Column: Big events coming to Delta County

ESCANABA — As we conclude a successful 2017 tourism season, we can begin to look ahead with excitement at some of the large events our area will be hosting in 2018. There are many businesses and partner organizations working together to recruit new events for Delta County that will bring visitors here to enjoy the natural beauty and hospitality of the region.

One of the largest events on the 2018 calendar will be the 59th Annual National Trappers Association Convention, hosted at the U.P. State Fairgrounds on July 26-28. This event will bring thousands of tourists to the area for a large trade show and to participate in workshops presented by famous outdoor experts and trappers. There will be trapping, fur handling, and hunting demonstrations.

Marty Meierotto, a survivalist on TV’s History Channel reality show Mountain Men, is one of the notable pros that will be at the event. Marty drove to Alaska in 1985 to “live in the woods” and he’s been doing just that ever since. Along with his TV fame, he was featured on the cover and in an article of a recent Field and Stream magazine. Marty’s talent and reputation will draw many outdoor enthusiasts and trappers to the convention. This national event was last held in Escanaba in 2014.

“We love hosting attendees from the National Trappers Association Convention,” said Tom and Tammy Thiel of the Bay View Motel in Gladstone. “When the event was here in 2014, they not only attended the convention, but many of them had fun fishing and enjoying other activities in the area.”

This community has a reputation for rolling out the red carpet when large events come to town and 2018 will be no different. Not only will the largest trapping and outdoors convention make a stop in Delta County next year, but the Cabela’s World Walleye Championship will be hosted here in October as well. This nationally televised event will shine a spotlight on the community and tell visitors about our hospitable residents as well as our world class fishing.

“Escanaba has always treated us well and we look forward to coming back every year,” said Scott Anderson, field operations manager for the World Walleye Championship, “the Bays are a great fishery and has hosted many successful bass and walleye tournaments over the years.”

We are looking forward to nationally recognized events, as well as many other local events that will be held in Delta County in 2018 which would not be possible without the support and collaboration of numerous local organizations.

“Hosting a National Trappers Association convention is an unbelievably huge undertaking for a group the size of the U.P. Trappers Association,” said Bob Steinmetz, National Trappers Association director.

“It requires almost as many volunteers as we have members. Needless to say it couldn’t happen without the financial backing, help, and advice we receive from the Convention and Visitors Bureau; the Chamber of Commerce; the fairgrounds; and all of the local merchants who support this worthwhile effort,” Steinmetz explained when discussing the coordinated effort of the community.

“We not only want to host a successful convention and make a few bucks for our association, but we are also thrilled when we see the motels filled to overflowing, our restaurants calling in extra help, and other local merchants welcoming new customers.” Steinmetz went on to say, “Many of our attendees vacation while they are up here, benefitting not only Escanaba but the entire Upper Peninsula.”

The future is bright for Delta County and the progress that is being made would not be possible without the support and effort of our community. The coming year is going to be a great opportunity for us to welcome new guests and provide the topnotch hospitality that the area is known for. Thank you for supporting our local events and welcoming new and returning guests to town year after year.

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Robert Micheau is the executive director of Visit Escanaba.

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