Category Archives: Events

Predator Quest’s Les Johnson Returns to Trappers Convention

World Champion predator caller Les Johnson will be on hand at the 54th Annual Trappers Convention/Outdoor Expo.  Les hails from Nebraska where he grew up spending every minute he could trapping, hunting and fishing. His love of the outdoor sports led him to become probably the best predator caller in the world. His accomplishments in the predator calling arena are many. He won the Calling Triple Crown in 1999, and in one 15 year stretch, he placed in at least 26 calling competitions (many of them 1st place). He has been named Sportsman of the Year several times as well. “Les has been here before and is always a big hit,” said Convention Coordinator Roy Dahlgren.

Les JohnsonLes has produced action packed videos of his hunts and his TV show Predator Quest, on the Sportsman’s Channel, and has won numerous awards including “Viewer Favorite Hunting Show.” Les will be doing a predator calling demo each day of the convention.

Along with Johnson, many other famous experts will be doing demos throughout the two days.  Steve Gappa, Lesel Reuwsaat, Harry Nestell, Greg Schroeder, John Chagnon and Richard Clark are all in the demo lineup.

In February, we had nearly 150 youngsters attend our annual Trappers Workshop, showing that many youngsters have a strong interest in trapping. “Having all the experts here sharing their knowledge and methods is one super opportunity for the kids and even us “old-timers” to gain valuable insight into the outdoor sports,” stated Jim Fornetti longtime member of U.P. Trappers.

Event Details

The Expo will be held at the U.P. State Fairgrounds in Escanaba Michigan on July 15 & 16, 2016. Hours will be: Friday 8:00 a.m. – 6: 00 p.m. and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (EST).

There will be many activities for the kids along with many items of interest to the ladies. Hundreds of vendors and tailgaters (trap dealers, hunting, fishing, guns, knives, quilters, crafters etc.) will be there offering convention special prices on their wares.  Food and refreshments will be available on the grounds throughout the event. Attendees also wont want to miss the dance on Friday Evening.

Further information may be obtained by contacting Roy Dahlgren (906) 399-1960;, or by visiting

Forest Service Celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the Peninsula Point Lighthouse!

 Peninsula Point Lighthouse, a historic site within the Hiawatha National Forest, is a great destination for the entire family to explore. Located at the tip of Lake Michigan’s Stonington Peninsula, you’ll find limestone shorelines yielding 500 million year old fossils to comb, more than 200 different species of birds to identify, droves of late summer monarch butterflies on the move, and – of course – great picnicking opportunities. The lighthouse is open to public viewing and offer’s spectacular panoramic vistas of Lake Michigan.

The Blue Water Ramblers, a folk music band that has been performing around the Great Lakes region for over 30 years, will be performing at the 150th Anniversary celebration of the Peninsula Point Lighthouse on Saturday, August 18th.  They will offer two hour-long maritime performances:  one at 1:00 and a second at 3:00.

The Blue Water Ramblers, a folk music band that has been performing around the Great Lakes region for over 30 years, will be performing at the 150th Anniversary celebration of the Peninsula Point Lighthouse on Saturday, August 18th. They will offer two hour-long maritime performances: one at 1:00 and a second at 3:00.

In addition to the usual fun at Peninsula Point, the Hiawatha National Forest will be offering extra incentives for visitation on July 18th during a 150th anniversary event!  Enjoy Great Lakes folk music celebrating this region’s rich cultural heritage by the Blue Water Ramblers and join Forest Service staff as they bring to life the Point’s natural and historical resources through engaging and interactive programs.  The entire event is free to the public.

 The celebration begins at 1:00pm on July 18th and festivities continue until approximately 4:30pm.  Folks are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets. 


This file photo shows what the Peninsula Point Lighthouse looked like prior to the 1959 fire that burned the attached lighthouse keeper’s dwelling.  Now all that remains of the lighthouse is the brick tower.  The Forest Service will be celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the lighthouse on Saturday, July 18th from 1 to 4:00 PM.

This file photo shows what the Peninsula Point Lighthouse looked like prior to the 1959 fire that burned the attached lighthouse keeper’s dwelling. Now all that remains of the lighthouse is the brick tower. The Forest Service will be celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the lighthouse on Saturday, July 18th from 1 to 4:00 PM.

From 1866 until 1936 the Peninsula Point Lighthouse served a critical role in safely bringing in ships teeming with fish, lumber, iron ore and other products to the communities of Escanaba, Gladstone, Fayette and Nahma. In 1937 the United States Forest Service was granted custodianship of Peninsula Point Lighthouse and shortly following, the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed picnic grounds on site for public use. Thanks to many dedicated individuals and user groups the Peninsula Point Lighthouse stands today as a monument to this region’s steadfastness and tenacious ability to overcome adversity.

The 40 foot brick tower is all that remains of the Peninsula Point lighthouse today.  Visitors are welcome to climb the spiral staircase to the top of the tower to take in the panoramic view of Lake Michigan. Be sure to bring your camera and a picnic lunch!  The Forest Service will be celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the lighthouse on Saturday, July 18th from 1 to 4:00 PM.

The 40 foot brick tower is all that remains of the Peninsula Point lighthouse today. Visitors are welcome to climb the spiral staircase to the top of the tower to take in the panoramic view of Lake Michigan. Be sure to bring your camera and a picnic lunch! The Forest Service will be celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the lighthouse on Saturday, July 18th from 1 to 4:00 PM.

To get to Peninsula Point from Rapid River drive 2.4 miles east on US-2 to County Road 513 turn right (southwest) on CR 513 and drive 17 miles to the RV parking lot. Please note that the last 0.8 mile road to the lighthouse is single lane, narrow and winding, and is NOT recommended for recreational vehicles or trailers over 16 feet long or 8 feet high. Pull-offs have been provided in case you meet on-coming traffic. A parking area for larger vehicles can be found at the beginning of the final mile of road, and folks are welcome to walk the interpretive trail to the lighthouse or walk the road.

For additional information, please contact Anne Okonek at the Forest Service office in Rapid River at 906-280-4135.


Walleye Fishing on Bay de Noc, Lake Michigan

Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit Returns To Bays de Noc July 31-Aug. 1

World-class walleye fishing on the Bays de Noc

A high-stakes, big-water walleye fishing battle of epic proportions will break out when the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit returns to the world-class waters of Little Bay de Noc out of Escanaba, Michigan, for a regular-season qualifier July 31-August 1.

Judging by past tournament results, the upcoming Cabela’s MWC qualifier should yield great fishing and more than a few behemoth baskets. For example, when the Circuit visited Escanaba in 2011 for a regular-season event combined with the Cabela’s NTC, it took more than 30 pounds per day to claim the crown. Circuit vets Korey Sprengel and Derek Navis eventually claimed top honors with a 64.41-pound, 10-fish limit. Thanks to the Circuit’s lucrative payback program, Sprengel and Navis earned more than $20,000 for their MWC victory in cash and sponsor contingencies.

Payouts are based on the number of teams entered in each event. In 2014 the Circuit rewarded anglers with a total payback of more than 127 percent, and that trend continues this season. Plus, the MWC Big Fish Pot and sponsor bonuses from Ranger, Lowrance, Abu Garcia, Zippo Outdoor Brands and Okuma add thousands more to the total.

As an added incentive, the first-place team will win a $1,000 Cabela’s National Team Championship Prize Package including paid NTC entry, travel stipend, team jerseys and plaques. And new for 2015, the creation of an option pot adds even more chances to cash in. At the recent Petenwell Lake qualifier, for example, tournament champions Barb and Danny Plautz added $2,730 in option pot cash to their total winnings.

Adding to the excitement, all Cabela’s MWC tournaments are designated as “State Championship Qualifying Events.” Teams from the state where the event is held are eligible, along with teams from a state not hosting an MWC event in 2015 (provided at least 10 teams from their state are competing in the event). Besides bragging rights, state champions will earn a $1,000 prize package including custom trophies, custom State Champions rings by Tight Lines Jewelry, decals, a berth in the Cabela’s NTC, and a spot on the MWC website’s Wall of Fame. In states hosting two events, teams must fish both tournaments to be in the running, which means Michigan teams must have fished the Detroit River qualifier along with the Bays de Noc event for a shot at the state title.

Teams will be allowed to weigh five walleyes measuring 15 inches and over each day, and the team with the heaviest two-day total weight will be crowned the winners. Weigh-ins, which are free and open to the public, will be held at Gladstone Harbor beginning at 3 p.m. daily. As a bonus to budding tournament fans, the Cabela’s MWC, National Professional Anglers Association, Pure Fishing and Zippo Outdoor Brands will present a Youth & Family Fishing Clinic immediately after the day-one weigh-in. The first 50 youths will receive rod and reel combos courtesy of the NPAA.

Under the umbrella of The Walleye Federation (TWF), the Cabela’s MWC is open to avid walleye anglers from all walks of life. Deadline to register for the Bays de Noc tournament is Monday, July 27th.

Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is in its 14th season as title sponsor of the MWC. Official sponsors include: Berkley Gulp!, Abu Garcia, Lowe Equipment Attachments, Lowrance Electronics, Mercury Marine, Ranger Boats, The Walleye Federation and Zippo Outdoor Brands. Associate sponsors include: Yellow Bird Fishing Products, Okuma, T-H Marine and Tight Lines Jewelry. For more information, visit, email, or call (580) 765-9031.

Ice Boats on Little Bay de Noc

This past weekend if you had a chance to come within view of Little Bay de Noc, you would have seen almost 45 iceboats zipping across the ice-covered bay. Both Friday and Saturday, the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club held an International Skeeter Association Regatta (or Renegade Championship) on Little Bay de Noc. This was their first visit to our area and were welcomed warmly by the community.

Iceboat racing is head to head on an upwind/downwind course. Buoys are set at least one mile apart upwind and downwind and the boats race for either three or four laps.

ice boat escanaba michigan 2Deb Whitehorse, a Race Committee Member with the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club was very happy with the weekend’s event. “We were all extremely pleased with the warm welcome we received from the local residents who were all extremely helpful and couldn’t do enough for us. We chose the area because it was the only suitable ice sailing site in a three state area, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. She also adds that “Local residents, like Jim Walsh of Gladstone, knew that the ice was perfect for us and was in contact one of our Menominee sailors, Mike Derusha. Terry Reynolds was also helpful with providing information about areas that we should avoid.”

ice boat escanaba michigan 1“We felt very welcomed in this area, kind of like rock stars! It was exciting to see the local residents come to the beach and either walk out on the ice or watch from the shore. The accommodations and food were excellent. If there are suitable conditions (no snow on the ice) on Little Bay de Noc and the timing is right, we will definitely be back! It was a great central location for our sailors in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.”

For those who missed this unique sport in action this weekend, and want to learn more about ice sailing, check out To see more great photos from this weekend’s event check out

Ludington Park: The Crown Jewel of Escanaba’s Park System

From the intersection of U.S. 2 at the edge of downtown Escanaba, the view down Ludington Street is an impressive one. Have you ever gazed out that way and wondered how Ludington Street got its name (it’s more than a hundred miles across the lake from the lower Michigan town of the same name, after all)? Or, for that matter, what lies at the far edge of your view?

The answer to both of those questions – sort of – is Ludington Park, one of Escanaba’s most popular outdoor attractions. Let’s discover why this gem needs to be high on your list of things to see on your next visit to Escanaba.

Ludington Park: Location and Layout

Located at the eastern end of Ludington Street, on the beautiful waterfront of Little Bay de Noc, Ludington Park draws hundreds of visitors on nice days (and a fair number on gloomy, cold ones, too). The park actually stretches a long ways down the shoreline, angling back to the southwest and encompassing a beautiful series of inlets. It’s also within spitting distance of the Sand Point Lighthouse and Delta County Historical Society, two popular attractions for Delta County visitors. So if you’re sick of walking (or snowshoeing) along the waterfront with the breeze in your hair – or if that breeze is driving sleet or snow into your face – you can certainly take shelter in some interesting indoor spaces here.

During the warm season, you can take advantage of plenty of outdoor facilities here too. From the basketball, tennis and volleyball courts to the boat-friendly confines of the nearby harbor (complete with Escanaba’s main marina), it can take hours to exhaust your options. A beach and wading pool offers swimming opportunities for folks of all ages and skill levels. And during the cool season, a hockey and skating rink caters to fans of true U.P. sports.

Special Events and Attractions

But the real highlights of Ludington Park are the scheduled events that enliven the place throughout the warm season. During the summer, Blues for a Cause sponsors Monday evening (7 to 9 pm) music shows that attract such luminaries as the Madison Avenue horn/rhythm band and the Cadillacs classic rock band. Meanwhile, the Escanaba City Band plays at the Karas Band Shell on weekday summer evenings (the rain date is Thursday). Bigger events occasionally come to the park as well, with the city offering a speedy event application process.

Visit Ludington Park Soon!

In Delta County, nature and history collide. And you don’t have to travel far off the beaten path to see both in the same location. At Ludington Park, you’ll find something to keep the whole family busy – and more than enough to keep you coming back a second and third time.

Fourth of July Festivities

Delta county is a great place to celebrate the Fourth of July! Check out some of the exciting festivities happening around the county over the weekend!


The Independence Day Celebration in Escanaba will kick off in Ludington Park with childrens games and rides, public safety demonstrations, your favorite summertime foods. The night will progress with a city band performance at Karas Band Shell beginning at 8:30pm. Following the performance the magnificent fireworks display at dusk will begin at approximately 10:15

Festivities will resume on Saturday with a Rock the Dock concert performance at the Municipal Dock. The event will take place from 5-10pm and include a bounce house, dunk tank, obstacle course, National Guard, food vendors, beer tent, and music by Cadillacs Band.


The Independence Day Celebration in Gladstone will begin at in Van Cleve Park with the annual Kiwanis Firecracker Run/Walk at 8am. The Super Hero themed parade will begin at 11am. Following the parade festivities in the park include, Ultimate Air Dogs show, apple pie bake off, inflatable jumpers, kids games & vendors. Live entertainment in the afternoon will include the Remnants Choir at 3pm and a performance from Taylor made Band beginning at 7. Wrapping up the day will a magnificent fireworks display at dusk. 

Festivities will conclude on Saturday at noon with Ultimate Air Dogs, Inflatable Jumpers, Kids Games & Vendors. New this year is a Taste of the Red, White and Brew Event. The event will include wine & beer sampling from 6:30-9:30pm and music by Milestone Jazz Trio. Tickets are $10 per person.

The Village of Garden
Saturday, July 5th, 2014

The village of Garden will be celebrating Independence day on July 5th hosted by the Garden Old Timers and Garden American Legion Post 545. A parade will be held with the theme, “Red, White & Blue…We Will Fight For You”. The days festivities will include: games, bounce houses, petting zoo, pony rides, nail pounding contest, lumberjack competition, “Crappin” chickens bingo and a free throw competition.  Visitors can also enjoy raffles, food vendors and a beer tent, wood carvings by Chad Denkins, an auction starting at 2pm, and free fun for kids at 5pm.  Live entertainment will be provided by Patrick Maloney, Brandon Hopp, Ben Peterson, Rick Rissman, and Diamond & Gold.  Fireworks show will begin at dusk.

Bark River

Visit Bark River for an old fashioned Fourth of July celebration complete with food, refreshments, games, and family fun. The independence day celebration will begin at 11am from Ray’s Feed Mill to Bark River Sports Park, with a 50/50 Raffle held before the parade. Afternoon festivities include a community wide picnic, children’s games put on by area charities and non-profit organizations. Enjoy live entertainment by the band Heartland Express from 1pm-5pm.  Firework show will begin at dusk.
Sponsored by the Bark River Lions Club.

For more information on upcoming events check out the community events calendar at

William Bonifas Fine Art Center: A “Friendly Spot” for the Whole Family

The arts are alive and well in Escanaba, thanks in no small part to the William Bonifas Fine Art Center. Does the name sound a little intimidating? Rest assured, you don’t have to be a highbrow art critic to get the most out of this cozy facility near the center of the city. In fact, Bonifas bills itself as a “friendly place” that “exists to enhance and inspire the cultural and creative lives of the people of the central Upper Peninsula.” And, of course, visitors to the central Upper Peninsula.

History and Mission

Bonifas has been committed to artistic excellence for more than four decades. Founded in 1974 by a partnership that included Players de Noc and the Bay Area Arts Association, the center takes its name from “Big Bill” Bonifas, a Luxembourgian emigre who made a fortune in the Upper Peninsula’s lumber industry during the closing years of the 19th century. His wife, Catherine, was one of the region’s biggest patrons of the arts and education, donating untold thousands of dollars to the St. Joseph’s School and other local institutions.

When St. Joseph’s closed, the imposing auditorium structure that Catherine financed was chosen as the new home for the Bonifas Center. Naming it in her honor was a foregone conclusion.

Bonifas started out modestly but has since expanded to fill much of the structure. In addition to two floors of gallery space, there are dedicated studio spaces for local visual artists, potters, multimedia specialists, and other talented types. There’s even a theater for special film showings. In recent years, the museum has added an elevator to provide unmitigated handicapped access to the upper level.


As is its prerogative, Bonifas focuses more on marquee exhibitions than on building a permanent collection. Many of these exhibits focus on matters of interest to residents of the Upper Peninsula. For instance, the star attraction of the moment – running from June 26 through August 7 – is “Selling Nahma,” the inspiring story of a company town that was put up for sale in a last-ditch effort to save it from oblivion. The gambit worked, and Nahma avoided the “ghost town” fate of so many similar settlements.

“Selling Nahma” opened with a banjo-infused musical performance on June 26 and will feature weekly lunchtime presentations on various aspects of Nahma’s story. A companion exhibit will show artifacts, photos and oral histories from Nahma as it is today, including contributions from some of the area’s residents.

Special Events and Classes

The William Bonifas Fine Art Center isn’t just about the visual arts – far from it. The place puts on a regular schedule of classes, some of which have nothing to do with painting, drawing or sculpture. The Ashtanga Yoga classes, each of which run for the duration of a monnth, are a huge hit, as are the center’s “Studio Safari” offerings.

The center’s events are another big draw. In addition to the weekly “Selling Nahma” events, you can look forward to the Waterfront Art Festival on Escanaba’s beautiful waterfront in early August, the Holiday Art Fair in early November, and a cabaret extravaganza during the second week of November. If you don’t live too far away and can find some time to contribute your talents to the Bonifas Fine Arts Center, you’ll be invited to a volunteer brunch on December 10.

Other Useful Information

The William Bonifas Art Center is located at 700 First Avenue South in Escanaba. Visit its contact page for staff emails or call (906) 786 3833 for more information about regular exhibits, auctions, special events, or anything else. The facility is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Next time you’re in town, stop by and say hello!

Stone Cup Coffeehouse & Stone’s Deli

Stone’s Deli – Great Food. Cool Space.

stone cup coffee and stones deli escanaba michigan2The Stone Cup Coffeehouse and Stone  ’s Deli in Escanaba, Michigan is great deli located right in downtown Escanaba. Owned by local residents Jim and Rachel Stone, they sell a wide variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, desserts, coffee and more.

From the outside, Stone’s appears to be two separate businesses. At least that’s what I thought when I first saw the building. I never guessed what was inside.

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UPToberfest 2013 – A Good Time Was Had by All

uptoberfest 2013 escanaba michigan4The 8th annual UPToberfest event, held on October 12th 2013 in Escanaba, MI was a big success and a great time.

Breweries and wineries from all over Michigan were present, with a focus on Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula breweries. All in all, twelve vendors showed a presence at the event and poured “about 60 flavors”, according festival organizer Josh Marenger.

A little background

UPtobefest was actually the first Upper Peninsula beer festival and remains the only “beer and wine” festival in the U.P. And in addition to wine and beer tasting, excellent free food is included with the price of admission, you get a souvenir pint glass to keep, live brewing demos are offered during the event and best of all, all proceeds benefit the local United Way!

The vendors

Wondering exactly who poured at UPToberfest 2013? Here’s a full list!

·         Algomah Acres Honey Farm – Mass City, MI
·         Bell’s Brewing Company – Kalamazoo, MI
·         Blackrocks Brewing Company – Marquette, MI
·         Founders Brewing Company – Grand Rapids, MI
·         Greenbush Brewing Company – Sawyer, MI
·         Hereford & Hops – Escanaba, MI
·         Keweenaw Brewing Company – Houghton, MI
·         Liberty Street Brewing Company – Plymouth, MI
·         New Holland Brewing Company – Holland, MI
·         Odd Side Ales – Grand Haven, MI
·         Ore Dock Brewing Company – Marquette, MI
·         Short’s Brewing Company – Bellaire, MI
·         Soo Brewing Company – Sault Ste Marie, MI
·         Threefold Vine Winery – Garden, MI

uptoberfest 2013 escanaba michigan2Attendance

About 550 people attended the 2013 UPToberfest, which packed the tent and made for a lively event. And over $9,000 was raised for the United Way, which was a new record!


The live music was performed by local eclectic band “ToHuBoHu,” which consists of John D Beck, Bruce Cassell and Dave Potvin. And this year, Andy Langlois, co-found of Blackrocks Brewery even jumped in for a little while. The music was great!


Bobaloon’s from Escanaba roasted a whole lamb; there were three different pork shoulder mini-wraps, min-brats, lamb gyros and a variety of cheeses. It was quite the spread!

In summary, a great time was definitely had by all at UPToberfst 2013. The event went off without a hitch, everyone got to take home their commemorative pint glasses (as usual) and there was already a buzz in the crowd about next year’s event. We hope to see you at UPToberfest 2014!