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Antique Village open on Thursdays

Jordan Beck | Daily Press From left, Dianne Connor — manager of the textile building at the Antique Village — teaches U.P. Steam and Gas Engine Association member Sema Deeds how to use a loom to make rugs Thursday.

ESCANABA — The U.P. State Fair and other large events at the U.P. State Fairgrounds have been canceled this summer, but people looking to spend some time at the Antique Village can still do so. The U.P. Steam and Gas Engine Association’s village, located on the fairgrounds, will be open on Thursdays from noon to 4 p.m. through the end of the summer.

“We’re trying to get more people into the village,” Joanne Dufour — who manages The Candle Shop and The Fiber Boutique — said.

According to Dufour, the village and its agricultural museum have been open on some summer days outside of major events for about five years now. At first, the village and museum were open on Tuesdays and Thursdays; while the museum still follows this schedule, the same is not true for the village as a whole.

Many different shops and facilities at the village are open to visitors on Thursdays, including Escanaba Knit & Stitch, The Candle Shop, The Fiber Boutique, C.C.’s Creations, the granary and the textile building. Cecilia “Cil” Chie, of C.C.’s Creations, said she has been involved with the Antique Village for years.

“I’m one of the lifetime members,” she said.

C.C.’s Creations offers crafts made by Chie.

“I do crocheting and knitting,” Chie said.

Jackie VanEnkevort, manager of the I. Stephenson General Store, said her shop specializes in items fitting the village’s focus on history.

“I have a variety of antiques and vintage items,” she said.

Other stores at the Antique Village — including the ice cream parlor and Cook Shack — are not open on Thursdays. VanEnkevort said this is due to the fact that the people involved with running these shops have outside commitments.

“Some people have other jobs,” she said.

The village’s sawmill is also not open on Thursdays.

As of late July, the number of people visiting the Antique Village on Thursdays has been low.

“So far, we haven’t had very much business,” Theresa Winkler — who works at the textile building in the village — said.

While this had already been the case in previous years, Klope noted the COVID-19 pandemic has added an additional wrinkle to things.

“It’s not helping, that’s for sure,” he said.

Since attendance has been so low, following social distancing guidelines at the Antique Village has not been particularly difficult for participants.

“We all have our masks,” Dufour said.

If the number of visitors going to the village on Thursdays were to spike later in the summer, the village would implement limitations on how many people could be in buildings at any given time.

Escanaba Knit & Stitch manager Larry Klope said the people who have visited the village on Thursdays have had a good time.

“They are just really excited and do enjoy the experience,” he said.

People involved with the village were optimistic about the future of welcoming visitors there on Thursdays after the pandemic passes.

“I think it’s got lots of potential,” Klope said.

Dufour added that she hopes the village could eventually host classes on Thursdays.

In the meantime, village volunteers have been staying busy in other ways.

“For me, I am learning how to weave,” Dufour said.

Klope said he has been hard at work repairing a number of textile machines.

“I’ve been pulling together a group of sock-knitting machines,” he said.

In addition to these machines, which date back to World War I and World War II, Klope has been working to fix vintage sewing machines, circular and flat knitting machines and commercial sewing machines.

Despite low attendance numbers, Dufour said she has appreciated the opportunity to spend time with other people involved with the village on Thursday afternoons.

“I think as a group, we just enjoy each other’s company,” she said.

Still, anyone interested in stopping by the village during its Thursday hours is welcome to do so.

“We are always open to new people coming in,” Winkler said.

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