Escanaba is ready to party

ESCANABA – Residents and visitors to Escanaba are in for a fun-filled, 10-day celebration of the city’s 150th birthday beginning Friday and lasting through Sunday, July 14.

A variety of events and activities are scheduled for all ages at Ludington Park, the U.P. State Fairgrounds, and other locations throughout town during the Esky150 Celebration. Several local class reunions are also taking place.

Following Escanaba’s regular Independence Day celebration tonight, Esky150 kicks off on Friday with a block party, a parade, and a concert.

Several events are scheduled during the week including historical tours of Escanaba and local homes. Art exhibits are featured at both the Bonifas Fine Arts Center and the Bay College Art Gallery. A local display of photographs depicting memories of Escanaba can be viewed at 1210 Ludington St. Additional displays are featured at local retailers.

Farmers Market opens at 8 a.m. Saturdays and 3 p.m. Wednesdays on the corner of 9th Street and 1st Avenue North.

Shuttle bus service will be available during the first three days of the Esky150 celebration. Two DATA buses will provide free transportation from the fairgrounds parking lot and the high school parking lot with stops along the way to the park.

The buses run from 5-11 p.m. Friday, July 5, and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 6 and 7. For route information, check out the Esky150 website at


A block party will begin at 4 p.m. Friday, July 5, on the 1600 block of Ludington Street where music, a fashion show, and tours of Lofts on Ludington will take place.

The Esky150 parade starts at 7 p.m. on Friday. Lineup is at 6 p.m. at the civic center.

More than 100 participants have signed up for the parade, including the city’s 1963 Centennial queen and the 1963 Centennial baby. Music will be provided by the city band, the high school band, and a steel drum band from Milwaukee. There will be various vehicles, floats and walkers.

Several businesses, organizations and churches will be in the parade with some celebrating their own anniversary milestones. Class reunions will also be represented.

Friday’s events will conclude with a 1950s concert by BB Secrist at the Ludington Park bandshell at 8:15 p.m. The concert is free to the public.

The Bark River Lions Club will have a beer and wine garden in Ludington Park beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday evening and 11 a.m. Saturday.


Events planned for Saturday, July 6, start at 7:30 a.m. with the Delta County Heritage Half Marathon and relay from Van Cleve Park in Gladstone to Ludington Park in Escanaba.

Free family activities begin at 11 a.m. in Ludington Park and include a petting zoo, wagon rides, obstacle courses, bounce houses, and a fish pond. Vendors will be available.

At noon, a free family picnic is being sponsored by the Escanaba Daily Press, Elmer’s County Market, Bink’s Wines and Beverages, Jilbert Dairy, and Eagle 107.3 FM. There will be free hot dogs, soda and ice cream across from the baseball diamond in Ludington Park. A hot dog-eating contest involving local charity personnel begins shortly after noon. The winner will receive $500 for their charitable organization.

At 4 p.m., alumni from the former Holy Name High School will gather for a reunion dinner and dance at the Ruth Butler Building on the fairgrounds.

The Jam Band will perform for the public at the Ludington Park bandshell at 5 p.m., warming up for the featured performer, former Escanaba resident Catte Adams, a singer from West Hollywood, Calif. Mark Hugenberger and Glenn Bengry will join her on stage for the 8:15 p.m. show.


On Sunday, July 7, there will be a lumberjack’s breakfast from 8:30-11 a.m. at the Eagles Club at 608 Ludington St. Cost is $6 for adults.

Horse wagon rides and the petting zoo will resume at the park at 11 a.m.

Registration for a canoe and kayak race begins at 11:30 a.m. with the race starting at 1:15 p.m. near the Aronson Island Bridge at Ludington Park. Entry fee is required and awards will be given in several categories.

Lumberjack shows will take place at noon near the marina featuring logrolling, chainsaw carving, ax throwing, and storytelling. Logging equipment will be on display and prizes will be won by spectators. A second show begins at 4 p.m.

The sesquicentennial beard and mustache contest will take place at noon near the logrolling event. The Bill Jamerson Lumberjack Concert is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. near the marina.

The UPIR car race will take place at 1 p.m. at the fairgrounds as a fundraiser for United Way of Delta County.

Newlywed Game Finals are scheduled at 5 p.m. at the bandshell.


Events on Monday, July 8, include a historical tour of Escanaba and historical home tours. Additional tours are scheduled throughout the week.

A new playground in south Escanaba will be dedicated at noon followed by an ice cream social. Expansion of the Delta County Historical Museum will be dedicated at 2 p.m.

Search and rescue demonstrations will be at the municipal dock at 4:30 p.m. Ski-ters Water-ski Shows will begin at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. by the municipal dock. The Cadillacs band will perform between shows.

Afterwards, boaters are invited to participate in the Venetian Night Parade of Boats around the municipal dock.


Activities planned for Tuesday, July 9, begin with a “Lighthouses and Legends” music concert by singer/songwriter Kitty Donohoe at 2 p.m. at the Escanaba Public Library, 410 Ludington St.

A Zumba-thon dancethon takes place at the bandshell at 4 p.m. A business and industry social will begin at 5 p.m. at the fairgrounds. At 7 p.m. at the bandshell, a humorous radio show, consisting of a cast of 20 characters, will focus on Escanaba’s history. Strings on the Bay orchestra will perform at the Besse Center at Bay College at 7:30 p.m.


Wednesday, July 10, will begin with a community aerobics with various exercise workouts from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Ludington Park.

There are several children’s activities scheduled beginning with a children’s parade in the park at 11 a.m. Harbor Hideout playground will celebrate its 20th anniversary at noon with free ice cream. A children’s lumberjack show will feature games and prizes at 1 p.m. Pony rides and a petting zoo will be at the park at 3:30 p.m.

Senior citizens can enjoy a social at 1 p.m. on Wednesday at the Eagles Club. Free tickets are available at the senior center and chamber of commerce.

The Escanaba All School Reunion will begin at 4 p.m. at the Ruth Butler Building on the fairgrounds. The city band will perform at the bandshell at 7 p.m. The Delta County Cancer Alliance will sponsor a luminary night at 7:30 p.m. at the park.


On Thursday, July 11, individuals with limited mobility can experience the “Recreating the Great Outdoors” at 10 a.m.

Activities include pontoon boat rides, fishing, and target shooting.

A pet parade and costume contest will begin at 11 a.m. near the bandshell. At noon, the Delta County Cancer Alliance will host a golf outing at the Escanaba Country Club.

A Beach Carnival will take place at the Escanaba Municipal Beach beginning at 1 p.m.

Native American drummers, dancers, crafts and food will be featured at the bandshell beginning at 2 p.m.

A dinner at 5 p.m. and tours of the House of Ludington can be reserved by calling 786-6300.

At 7 p.m., area musicians will present “Music Through the Decades” concert at the high school auditorium to benefit the Honor Flight which flies veterans to Washington, D.C.


Friday, July 12, activities begin with the U.P. Trappers Convention-Outdoor Expo from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Ruth Butler Building on the fairgrounds. The event is open Saturday, July 13, at the same times.

The Bays de Noc Maritime Festival is from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at the marina. Horse wagon rides begin at 11 a.m. A fish boil meal for $10 is set for 5 p.m. The festival continues Saturday, July 13, from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. There will also be arts, crafts and food vendors.

The Gas and Steam Engine Village will open at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday, July 12-13 at the fairgrounds.

Robotics and other engineering activities for the family will take place at the fairgrounds schoolhouse on Friday, sponsored by the intermediate school district.

A picnic dinner, benefiting the high school bowling team, will begin at 3 p.m. at the fairgrounds. Wagon rides will be available until 7 p.m. A barn dance with the Jam Band will take place from 7-11 p.m. with free admission. There will be a cash bar.

On Friday, there will be a reception from 3-5 p.m. at the Bonifas Fine Arts Center where the public can view a display of works by local artists.


On Saturday, July 13, registration for a five-kilometer race will be near the Sand Point Lighthouse from 7:45-8:45 a.m. with the race beginning at 9 a.m.

The maritime festival and steam village will each open at 10 a.m.

Sons of the Civil War demonstrations will take place at 1 p.m. at the fairgrounds.

A patriotic memorial dedication is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Steam and Gas Engine Village on the fairgrounds. A monument will be dedicated to two soldiers from the War of 1812 who received bounty land for their military service. Both parcels are located on the fairgrounds.

The final competition of the Island Idol Singing Contest is set for 7 p.m. at the bandshell in the park. The Esky150 fireworks will begin at dusk in the park.


A time capsule will be buried at the municipal dock at noon on Sunday, July 14, followed by barbershop singing by the Remnants Chorus at the bandshell at 1 p.m. The Senior Center Line dancers will perform at 3 p.m. at the bandshell.

The Jan Garber “Big Band Era” orchestra will conclude the Esky150 celebration with a concert and dance at the bandshell beginning at 4 p.m.

For more information on any of the above events, visit or call (906) 786-0631.