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!
Whew! What a day you had! just reading through has left me in need of a nap zzzzzzzz…….Glad y’all had a fabulous fourth.
Once of these days I would love to make it for the 4th of July!
I have some wonderful memories of the Fourth, but WOW, nothing like that. It would be a real treat to be on the Island for the Fourth.
Beautiful but did they have a waterslide? We did and have the muddy yard to prove it. Even the adults took a turn. I think the 4th is my favorite holiday. Nothing to buy, just celebrate the fact that we live in the best country in the world. Great pictures.
I want pictures of that waterslide, Charlie! What fun that must have been for the little kids AND the big ones! > Date: Mon, 8 Jul 2013 01:59:40 +0000 > To: email@example.com >
Great review of the day. Please explain the (apparent) bus in the photos with the t-shirts decorated with spray paint. Thought motorized vehicles weren’t allowed on Mackinaw Island.
I think that’s the fire engine. I think they make an exception to the motorized vehicles for it.
Love the photos. We had a total rain out here, so I am so living vicariously.
mket – That “bus” is one of two fire trucks we have on the Island. We also have an ambulance and a police car. When emergencies happen, people need to get help fast, so the city allows for those emergency vehicles. > Date: Mon, 8 Jul 2013 02:00:43 +0000 > To: firstname.lastname@example.org >
Long time no read. I finally got all caught up from my last read when we chatted about your condo. Regretfully Sirena and I did not make it to MI, or the island this year when I was home for the month of June. Just walking back through the latest archives shows we missed a lot and should have come up for up for a few days. The Lilac Fest and now the 4th of July celebration just looked like it was a smash party. How bout that Lowell and Faye eh! Awesome adventure and thanks for capturing it. Our hearts went remembering Chris Anne’s journey as well. Thanks for keeping us posted and now that back in the land of sand, I’ll be keeping up with the blog more frequently. My vacation was good back in San Antonio where we live, but we certainly would have enjoyed the cooler temperatures and weather. Enjoy it for us!
So good to hear from you, Jason, and sorry to hear you didn’t make it to Mackinac while you were state-side.
Yes, we’re having a very busy summer, and so far a rather cool one – well, compared to last summer anyway!
You take care if yourself over there, and hurry home so y’all can come to your favorite island!
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I’d really like to put an order in with you for some of that cooler weather. If you and Ted could just put some cooler weather in a box with a dash of rain and send over to us………we’d be ecstatic about it….LOL!
LOL Jason. If I could figure out how to do that, it would be in the mail to you today.
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Thanks for letting us celebrate through your eyes!
It looked totally incredible on the island….only you could give us a birds eye view!
Stay safe Jason, you and your brothers allow us all to celebrate so wonderfully on this day .. God Bless you.
Thank you Miss Theresa. All of my troops and 4 legged K9 troops are much appreciative.
Awwww, do you work with the dogs, Jason?
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Yes ma’am Miss Brenda, email sent.
Your most welcome, sending pats on the back to all of guys and gals..along with scratches behind the ears for your 4 legged friends.
We just got home from Mackinac Island today. We spent the whole week up there. We were at the picnic at the Fort too! We watched fireworks atop Shepler’s top deck during their fireworks cruise. Missed seeing you this year…hope you had a wonderful holiday! We had an amazing week, and as always…I was NOT ready to come home, LOL! 😉
Can’t believe I didn’t see you somewhere, Melody! I know – leaving is so hard!
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How fun!! My husband and I are coming up to Mackinac this week for our first anniversary, and I’m so excited!
We were at Windemere point as well! The kids had a blast. I can see myself in the photo above, too funny. The gentleman who lifted those children up one after another was such a trooper. Also there was a wonderful lady who coordinated the fun and games and kept them moving along. We caught a few stone skippers before the games began. I grabbed a t-shirt to support the hospice, what a great way to raise money. We spent the week at Sunset condos behind Stonecliffe. It was a great place and a great way to get exercise. Riding Cadotte hill multiple times a day was killer! I rode into town every morning while my family slept in and got donuts, brownies and cookies for breakfast. It was a bit counter productive to the exercise but very tasty. I’m pretty sure I spotted your husband at the pink pony, Friday night I believe! We had such an amazing week, I could go on and on……. I am trying to talk the kids into skipping birthday parties this fall and making a trip back to the island for a weekend!
Thanks for sharing your fun trip, Missy! That was Bob Benser helping all the kids get up the pole that afternoon.
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It looks like you have your flash off … But a tripod if you don’t have one would be very helpful. Benjamin’s downtown has beautiful one available.
We humans just can’t hold a camera as still as it needs to be for a shot like that in general. But, girl it’s gorgeous! Step back and smile at all your accomplishments in general! The camera your using can be a test at best some days. It does have a mind of it’s own, really ….. I say this from my own experiences with mine.
Definitely need a tripod, Theresa!
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One day we will be back for 4 July celebration.🇺🇸 I’m so glad you had a wonderful day.🗽 I will see you soon, tell Ted Hi
Just caught up with the last two posts….as always loved the pix, and the stories. They always make me smile. I can’t believe you got Maddie to sit for that one shot of her and Bear, so cute! The little kerchief is darling.
Want to say God bless Jason and all of our troops fighting and working to keep the U.S.A. safe for all of us
Personally, I love the fireworks shot. Looks great to me. Can’t imagine walking UP all of those steps!! Riding a bike after the stairs? You & Ted are Super Man and Super Woman!
Loved your last two posts and especially the photo of Bear & Maddie in their patriotic garb.
Reading your blog on the way back to hot Ohio! Ugh. Had no cell service in the U.P.this year. The pics of your 4th are fabulous, so glad you had a great time. Been there once for the 4th, lots of people and lots of fun!