Nine Things You Might Not Have Known About The Soo Locks

Engineer’s Weekend in Sault Ste. Marie is June 27 – 28, 2014. This last weekend in June has something for everyone, including boat races, spectacular vistas and the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the great Soo Locks.

Photo courtesy of Sault Ste. Marie Convention and Visitor's Bureau

Photo courtesy of Sault Ste. Marie Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

Check out these nine interesting facts about the Soo Locks to inspire your visit from Sault Ste. Marie Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. A man-made marvel and the busiest lock system in the world, by cargo tonnage, yes the Soo Locks! On average, between seven and ten thousand ships come through the locks during the shipping season each year.  Built in 1855, these locks connect Lake Superior to Lake Huron and beyond.  We have repeat visitors every season; they call themselves Boat Nerds, that watch ships from all over the world use this free lock system.  Now here are some facts about the locking system and the St. Mary’s River. $500.4 Billion value attributed to the iron ore shipped through the Soo Locks each year. An average of 80 million tons of cargo moves through them each year. 7,000 passages each year – Crews at the Soo Locks complete these lockages during the 42- week- long navigations season. They are open 24 hours a day.  Can you take your personal boat through the locks? Yes, as long as you have permission from the lockmaster. 2,342 miles- ships from all over the world visit this port as the locks are a part of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, which connects Duluth, Minnesota to the Atlantic! 22 Million gallons of water to lift a boat. The locks are powered by gravity itself!  Water moves in and out of the lock chambers by just opening and closing valves. 1000 foot boats- There are 13-1000 footers on the Great Lakes, and the largest boat that comes through the Soo Locks is the Paul R. Tregurtha, coming in at 1013 feet which is larger than three football fields! The first vessels on the great lakes were 40 foot-long canoes.

Mikel B Classen

Photo courtesy of Mikel B Classen via Sault Ste. Marie CVB

9 hours between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, it takes a freighter about nine hours to pass through the St. Mary’s River system 21 foot drop- A thick layer of bedrock holds back the waters of Lake Superior where it joins the St. Mary’s River. This drop prevented boats from passing through. This reddish sandstone lines most of Lake Superior southern shores and is about 1000 feet-thick.   The Fairbanks Scale Company, which is still in business today, built the first permanent lock, State Lock. 3-4 cents per ton- From 1855 to 1881, this was the toll, but today it is free. The propeller in Soo Locks Park is from a steamer named the Independence, which exploded just northwest of today’s locks.  One crewman is said to have survived a trip down the rapids on a hay bale from the ship. Now that you know more about the Soo Locks, come and visit us during Engineer’s Weekend, when you can go into the locks and get up close and personal with this engineering marvel!  Engineer’s Day is always the last Friday in June, which is June 27th this year. See what Engineer’s Weekend is all about in the video below.  Have you been to the Soo Locks? Tell us about your experience!

Save on Michigan Attractions this Summer with Two Cool Promotions from Coca-Cola

Photo courtesy of Twitter user @b_erhart

Photo courtesy of Twitter user @b_erhart

Vacation and refreshment go hand-in-hand, so we’ve teamed up with Coca-Cola on two efforts to promote both activities in Michigan this summer!

Through June 27, 2014, Coca-Cola and Wendy’s® will feature a ‘Cup Full of Savings’ at participating Michigan attractions. This promotion offers a great opportunity to get out and explore some of the terrific destinations Michigan has to offer – and save money while doing it!

During the promotion period, customers who purchase a medium or large Coca-Cola® product at participating Wendy’s® restaurants throughout the state of Michigan will be able to redeem those cups for discounts at participating Michigan attractions.

MIS The full list of participating attractions includes: Air Zoo, Avalanche Bay, Boyne Highlands Resort, Boyne Mountain Resort, Crystal Mountain Resort, Garland Lodge & Resort, Great Wolf Lodge, Michigan International Speedway, Michigan’s Adventure, Shanty Creek Resorts, Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry, Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and the Mystery Spot in St. Ignace.

More than 1.3 million promotional cups will be produced. Cups are redeemable for one time use only. Discounts are exclusively available at The promotion runs through June 27, 2014 with discounts valid as late as the end of October, depending on the particular offer

annarborAdditionally, we’re working with Coca-Cola to kick off the next round of Pure Michigan getaway vacation prize packages through MyCokeRewards. The first vacation getaway features a trip for two to Ann Arbor and the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway and includes hotel accommodations, race tickets, meals, entertainment, ground transportation and air transportation provided by American Airlines®.

Details and Official Rules will available on through June 30, 2014.

Do you plan to take advantage of these cool summer promotions? 

See The World’s Longest Breakfast Table at Battle Creek’s Cereal Festival

It’s all about breakfast in Battle Creek this June 13th – 14th as the Cereal Festival takes over town. Today, guest blogger Becca Freybler from Calhoun County Visitors Bureau gives us three great reasons to check out this unique festival – including the opportunity to eat at the “World’s Longest Breakfast Table!”

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 9.04.05 PMFor many people, cereal is their breakfast of choice. It is a quick and easy meal that is perfect for anyone too busy to make a traditional “bacon and eggs” breakfast. But then again, cereal has become a traditional breakfast in American culture. We all have a favorite cereal whether it is Frosted Flakes, Rice Krispies, Fruity Pebbles or one of the many other kinds. Each one of us has our “traditional” brand of cereal.

Growing up in Battle Creek, I was surrounded by cereal. It is hard not to be when you live in a city that thrives on the cereal industry. Cereal was invented here and has stayed here since its invention by the Kellogg brothers in 1894. The Kellogg Company, Post and Ralston are still located in the city and on a good day, you can smell the sweet scent of cereal being made.

Every June, Battle Creek hosts the Cereal Festival to celebrate the city’s rich breakfast history. This year’s celebration is June 13 & 14. It is a celebration the city has been hosting on and off for more than 50 years. Here are 3 reasons why you should come to the Battle Creek Cereal Festival:

It has the World’s Longest Breakfast Table

The Cereal Festival started in 1956 as a way to commemorate the Kellogg Company’s 50th year of business. With this, the World’s Longest Breakfast Table was created. The table spread all the way down Michigan Avenue in Downtown Battle Creek. Over 15,000 volunteers served cereal to festival goers.

TonyToday, the tables are not connected but are spread out one-by-one down Michigan Avenue. There are cereal stations set up and down the street with all different kinds of cereals to choose from. Volunteers from Kellogg, Post and Ralston staff each station, along with community members. Visitors can try as many bowls of cereal as they want for free. Cereal, milk, juice and Pop Tarts are served from 8am to 2pm, but get there early for the best selection!

Tony the Tiger makes an appearance

Every year Tony and his character friends, including Toucan Sam and Sugar Bear, always make an appearance. The face of Frosted Flakes is an iconic figure in cereal history and always a kid favorite. Getting your picture with Tony is a festival tradition.

It’s more than just the breakfast

Besides just the breakfast, every year there is a parade the night before, the Cereal City Classic 5k/10k race, local vendors, live music, and a car show.

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 9.04.25 PMThe parade kicks off the festival on Friday at 6pm and goes through the heart of downtown. The Cereal City Classic Race is Saturday morning at 8:15 and uses Battle Creek’s beautiful Linear Path.  Local vendors, live music and the car show keep you entertained after you are finished with your traditional Battle Creek breakfast.

The Cereal Festival is not just a Battle Creek festival. It is young and old celebrating the breakfast that brings people together, it is the three companies coming together to celebrate the food that made them famous, and it is a community celebrating an American tradition.

Come down to Battle Creek and see what the cereal tradition is all about!

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 8.55.38 PMBecca Freybler is the Marketing & Social Media Assistant Manager at the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau.