Caseville, Michigan – The the festival highlight for the 20th annual 2018 Caseville Cheeseburger Parade of Tropical Fools starts this evening at 5:30 pm along Main Street. The parade route starts near Huron street and ends at the Caseville County Park. No word yet on who will show up but rumors earlier this week hinted of a possible showing by an entertainer who fostered the festival’s namesake. If anyone spots a celebrity this evening Tweet us at @ThumbWind.
Cheeseburger in Caseville Headliner Event
Parade goers started to line up chairs in their favorite spots along Mainstreet starting at midnight. As of 9 am all the prime spots were taken. This year is expected to see some of the largest floats among the 100 of others and hundreds of marchers and dancers. The event typically lasts about two hours.
The parade can draw upwards of 50,000 people into Caseville.
This is a quick shout-out to all of our readers on WordPress and Facebook. Thank You! We had our best month ever with over 7,600 new folks dropping in to see what is going on in Michigan’s Upper Thumb. If you want to get updated with on more antics, like us on Facebook. If your out and about you may want to try our chatty ThumbBot.
So if you have never seen us before or are a regular reader we appreciate you stopping in and hope to see you again. This next month will be busy with covering Cheeseburger in Caseville, Art in the Park in Port Austin and watching the restoration of the Kilmanagh General Store. We may find other fun along the way and post about that too. Stay tuned.
If the weather looks to keep Saginaw Bay calm and the winds low, consider a morning of paddling the waters of the Upper Thumb. The region offers some of the finest Michigan kayaking areas for both the novice and expert.
Three Popular Michigan Kayaking Destinations
Turnip Rock Trail – This paddle is 7 miles along the shoreline north of Port Austin. It has three unique features to explore. Turnip Rock has been called by CNN one of the Most Amazing Rock Formations in America. Nearby Thumbnail Point is really considered the true tip of Michigan’s Thumb. If the area around Turnip Rock and Thumbnail Point are crowded then continue paddling a hundred yards further into the Sea Caves of Pointe Aux Barques.
Broken Rocks Trail– This is a shorter water trail that extends south-west along the shore. The landmarks are Table Rock, Broken Rocks and Twin Sisters. This is an ideal paddle for families with children or novice kayakers. Table Rock is accessible to stop, take a break, re-energize with a trail snack, take pictures and swim. The trail can be completed in about two hours.
Tip of the Thumb Heritage Water Trail – If your in for a long multi-day paddle consider taking this well-marked route along the shore of the Thumb. At 103 miles it offers an excellent opportunity to see the rocky shores along Lake Huron to the tranquil waters of Wild Fowl Bay. There are 44 marked access points along the trail to start or end your quest.
Use Safe Leave-No-Trace Principles on the Water
Leave the trail better then you found it. Pack it in, pack it out. Always wear a life jacket and watch the weather. If the wind picks up or waves come in its best to turn back and attempt another day
It wasn’t until 1903 that the Flint and Pere Marquette railway extended tracks from Harbor Beach north to Port Hope in the Upper Thumb. Financed by local businessmen, a standard gauge rail line was laid the final seven miles. The following year a modern depot was built to host passengers and cargo. Now passengers could come in from anywhere in the country and Port Hope could ship out commodities to other markets.
Port Hope was the End-Of-The-Line
The railway owners deemed Port Hope to be the end of the line running up the eastern shore of Lake Huron. So an engine house, water tower and a “Y” turn-around were built to maintain the depot. Up until sometime in the 1930’s there was a daily train that ran from Port Huron to Port Hope in the morning with a return trip in the late afternoon. The run took three hours. Trains continued to run to Port Hope to another fifty years. The last freight runs ceased operation in 1982.
The Restored Port Hope Depot Today
Today the Port Hope Depot has been exquisitely restored. You can see exhibits in the passenger waiting room, the station masters office, luggage and freight room. Each room has been painted to match the original color. The station looks brand new. One of the most interesting items on display was a pair of glasses found trapped for over one hundred years behind window trim in the station master office. The wire frame glasses are extremely fragile yet look brand new.
Model Railroad Shows History of Port Hope and Harbor Beach
In the lower level of the depot there is an extensive model railroad being built by volunteer craftsmen. The model depicts how Port Hope and Harbor Beach depots and freight yards looked when the railway was active in the early 1900’s. Volunteers are still at work creating this are as it looked. It’s a fascinating exhibit in miniature. The model railroad can be seen when the depot is open or by appointment at 989-550-5298.
Michigan’s Upper Thumb Festival Season Starts in Bay Port
Bay Port, Michigan – As late summer rolls around the days get a bit shorter and the evenings around the campfire can have a bit of chill in the air. It’s also festival season! If you’re in the Upper Thumb the first weekend in August, head to Bay Port. The Bay Port Fish Sandwich Festival is the granddaddy of them all. Since 1978 folks come in and lined up for a fish sandwich that “takes two hands to hold one.” At $4.00 it’s a deal. It’s a family friendly event but its proximity to the historic Bay Port Inn make thoughts of having a “short one” prior to hitting the craft booths not uncommon.
Events start on Friday, August 3rd at noon with sandwiches and a large continuous craft show, the crowning of the festival’s king, queen, prince and princess and fireworks on Friday evening at Saturday’s events start with a 5K walk/run then the festival’s parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m. Craft booths and fish sandwiches are sold throughout the day.
The festival concludes on Sunday at noon with a fish eating contest.
A Bite of Bay Port Fish Sandwich History
The Engelhard’s family started the community’s Fish Sandwich Festival. In 1949 Henry and Edna began selling the famous fish sandwich. By 1953, the Engelhard’s erected a stand on the front lawn of their home, with a sign that touted Bay Port’s Original Fresh Boneless Fried Fish Sandwich.
The first Fish Sandwich Festival was held in 1978, and just like Caseville’s 1st Rib stock held years later, they quickly sold out. Today the annual number of visitors averages over 10,000. Back in the late 1940’s folks told them they were crazy, but the Bay Port fishery certainly captivated them and, after all, the Bay Port slogan is “Fish caught the Man.”
The fish sandwich is the prime attraction. The original sandwich is local caught freshwater Mullet is dipped in a secret batter, fried crisp, and served on a long bun with ketchup and mustard. Although not traditional, tartar sauce is also available. According to Henry, the fish should overlap the bun and the sandwich should be so large “it takes two hands to hold it.” All day, the lines in front of the sandwich stand are long. It is not unusual to sell 12,500 sandwiches to people from as far away as Florida and the northeast.
Henry was the festival’s primary inspiration, energy, supporter, and promoter. He wrote many stories regaling the fish sandwiches’ power to please and to heal. Through his efforts, the festival has been featured on NBC’s Today Show, ABCs 20/20, and in many national magazines and newspapers. In recognition of their contribution to the Fish Sandwich Festival, Henry and Edna (she died in 1992) were honored as “Mr. and Mrs. Bay Port.”
The question was simple enough. “Does anyone offer a Tour of the Michigan Wind Farms in the Upper Thumb?” We had been to a wind farm tour during the Cheeseburger in Caseville festival in August but we were unsure about getting a tour the rest of the year. So we were pleased to discover that DTE Energy has a Discovery Center in Michigan’s Upper Thumb. Touring a Wind Farm can be another thing to do if you’re visiting Caseville, Port Austin or Harbor Beach this summer.
Wind Farm Tours Available from Harbor Beach 4th of July Weekend
We also found that tours are going to be available from Harbor Beach’s Maritime Festival on July 6 and 7th. DTE will offer free guided tours leaving Friday and Saturday at 10 am-Noon and 2 pm. You will tour the Sigle Wind farm in the eastern Upper Thumb. Sigel is one of three DTE Energy’s first wholly-owned and constructed wind parks and was energized on Dec. 21, 2012.
The facility is located on 15,000 acres spread over roughly 600 square miles in Huron and Sanilac Counties in Michigan. The total generation facility includes 69 wind turbines, three electrical substations, and associated electrical collection system. The parks generate 110 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, capable of powering 25,000 homes in Michigan.
Group Tours of Michigan’s Upper Thumb Wind Farms
If you have a family, a workgroup or a bunch of friends that would like to explore and tour a wind farm, tours can be scheduled by calling Michael Sage at 989.269.5805.
Hands-On Exploration of Michigan’s Renewable Energy
The Discovery Center is equipped with state-of-the-art multi-media capabilities and renewable energy education videos. You can make your own wind turbine and actually create your own electricity with some hands-on interactive displays. You can also view the operations control center that manages all the wind farms that DTE operates in the Thumb. The Discovery Center is located within the Huron Renewable Energy Center, a management and operation center created from a closed retail store that DTE renovated and opened in 2016.
The Discovery Center’s also offers educational videos focus on how renewable energy came to be such a major part of Michigan’s Upper Thumb and how the technology is contributing to Michigan’s economy. The Discovery Center is located at DTE’s Huron Renewable Energy Center at 1000 S Van Dyke Avenue in Bad Axe.
Caseville’s Union Army Memorial Statue from the Civil War
The Pedestal Inscription of the Caseville Memorial Statue reads – 1910. Dedicated to the living and dead soldiers of Huron County 1861-1865. Erected by the patriotic citizens of Huron County under auspices of Nancy Smalley Circle No. 7, L. of G. A. R.
Rededication – “We proudly acknowledge those from Caseville and vicinity who answered the call to preserve freedom and the memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice for that freedom. Dedicated Memorial Day, 1976”