Here’s What It Takes to Make Mackinac Island Fudge

Happy National Fudge Day! In honor of celebrating a true Pure Michigan delicacy, we reached out to our friends on Mackinac Island to share some insight on the island’s famous fudge and a few fun facts to go along with it. Read more to see how much you know about Mackinac’s historic fudge-making process and three interesting facts below.

What is the most popular thing to do for free on Mackinac Island?  The answer: Sample free fudge! That question is one of the most frequently asked at the island’s downtown information booth. Another is, who makes the best Mackinac Island fudge? Two questions with the same answer: Taste test for yourself.

JoAnn's fudge with walnuts

JoAnns Fudge is one of many shops to explore on Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island is America’s Fudge Capital and our fudge stores take the moniker very seriously. It’s a proud badge of honor to carry and they give back by offering samples to anyone who asks. On Mackinac Island, fudge plays a major tourism role along with our Fort Mackinac, Grand Hotel and 600-working horses on this island without cars.

Who knew making fudge could be so entertaining?

Our visitors are in for a “sweet treat” when they get off one of our ferry boats and roam downtown where 14-fudge shops are collectively making over 10-thousand pounds of fudge per day during the peak travel season. In addition to sampling the taste, they also get to watch the process of making fudge from boiling the ingredients to pouring the hot liquid concoction onto marble tables where expert fudge makers fold and mold it into iconic half pound slices.

Mackinac Island's fudge-making process takes time for perfection

Photo Courtesy of the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau

One of the best surprises visitors get here is the smell of fudge emanating from every fudge store as its being made. Stores have a ventilation systems emptying into the streets to share the aroma from their boiling vats with temperatures reaching in the 240-degree area. You’ve concluded by now fudge is big business. As many as 10-tons of sugar is imported to the island weekly to match the 10-tons of butter annually!

Today, 80-percent of that sugar comes from the sugar beet fields of Michigan. Back in the late 19th Century the sweetness for fudge making came from local Native American tribes harvesting maple sugar according to Phil Porter’s book, Fudge Mackinac’s Sweet Souvenir.

Toppings are added near the end stages of fudge-making

Photo Courtesy of the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau

The popularity of Mackinac Island Fudge is at an all-time high. Purchasing fudge over the internet keeps Mackinac Island fudge consumption going year round. It is especially popular during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. So as you read this, chances are someone is being entertained by watching the fudge making process on Mackinac Island! It looks delicious, smells terrific, tastes incredible and is almost as entertaining to watch as it is to eat. Did you know these fun fudge-facts below?

  1. Did you know during World War I, millions of individually wrapped one-ounce portions of chocolate were delivered to our soldiers in Europe?
  2. Did you know during World War II the rationing of sugar adversely effected the quantity of Mackinac Island Fudge being made to satisfy demand?
  3. Did you know President Gerald R. Ford visited Mackinac Island in 1975 and stopped at May’s Fudge on the corner of Astor and Main where it sits today? He sampled then purchased a fresh off the slab slice of vanilla pecan.     

What is your favorite flavor of Mackinac Island fudge? Share with us by commenting below!

Celebrate July with These Pure Michigan Events

It’s almost July and summer will be in full swing! While the weather is warm, it’s time to discover something new in Pure Michigan. From the Cherry Festival in Traverse City to the Idlewild Festival, there are a ton of unique events happening around the state.

Below is a roundup of July events to help you plan the upcoming month. Visit our events page to see everything going on all month long.

July 1-7

Legends of saginaw sail


Legends of the Saginaw Sail
July 1-2, Bay City

Learn the fascinating history of the Saginaw River as the Appledore sails from Downtown Bay City to the Saginaw Bay. Once out on the open water, help the crew set the sails or relax and enjoy the view. A light lunch of a sub sandwich, chips, cookie and soda/water is served onboard.

MI Big Green Gym: Beach Yoga
July 2, Mears

Beach Yoga will be offered on the first Saturday of July, August and September at Silver Lake State Park from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Kalon Arts and Yoga Company offers Vinyasa Flow Beach Yoga, linking breath with movement. Practice begins with a gentle flexibility opening and breath work, moving from the floor into seated /kneeling poses and building into strength/balancing sequences before closing in a guided relaxation. Yoga is both a physical exercise as well as an internal practice of reflection and awareness. This is the perfect opportunity to get fit and have fun.

Antiques at the Fairgrounds – JulyAntiques at fairgrounds
July 2-3, Petoskey

This popular show will feature over 170 dealers from around the country. There will be a huge array of high quality antique merchandise from the smallest collectibles (jewelry), to a wide range of antique furniture, pottery, china, textiles, prints and more.

International Food Festival
July 2-4, Marquette

The Marquette County Exchange Club will be hosting its annual International Food Festival in Mattson Lower Harbor Park. There will be food and refreshments, live entertainment and a fireworks display at dusk on Monday, July 4.

National Cherry Festival
cherry festivalJuly 2-9, Traverse City

The National Cherry Festival is the oldest and biggest festival in the Traverse City area. Featuring over 150 activities including air shows, fireworks, pie eating contests, concerts and lots of cherries!

July 8-14

DSO at the Ford House
July 8-9, Grosse Pointe Shores

Join the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for an evening of music in the magical setting of the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House. Each evening the concerts will be followed by fireworks over the lake.

On Friday, July 8, Teddy Abrams conducts and vocalists Will and Anthony Nunziata perform hits from your favorite Broadway shows! On Saturday, July 9, the DSO will perform music inspired by the beauty and wonder of America. Enjoy works from Bernstein, John Williams, Dvorak, and more.

Rolling Sculpture Car Showrolling car show
July 8, Ann Arbor

Bill Crispin Chevrolet and the Main Street Area Association present the 21st Annual Rolling Sculpture Car Show, a one of a kind experience for the car enthusiast taking place in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor. More than 300 exotic, antique, classic, and concept cars will be displayed on Main, Liberty and Washington Streets.

Idlewild Music Festival
July 9-10, Idlewild

The 2015 Idlewild Music Festival (IMF) brought national attention to the Nationally Registered Historic Landmark of Idlewild. T. ROSE Entertainments’ efforts to bring forth greater awareness of Idlewild were a success. The IMF is held to commemorate and celebrate the history of well-known African-American entertainers and professionals who owned property and performed at the Historic Resort prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Known as the “Black Eden”, this location was one of the few resorts in the United States where African-Americans could vacation and purchase property. It is historically, the largest land-based African American resort ever assembled in the USA.

59th Annual Coca Cola International Frisbee Tournament
July 9-10, Calumet

Come out and watch the intensity of the first Frisbee sport of Guts, the one that paved the way for the rest. Players from around the world will be in attendance. The best Guts tourney on the circuit and the Julius T. Nachezel Cup is still the one to win.

Blue Water Sand Fest
July 8-10, Port Huron

Voted one of the top 10 Sand Sculpturing Competitions in the country by USA Today, the Blue Water SandFest will host Michigan’s first and only Master Sand Sculpting and Advanced Amateur competition and festival. This three day event, which starts on Friday, July 8th and runs through Sunday, July 10th, is held on the park grounds of the Fort Gratiot Light Station, along the beautiful Lake Huron.

July 15-21

Tall Ship Celebration: Bay Citybay city tall ships
July 14-17, Bay City

The award winning maritime festival returns to Bay City – July 14th-17th – featuring an international fleet of tall ships, maritime musicians and fun for the whole family!

Beaver Island Music Festival
July 14-16, Beaver Island

Beaver Island Music Festival has been creating Music in the Woods since 2003, a 3-day outdoor event combining nature, renewable energies, music and artwork, song and dance, on a small remote island in Lake Michigan. BIMF has proud history of combining a wide range of musical genera and musicians from Michigan to nationally performing acts all having their own creative style into a single event. Plan to enjoy one of Michigan’s most unique and growing festivals, with wide varieties of music, art and activities for all ages. There is food, camping and plenty of time to enjoy a tour of this historical island or spend a day on one of the beautiful Lake Michigan beaches.

48th Annual Cadillac Festival of Arts
July 15-16, Cadillac

Annual Festival of the Arts & Phyllis Olson Art Fair (juried) is held annually in the Cadillac City Park, on the shoreline of Lake Cadillac. Starts Friday with the exhibit opening mid-day, the Taste of Cadillac’ kicks off the evening with live music playing in the Park Pavilion. Saturday’s events include Kids crafts and the String Petting Zoo, where kids can try out various stringed instruments. The Park Pavilion hosts live entertainment and the art exhibits continue throughout the weekend.

Hot Air Jubileehot air jubilee
July 15-17, Jackson

Have you ever gazed up at a blue sky filled with hot air balloons of every shape and size and every color of the rainbow? It’s a sight many people only dream of, and one you will never forget. Jackson’s Hot Air Jubilee each July will dazzle you and your family while offering plenty of fun-filled activities on the ground. An arts and crafts show, live entertainment, Kid’s Kingdom and much more add up to three days of amazement.

Michigan Lavender Festival
July 15-17, Armada

The Michigan Lavender Festival offers a true “Symphony for the Senses”! Relax and rejuvenate to the essence of fragrant lavender swaying in the breeze. Enjoy a gourmet lunch in the shade while sipping on a glass of ice cold lavender lemonade. With just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of city life, the Lavender Festival is a perfect mid-summer getaway. Not only is this event a celebration of all the wonders of L

avender, but also an event that knits together local, talented artisans of one-of-a-kind hand-made goods, featuring over 100 Michigan artists, craftspeople and local area farms. Festival highlights include lavende

r workshops, wellness classes, U-pick orchard fruit and wagon rides to tour the farm & orchards.

Leelanau Peninsula Wine on the Water Festivalleelaunau peninsula wine
July 16, Suttons Bay

This festival will feature tastes from not only different local wineries, distilleries and breweries, but also local food, art and live music from some of Leelanau and Michigan’s top talents.

July 22-28

Colon Magic Festivalcolon magic
July 20-23, Colon

Magic takes center stage here in the Magic Capital of the world with Magic Camp, Evening Shows, Arts & Crafts Fair, Strolling Magicians and live music! This event is fun for the entire family. Have fun being fooled!

Michigan Summer Beer Festival
July 22-23, Ypsilanti

The 19th Annual Summer Beer Festival will host more than 100 Michigan breweries sampling almost 1,000 different craft beers. Food will be available for purchase inside the festival, and guests will enjoy live music from a variety of Michigan bands. The oldest of the Michigan Brewers Guild’s four annual festivals, the Summer Beer Festival takes place rain or shine in the lovely outdoor setting of Ypsilanti’s Riverside Park in historic Depot Town.

Michigan Historical Museum – Speak Out! Saturday
July 23, Lansing

Look for our special Speak Out! stations in our museum galleries. Take advantage of the opportunity to “talk” with us and other visitors about current events, museum exhibitions or topics in history. Stop by and find out what the conversation is about today!

A Paranormal Event
July 23, Garden

Have you ever wondered what a ghost hunter does? Does the thought of apparitions give you a chill or a sense of wonder? Join us at Fayette Historic State Park for a full day and night of unearthly surprises and learning… if you dare!

Indian Lake Honey Bees
July 28, Manistique

Join us at our campground host site for a taste of Indian Lake Honey. Local beekeepers, Jan and Ed Wright, will educate us on honey bees and will bring a hive for a demonstration on how honey bees construct their hives and deposit honey. They will also have honey for tasting and products available for sale.

July 29-31

Port Sanilac Summer Festival
July 29-31, Port Sanilac

The charming lakeshore town of Port Sanilac invites you to a weekend of fun for the whole family. Featuring watermelon eating contests, inflatables and rock walls for the kids to climb and bounce, craft shows, live music and much more- the Village Weekend will give summer memories that will last a lifetime.

Blueberry Festival
July 29, Marquette

The 15th annual Blueberry Festival is a fantastic family-friendly event. In downtown Marquette, Washington and Front streets will be bustling with sidewalk sales, food vendors, artists, demonstrations, pony rides, inflatable arcade games and activities for children and families. Downtown restaurants will satisfy your cravings for blueberry fare, from blueberry pizza to blueberry beer, while many downtown shops offer will offer “blue” specials. Local farmers will be on-hand throughout the day selling fresh produce, including mounds of plump blueberries and music fills the streets as live musicians perform throughout the day.

Annual Connor Gorsuch Kid’s Fishing Daykids fishing day
July 30, Sault Sainte Marie

Soo Area Sportsmen’s Club presents the Connor Gorsuch Kid’s Fishing Day the last Saturday in July. Kids 16 and under can enjoy a free day of fishing at the kids fishing pond at Rotary Park. The community has donated food, refreshments, and prizes for the event. All registered kids can catch three fish and register two. Wilderness Treasures is providing the bait. Some fishing equipment will be available, but you are encouraged to bring your own.

July 30, Battle Creek

Voted one of Michigan’s best live music venues, Leilapalooza is fast becoming one of the most anticipated music events of the summer. This free event features a variety of musical acts on several stages throughout the day!

How Bazaar Jacksonbazaar jackson
July 30-31, Jackson

How Bazaar Jackson is a two-day street festival in downtown Jackson including a juried Art Show, live entertainment, food and a beer/wine tasting tent. Top-level artists from all over the country will be showing off their wares and competing for $10,000 in prize money.Incredibly talented musical performers will be on stage throughout the event including a headliner act on Saturday evening. Food vendors from Jackson and beyond will tantalize your taste buds. And you can wash it all down with refreshing beers, wines and ciders from local vendors.

Did we miss your favorite July event? Name it below!


7 Awesome Michigan Farmers Markets Sure to Grow on You

There’s something special about visiting a new Michigan destination and experiencing its local fares, but you don’t always have to go far to do so! Agriculture has always been one of Michigan’s major industries, and as Michiganders will tell you, it is still the leader in producing many delicious foods.

Read more on seven Farmers Markets to visit this summer and check out our markets page to find one near you.

1. Flint Farmers’ Market

If you’re looking for fresh and delicious fare near Flint, look no further than the Flint Farmers’ Market. This year-round market has 50 vendors featuring several produce distributors, a great meat market, poultry, breads and baked goods, cheese, a wine shop, an art gallery, a café, middle-eastern and Mexican groceries and many unique gifts. Check out the Flint Farmers’ Market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The Flint Farmers' Market is a fresh food mecca

Photo Courtesy of the Flint Farmers’ Market

2. Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market

Located in the Kerrytown District, the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market features locally grown produce, flowers, shrubs, plants, jams, honey, maple syrup, jellies, baked goods, grains, fruits, eggs, dairy products, homemade wearing apparel, toys, jewelry, home decorations, furniture, pottery and candles all in an open-air atmosphere. Head to A2 and check out this historic market, open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7am – 3pm May through December.

3. Eastern Market – Detroit

Each week, thousands flock to Eastern Market to enjoy one of the most authentic urban adventures in the nation. This market, and its adjacent district, offers local fare with more than 250 independent vendors and merchants processing, wholesaling, and retailing food. At the heart of Eastern Market is a six-block public market that has been nourishing Detroit since 1891. Every Saturday it transforms into a vibrant marketplace with hundreds of open-air stalls offering great selections of fruits, veggies, fresh-cut flowers, locally produced specialty food products, and pasture and/or grass-fed meat. Additional market days include Detroit Eastern Market Tuesdays as well as Sunday Street Market, both occurring seasonally, from mid-Spring through the autumn months. Eastern Market is also a big part of Detroit’s comeback story.

Eastern Market is a must-visit when exploring Detroit

Detroit’s Eastern Market offers more than 250 diverse vendors

4. Fulton Street Farmer’s Market – Grand Rapids

Enjoy the outdoors and a beautiful farmer’s market when visiting Grand Rapids! The Fulton Street Farmer’s Market is a seasonal, open-air, market that offers fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, baked goods, crafts more. Some vendors start leaving as early as 2 p.m., so get there early for best selection! The market season runs from the first Saturday in May through the last Saturday before Christmas in December and is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

5. Holland Farmers Market

Dutch heritage and tulips aren’t the only things to love about Holland! This market features more than 90 local farmers and vendors selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to plants, baked goods, floral arrangements, dairy products and much, much more. The Market also features a food court with dining options for breakfast and lunch, as well as street performers who entertain with music, magic and other shows. Explore the Holland Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. May through November and on Saturdays in December.

Delectable strawberries found at the Holland Farmers Market

Strawberries at the Holland Farmers Market. Photo Courtesy of Lindsey J. Scalera, Michigan Voices for Good Food Policy.

6. Marquette Farmer’s & Artists Market

The Downtown Marquette Farmer’s Market continues to grow strong! This Upper Peninsula market is open every Saturday mid-May through October, in the Marquette Commons Parking Lot. Here you’ll find some of the best local produce the U.P. has to offer in addition to delightful displays from local artists. The Market also participates in WIC’s ‘Project Fresh’, which makes fresh produce available to low-income, nutritionally-at-risk consumers, through Michigan farmers’ markets.

7. Lansing City Market

Lansing City Market provides the Greater Lansing region, and out-of-town guests, a year-round, one-of-a-kind shopping experience in a family friendly environment. Established in 1909, the Market’s recent reconstruction along the Grand River has strengthened Lansing’s downtown corridor by creating a welcoming home for more than a dozen merchants. Currently the Market features a wide variety of goods including: kayak and canoe rentals (weather-permitting), local produce, artisan cheese, organic meat, natural heath care products, gluten-free items, and several hot-prepared food merchants including a full-service bar and grill.

The Lansing City Market stands out in the state's capital

Visitors are always delighted when exploring Lansing City Market

What is your favorite Farmers Market in Michigan? Share with us by commenting below!