I know I’m prejudice about this, but I just don’t think the 4th of July can possibly be celebrated anywhere else as well as it is on Mackinac Island.
Maybe it’s because everything is set using Fort Mackinac’s revolutionary-era history as a backdrop. Maybe it’s the small town feel. Maybe it’s because every single building in town is decorated with red, white and blue. Maybe it’s the gathering at Windermere Point for greased pole climbing, tug of war, watermelon rolling, wheel barrow races, balloon tossing and sack races. Maybe it’s the All-American picnic held at the fort, with folks sitting on the ground on red-checkered tablecloths, eating food from the Grand, watching games, dances and live music performed by costumed interpreters.
Whatever the reason, we enjoyed an awesome 4th, and I’d love to show you a little bit of how the day was celebrated here on our favorite island.
The 4th was a beautiful day on Mackinac – low 70’s, low humidity, cool breezes. We started toward Windermere Point a little before 1 p.m., passing the Grand Hotel on the way down the hill. The Grand always puts on a super-sized celebration for the 4th, and this year was no exception. Families were having a wonderful time!
Windermere Point was PACKED with families.
We had just missed the stone skipping contest – darn it – but we quickly recognized where the next big event was happening – at the greased pole climb! I don’t know what the prize is at this event in other places, but on Mackinac each child was climbing for a nice, crisp $20 bill!
Children of all sizes attempted to make it up the pole.
Some came very close.
Others went home $20 richer!
And some just climbed to prove that they could!
Another busy spot all afternoon was the Windermere Point Dog House. The line was long for the hot dogs, Polish sausage, brats with kraut, ice cream, fudge and soft drinks.
The face painting table was swamped with eager little faces waiting to be transformed into butterflies, flags, and animals of all kinds.
This guy got dunked . . . a LOT!
My friend from Georgia, Jane, is here at her cottage for a few weeks . . .
. . . and her family won the Best Costume Award! What was REALLY awesome about that was . . .
. . . they designed and made the t-shirts themselves – starting with white shirts and cans of spray paint!
Children are so much fun to watch, aren’t they!? These two little boys were having a “ball”!
Joan’s granddaughter, Jenavieve, showed off her 4th of July dress . . .
. . . while her grandson, Jordan, rolled around on the ground – just like little boys so often do!
We met up with Patty and Buzz at Mary’s Bistro for a late lunch . . .
. . . where we watched all the activity around the Star and Shepler Ferry Line docks.
Sweet little Bailey, who had waited patiently under our outdoor patio table while we ate lunch, got to go wading in Lake Huron!
Before going home for a nap, we took a short walk through town, where we spotted “Uncle Sam” outside Doc’s Magic Shop . . .
. . . and a turtle in the bookstore!
Flags were everywhere, but the largest one, except for the fort flag, was spotted on the side of the Chippewa Hotel.
We weren’t the only ones ready for a nap!
After a brief rest at the condo, we left on our bikes with Patty and Buzz, and rode to Fort Mackinac for the Red, White & Blue Celebration for Mackinac Associates. It’s held each year under a big tent behind the fort and there’s wine, cheese, shrimp, and lots of other goodies! From there we walked into the fort to attend “An American Picnic”, sponsored by the Grand Hotel.
Lines for the buffet were long, but moved swiftly. It was all picnic food – hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, slaw, salads, ribs, and chicken. Don’t even get me started on the dessert table – but, among other things, I had a piece of pecan pie, which they told me was made with Georgia pecans! I wonder if our friend Cecil at Lake Blackshear, who works for a pecan company that ships the nuts all over the world, sent those up to the Grand this year.
We chose to sit on the deck of the Tea Room. A lot of other people had the same idea.
I can never get enough of the views from up there.
About half-way through dinner, we were serenaded by two fort interpreters.
We didn’t want to miss an event downtown at 8:00, so we walked down the almost 120 steps from the fort to Marquette Park and found a spot in front of the park to sit.
Caddywampus captured this great shot of the ceremony. The flag is carried down Main Street to the Mackinac Island Public School, near where the fireworks are set off.
Seeing that huge flag go by, carried by local firemen, EMT’s, and police officers just made my heart swell.
We climbed back UP those 120 steps . . .
. . . and walked back through the parade grounds just as the fort interpreters were entertaining.
We left the fort, picked up our bicycles . . .
. . . and rode through woods blanketed in what seemed like miles of yellow Hawkweed.
Even with my new camera, I still can’t capture fireworks, but this was my best shot. I’ve got to learn how to do better on that.
Ted and I watched the fireworks from home. We sat out on our balcony and watched them explode over the trees from where they are set off from a barge near Windermere Point. Maddie and Bear watched them with us, wondering – I’m sure – what all the racket was about. It was a glorious 4th – and just about as perfect as you could ever want.
I hope yours was the same!