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Summer season is packed with local events

R. R. Branstrom | Daily Press Chris Powell’s music at the Karas Bandshell in Ludington Park recently is just the beginning of a full list of events this summer.

ESCANABA — Grab your calendar and a pen and prepare to write small — between the fair, concerts, art fairs and more, this summer’s docket is packed.

Escanaba Speedway is holding races every weekend of June and July — mostly on Saturdays, except for a race on July 21, which is a Sunday. Fans can also look forward to a special race opening night of the fair, a championship on Aug. 24, and the Yooper Fall Classic Sept. 13 to 14.

The Missoula Children’s Theater is at Esky’s Bonifas Theater this week, with auditions Monday the 17th from 10 a.m. to noon for kids in first through 12th grade. Free workshops for all kids interested in theater, not just those given roles in the play, will be from 3 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Performances of “The Pied Piper” will be on Saturday, June 22, at 2 and 5 p.m.

A few events for anglers are yet to occur. In Powers, a children’s fishing derby will be held July 4. The Bay Area Veteran’s Fishing Derby is in Ludington Park on Aug. 31. The Bay de Noc Last Chance is Sept. 7. For details, Jerry Plourde may be reached at 906-420-0022.

The Nahma Music Fest of June 21 and 22 begins on Friday night with a performance by the Delta Players and on Saturday welcomes A Place to Land, Birch Road Band, Sky Pilots, Mia Brown and the Getdown, and Stonewall.

Archery workshops will be held at the DNR Pocket Park from 1 to 2 p.m. on June 22 and 29.

From 5 to 9 p.m. on both June 28 and 29 will be Night in the Village at the Steam and Gas Village in the fairgrounds. There will be activities for all ages, including tractor rides, and overnight camping is available.

The Bonifas Arts Center is offering a selection of classes in activities such as painting, needle-felting, painting, jewelry-making, pottery, dancing, photography and culinary arts. Some classes are geared towards children, some are adult-oriented, and others are for all ages and skill levels. Registration may be done at bonifasarts.org.

The Fourth of July is on a Thursday this year, stretching events through the weekend. Gladstone’s celebration, long known to be the major one in the area, will be on the 4th. Esky’s is on Saturday the 6th. Manistique has a kiddie parade on the 5th and its full parade — themed “Blast from the Past” — and fireworks on the 6th. Hermansville’s parade, car and motorcycle show, competitive mud runs and more will be on Saturday the 6th from 8 a.m. to noon.

Elvis impersonator Jon Sampson will be performing at the Bonifas on Friday, July 12, at 7 p.m.

Boaters of the Great Lakes Cruising Club participating in their 2024 rendezvous will be centered around the bay area July 14 to 18, with many expected to dock in Escanaba between cruising the waters around Fayette, Door County, and other gems that week.

The Escanaba City Band, in honor of its 100th year, will host a community picnic and centennial celebration on July 24 at the Karas Bandshell in Ludington Park. Food, cake and socializing begins at 5 p.m.; a concert and re-dedication of the bandshell begins at 7:30 p.m.

Marinafest, an all-day (noon to 10 p.m.) music celebration at the waterfront in Escanaba in the park near the marina is on July 27.

The Off-Road Rumble will be held at the Bark Riber International Raceway on Aug. 10 and 11.

The Upper Peninsula State Fair, the annual celebration that brings agriculture, carnival rides, grandstand events, miscellaneous attractions, food and other vendors together at the fairgrounds, will take place the third week of August (12 to 18).

The annual Waterfront Arts Festival will be Saturday, Aug. 3. Independent artists, crafters, entertainment and food will be in Ludington Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. After that, Rock the Dock will be at the Municipal Dock from 4 p.m. with music, bounce houses, a petting zoo and food vendors.

Also on Aug. 3, Armageddon on Wheels — a school bus demolition derby and truck race event — will be at the fairgrounds.

The Steam and Gas Engine Show, full of tractors, saws, and all sorts of vintage machinery along with vendors will be held at the fairgrounds on Labor Day weekend.

Recurring events include:

Music Mondays are from 7 to 9 p.m. at Ludington Park’s Karas Bandshell. The concerts, always accompanied by a food truck, will be held each Monday of the summer through the first week of August.

Lunch on Ludington, a music series at the Escanaba Marketplace, is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

At 7:30 on Wednesday nights (unless weather postpones it to Thursday) through Aug. 14, the Escanaba City Band performs at the bandshell.

The Escanaba Public Library hosts a recurring lunchtime musical series, also featuring food trucks, every other Thursday beginning June 13. On the north lawn of the library, the events take place from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Gladstone’s Summer Concert Series is held at the beach house every Thursday beginning June 13 and wrapping up Aug. 15. People are invited to bring blankets, lawn chairs and coolers.

Beginning next month is Lunchtime Live! — another outdoor music and food truck series — on Tuesdays at Bay College, in the courtyard between buildings 200 and 500, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dates are July 9 and 23 and Aug.  6, 20 and 27.

Strings on the Bay is a chamber music series in the Besse Theater on Bay College’s Escanaba campus June 25, July 9, and Aug. 13 (all Tuesdays) at 7 p.m. Unlike the other music series above, Strings on the Bay requires an admission fee.

Menominee’s Waterfront Market — a farmers’ market at Great Lakes Memorial Marina Park — is held weekly on Thursdays through Aug. 15 from 3 to 7 p.m. Menominee also hosts a downtown farmers’ market at 940 1st St. on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon through Sept. 28.

In Manistique, a market bringing together farmers and artisans is held every Monday from 5 to 7 p.m. through October at Triangle Park, except when it moves to Lake Effect Arts during bad weather.

In Delta County, farmers’ markets are in Escanaba from 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, in Gladstone from 3 to 6 p.m. Mondays, and in Rapid River 3 to 6 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays.

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