows kids to get involved chasing a pig in a ring. It’s not an easy ordeal as the greasy pig grunts and squeals as the kids attempt to capture it. Another favorite of mean is the chainsaw carving competition. It’s hard for me to imagine the works of art that come from a log and a saw. Simply amazing!
By no means is this a complete list. Harrison has fireworks on July the 3rd, then a parade on July 4th. Farwell has fireworks and a demolition derby for the 4th holiday. Lake George has fireworks on the 4th aw well. Clare has their annual Sidewalk Sales on July 17 and 18, which also features a car and bike show.
And the festivals and special weekend events keep coming in August. Every weekend something special is taking place in at least one Mid-Michigan community. That clearly makes us special compared to downstate or Florida.