It’s about Maritime: Festival July 12-13

ESCANABA – One of the featured events at this year’s Esky 150 Sesquicentennial celebration is the 3rd annual Bays de Noc Maritime Festival, which takes place July 12 and 13.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days in the marina area at Ludington Park.

According to Maria Maniaci, one of the organizers for the event, the Maritime Festival is free for visitors who wish to walk around and see the vendors and displays, unlike many other tall ship festivals on the Great Lakes.

“The big thing that’s new to the festival this year is a fish boil on that Friday evening,” said Maniaci.

The fish boil will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. next to the harbormaster building that night. Tickets for the event are $10 and will be available at the event or can be pre-purchased by calling Mollie Larsen at the William Bonifas Fine Arts Center at 786-3833.

The festival also welcomes back the schooner Inland Seas, which will make five, three-hour long sail-aways into the bay during the festival’s two days, which have already been sold out. Tickets had been available for $10, which Maniaci said is much lower than what other similar festivals charge in Duluth or Green Bay.

Like last year, the event will feature music, various artisans and vendors displaying their crafts and wares, a sea lamprey and invasive species exhibit by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and demonstrations by the Delta County Search and Rescue Team and Dive Team. Sand Point Light House and the new Delta County Historical Society Museum named for donor Dr. John Beaumier will be open to the public free of charge during those two days.

“We’ve tried to get as many artisans and vendors back as has ever been there before,” said Maniaci of the event, noting the Maritime Festival is very important in celebrating Escanaba’s history because the city wouldn’t have been established otherwise.

Escanaba became vital to the steel industry as a shipping port for iron ore, said Maniaci. She noted Michigan, as a state, also has more shoreline than any other state in the union except Alaska, and Delta County has more shoreline than any other county in the state.

“it’s celebrating the maritime history of being a vital port on the Great Lakes water highway when there weren’t roads and barely trails, she said. “The water highway became very, very vital and very important.”

For more information on the 3rd annual Bays de Noc Maritime Festival or other Esky 150 events, visit