"Welcome Summer"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, June 16, 2018

The recent Memorial Day Weekend offered just a sample of what we can expect.

If the sample was a good indicator, this could be a very busy summer. I’m not complaining, as some people do. A busy summer is what it takes to bring the Thumb to life.

I really do have to comment, however, about that word summer. Someone keeps turning the heat on, right up to 80 degrees plus — and then, right back off again. We can’t put the sweaters and blankets too far away — because we may have to haul them back out.

We have had abundant sunshine but a good share of rain with some heavy storms blowing in during the weeks since spring arrived. The sun and rains have perked up all the lawns and budded all the bushes and trees. Many birds have migrated from the south, but the robins arrive early and they are everywhere.

As I see it, and I do driving around the area, the whole Thumb is bursting with color and looks great.

Many businesses in the Thumb depend on the guests who visit in the summer for a major portion of their annual income. Over the past several years, farmers markets throughout the area have become a major drawing card to bring people our way. Over the Memorial Day holiday, a huge crowd gathered at Port Austin’s market.

Visitors had smiles from ear to ear, and theirs were not the only bright faces. Vendors who had worked hard to provide their wares were just as happy. Those offering flowers and plants, and there were many, were abundant. Lines of people stopped at all the displays checking out the bouquets and picturing how they could adorn their yards or hang in pots on porches.

The streets in downtown Port Austin looked like the Rose Bowl Parade as people wheeled wagons, carts and baby strollers full of plants to their cars parked around the town. What’s great about the markets draw of visitors is that all the shops and restaurants in the towns that host farmers markets get a lot of business as many people spend the day.

The day after the holiday weekend, you could shoot a cannon down any Thumb main street and it would go unnoticed. It stays that way until schools in the large metro areas south of us close for the summer. As soon as they can, families will return to enjoy the lake for fishing, boating, kayaking and swimming at the many beaches along its shores. They will fill the cottages and motels and visit friends who have invited them.

I hope you don’t hesitate to advise your visitors about the rules and requirements that need to be followed while on the big waters of our Great Lakes. Take time to explain how shifting winds can create difficulty for small crafts returning to shore.

Tell them when paddling to visit sights such as Turnip Rock or other private shoreline communities, they should treat the areas like they would like their own property treated. Public beaches should also be regarded with care. Pick up trash and dispose of it properly. It is especially important to avoid throwing bottles, cans or paper goods in the water. Special caution should be used to keep plastic out of the water, it can be harmful to pets and wildlife.

Since summer officially arrives June 21, I sure hope I can put my heavy sweater away and get out the lightweight T-shirts.

I’ll see you at a farmers market around the Thumb.

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