Event-filled summer planned for U.P.

Daily Press photo In this Daily Press file photo, members of the Gladstone youth football group walk alongside their float during a past Fourth of July celebration in Gladstone. The Fourth of July is just around the corner, but festivities and events in the Upper Peninsula won’t end with Independence Day.

ESCANABA — Summer officially begins Wednesday, and the Upper Peninsula has wasted no time planning a full calendar of events and festivities to keep residents and visitors busy throughout the season.

According to Executive Director of the Delta County Chamber of Commerce Vickie Micheau, events have a major impact on the area’s economy.

“Data collected for 14 Delta County (events) and analyzed by the Center for Economic Analysis at Michigan State University reports direct guest spending of over $3,200,000 creating 41 local jobs,” she wrote in an e-mail interview.

Events scheduled for this summer include:

– From June 23 to 25, the Island Resort Championship will be held at the Island Resort and Casino’s Sweetgrass Golf Club. This annual event is a part of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Symetra Tour.

– The U.P. Trappers Convention and Outdoor Expo will be held at the U.P. State Fairgrounds in Escanaba on June 30 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and July 1 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will feature appearances from trappers, live demonstrations, and a wide variety of vendors.

“Anything even remotely to do with the outdoors is there,” District Three President and Event Coordinator for the U.P. Trappers Association Roy Dahlgren said. This event is open to the public; admission for both days is $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under.

– Independence Day will be celebrated with Gladstone’s Fourth of July parade, which will begin at 11 a.m. Line-up for the parade will start at 10 a.m. at the end of Delta Avenue, and the parade will go down Delta Avenue and 13th Street. Fireworks displays will also be held in Escanaba and Gladstone’s parks on the night of July 4.

– This year’s Bark River Off-Road Races will be held on July 15 and 16 at the Bark River International Raceway. Reservations for tickets and campsites can be made online at www.barkriveroffroad.com.

– On July 20, the United Way of Delta County will host its 10th annual Mini Golf Tournament at Family Fun Park in Escanaba from 4 to 7 p.m. Proceeds from this event will go towards Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Participants will be able to golf in a team or on their own, and prizes will be awarded for the best individual scores by age group and for the top three teams. Registration, which includes unlimited rounds of mini golf during the tournament, costs $10 for participants 11 and up and $5 for participants 10 and under. Participants who register by July 7 will receive a free T-shirt, and all registered golfers will be given a $5 Family Fun Park voucher.

“It’s just a fun way to spend time with coworkers or friends or family … the people you like to spend time with,” United Way of Delta County Executive Director Julie Mallard said.

– Members of the Wally Byam Caravan Club International will be coming to Escanaba from July 22-29 for their 60th International Rally. More than 650 Airstream trailers will be present at the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds for this event. Over the course of the week, attendees will be able to attend informational seminars and meet up with old friends from across North America.

– The Escanaba Downtown Sidewalk Sales will take place on July 29 beginning at 9 a.m. Stores and restaurants will offer sales and specials for this event, and a classic car and motorcycle show will be held.

– Multiple fishing tournaments will take place in the area this summer. These will include the Cabela’s North American Bass Circuit on July 29 and the Walleye Federation Member Open Tournament on July 30.

– On Aug. 5, the Waterfront Art Festival will be held in Ludington Park in Escanaba from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Over 50 vendor booths will be set up as part of this event. The festival will also feature entertainment, food vendors, and raffles.

– The Daily Press Children’s Back-to-School and Health Fair will return to the Ruth Butler Building at the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds on Aug. 6. Many popular activities from previous incarnations of this event will be returning in 2017.

– In mid-August, the U.P. State Fair will be held in Escanaba. Grandstand entertainment for this year’s fair will include the finale of “906 Got Talent,” country and gospel quartet The Oak Ridge Boys, country pop duo LoCash, Prince tribute band The Prince Experience, country band Sawyer Brown, and UPIR Racing.

“The fair, taking place on August 14-20, will be bigger and better than ever with new attractions and entertainment as well as old favorites,” Micheau wrote.

– On Sept. 2, Rock’s annual Labor Day Celebration will take place. As part of this celebration, which is sponsored by the Rock Lions, a parade will be held at 11 a.m. Several activities, including bounce houses, pony rides, and a mechanical bull-riding contest, will also be featured at the Rock Labor Day Celebration.

– The Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association will hold their Great Lakes Logging and Heavy Equipment Expo at the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds in Escanaba on Sept. 7 from noon to 5 p.m., Sept. 8 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sept. 9 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Exhibitors at the expo will show products related to logging, trucking, construction, gardening equipment, and more. The expo is open to the general public; admission for all three days is $10 for adults and free for attendees under the age of 18.