"Summertime Fun in The Thumb"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Thumb has to be the best place to be for summer fun. Sure some of the visitors are noisy at times but many of them will invite you to join in their activity, such as at campfires. If you look closely, you will see many locals participating — they also like to party.

Some of us complain about crowded restaurants and lines at the stores or traffic on the highways. If you stop to think about it, those complaining are still complaining after the crowds are gone. And think about this fact: visitors make it possible for the businesses that locals enjoy year-round to survive.

Even though people began showing up around Memorial Day, many of them were summer residents that arrived to open their cottages for the season. Some trailered their boats up to get them ready and many wanted to plant gardens and flowers to create a pleasant appearance.

The month of June had lots of events that launched the coming summer season such as the opening of all the farmers markets. Sebewaing’s Sugar Festival in mid-June marked the first of many community events to follow. Spring fishing got the charter boats on the water and fish showing up in the streams encouraged anglers who enjoyed fishing from shore. The water was still too cool for beach goers but fine for taking walks along its edges. Many who visited in June scoped out a place to spend their summer vacations. They checked out the parks with campsites from Lexington all the way around the Thumb to Sebewaing. Other travelers sought out cottages or motels so when they returned in July or August they were booked for their vacations.

The 4th of July firework celebrations drew large numbers of people from all areas to the shoreline communities and that helped to kick start small businesses for the rest of the summer. The Huron Daily Tribune’s “Traveler,” distributed throughout the area, lists activities visitors can enjoy. If you review it, you may see some you missed, but you can always book your visit earlier next year to catch them.

July is chock-full of events: Harbor Beach’s Maritime Festival, Ubly’s Homecoming, Bad Axe and Pigeon’s annual festivals to mention just a few and the Huron County Fair has moved up to begin July 31 and carry on into August. The fair, celebrating its 148th year, offers 4-H displays, grandstand entertainment, livestock shows and competition plus a lively midway full of rides. It’s a must do for visitors and locals alike.

The first week of August just about everyone heads to Bay Port where the 39th annual Fish Sandwich Festival will feed thousands of people as they celebrate what their community is all about. The little town of Port Hope is home to a famous lighthouse, Pointe Aux Barques, and they will host their 12th annual Heritage Festival Aug. 6. A climb up the lighthouse tower is one of the features to enjoy. Port Austin’s Community Playhouse swings into its summer presentations with must-see live plays that always entertain.

Most locals and summer residents are all too familiar with an event that occurs mid-August for the 18th year, Cheeseburger in Caseville. Their driveways and lawns fill with visitor cars, and tents spring up in yards to help house the additional guests who make the trip to enjoy Caseville’s fun. A great opportunity to get on the water is possible with a trip to Charity Island aboard the Northstar charterboat’s sunset and dinner cruise.

There are so many activates to participate in during summers in the Thumb, a person could be on the go almost daily. Just visiting the many museums, farmers markets, parks and beaches by car or by boat makes the season slip by quickly. It’s just not possible to list all the fun and entertainment available in our area. Visitor centers provide booklets and brochures to pick up that will assure you don’t miss anything you may wish to enjoy. Many of the long-running events also provide websites that give detailed information.

As I see it, the Thumb is the best place to live or visit.

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