Category Archives: Local Fun & Food

Bay Port’s Fish Sandwich Festival

Michigan’s Upper Thumb Festival Season Starts in Bayport

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.


Bay Port Craft Show
Craft and vendor booths are fun to browse

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 dusk.

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

Bay Port Fish Sandwich Festival
Even the King makes sandwiches

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.”

Bay Port Fish Sandwich Festival
Live Entertainment All Weekend

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.

Bay Port Michigan Fish Sandwich Festival
The lines move quickly

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.”



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Explore Renewable Energy and Tour Wind Farms in Michigan’s Upper Thumb

The question was simple enough. “Does anyone offer a Tour of the 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

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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 10am, Noon and 2pm. 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.

DTE Discovery Center Bad Axe


Hands-On Exploration of Michigan’s Renewable Energy

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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.


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