10 Fun Facts About Michigan International Speedway

Photo courtesy of Craig Gardiner Photography

Photo courtesy of Craig Gardiner Photography

Pure Michigan 400 race week is here! More than 100,000 fans will be at Michigan International Speedway to cheer on their favorite drivers as they race around NASCAR’s fastest track on August 28th.

Think you know NASCAR? Test your knowledge with these lesser known facts about Michigan International Speedway

1. The 40 trams used at MIS that bring fans from the parking lots to the track were the same trams used at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

2. Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson is the honorary president of the MIS Kids Club! He even holds special events at the track.

3. There are 9,000 campsites at MIS – making it the largest registered campground in the State of Michigan.

4. Jeff Gordon currently holds the track qualifying record at MIS, being recorded at 206.558 mph in 2014.

5. Cale Yarborough is the driver who has led the most laps at MIS in the track’s history. In his career, Yarborough led for an astounding 1308 laps when racing at MIS.

6. Parking is always free! Guests can also bring in their own food and beverages, and parking lots open two hours before the grandstand so there is plenty of time for tailgating.

7. MIS is NASCAR’s fastest racetrack! MIS is superfast due to the repave in 2012 and long straightaways on the track that let drivers reach their highest speeds.

8. People have gotten married at the track before, but did you know that Roger Curtis presided over the wedding? It’s true! Roger Curtis, the president of MIS is an ordained minister and married a happy couple in Gatorade Victory Lane on June 17, 2012.

9. David Pearson has won the most Cup poles at MIS with 10. Who will take the pole this year?

10. MIS is the only racetrack where a fan awards a special trophy to the winning driver and team. It’s part of MIS’s Fan Appreciation Program.

Plan a visit to MIS and other Michigan automotive attractions at michigan.org. Follow the race on Twitter at #PureMichigan400. 

Nine Things You Might Not Have Known About The Soo Locks

Engineer’s Weekend in Sault Ste. Marie is the last Friday in June. There’s something for everyone, historic open houses, spectacular vistas and the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the great Soo Locks

Check out these nine interesting facts about the Soo Locks to inspire your visit from Sault Ste. Marie Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

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

Photo courtesy of 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. Marys 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 a motor and 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, in at 1013 feet 6 inches 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. Marys 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! Can’t make it that one day of the year? You can visit the Soo Locks Park anytime between late March and Mid-January to see the freighters go through the locks.

Engineer’s Day is always the last Friday in June, which falls on the 30th in 2017. See what Engineer’s Weekend is all about in the video below.

 

Have you been to the Soo Locks? Tell us about your experience!

5 Reasons to Visit Frankenmuth This Summer

If you’re looking for family fun with a German twist, look no further than the Christmas town of Frankenmuth. Between water parks, small-town strolls and the world’s largest Christmas store, there’s so much to do in Michigan’s Little Bavaria.

Read more on five reasons to visit Frankenmuth this summer, courtesy of the Frankenmuth Convention and Visitors Bureau.

1. Outdoor adventure awaits you!

Frankenmuth has long been known for chicken and Christmas, and while we still have those things (see numbers 3 and 4), there’s also many opportunities for outdoor adventure, you just have to know where to find it. Zip line through the trees at Frankenmuth Adventure Park on a zip line & ropes course and then hit the water. Frankenmuth Outfitters offers kayak and paddleboard rentals right out of Heritage Park. Paddle along the scenic Cass River and take in the sights. If riding sounds more appealing, try the Bavarian Belle Riverboat cruise, a 150 passenger traditional paddlewheel style boat, or for a more intimate setting, sip wine and taste handmade chocolates on the Frankenmuth FunShips.

The Frankenmuth Adventure Park offers many fun and active challenges

Photo Courtesy of the Frankenmuth Convention and Visitors Bureau

2.Unique & Local Shopping

Summer is the perfect time to shop in Frankenmuth. Revel in the charming setting of the River Place Shops, with over 40 unique boutique style shops, located in the heart of downtown. Take in the Bavarian architecture, enjoy a wine tasting or sample homemade mouth-watering fudge. Be sure to wander up and down Main Street to take in the beautiful flowers spilling over from every hanging plant and garden while stopping in at the one of a kind stores.

3. Christmas in July… And All Year Round

Arguably one of the most popular U.S. holidays, skipping a trip to Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, the world’s largest Christmas store, would be unheard of. Definitely plan on spending a couple hours there, and as founder Wally Bronner would say, “It’s free to enter, it may not be free to leave.”

Bronner's is a Christmas paradise all year-long

Photo Courtesy of Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland

4. Family Style Chicken Dinners

There is no way a top five list would be complete without including the world famous, all-you-can-eat chicken dinners from Bavarian Inn and Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth. There is a reason why hundreds of thousands of people visit there each year.

World-famous chicken dinners can be found at Frankenmuth's Bavarian Inn

Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler, Promote Michigan

5. #SeeFrankenmuth Photo Contest

We love seeing how our visitors discover Frankenmuth through photography. Now through July 31st, hashtag your Frankenmuth photos with #SeeFrankenmuth for a chance to win $100 in Frankenmuth Money or the Grand Prize of a two-night stay at the hotel of your choice* and $200 in Frankenmuth Money. There’s no better time to take a vacation to Frankenmuth. Click here for full contest details.

Now that you’re ready to visit Frankenmuth, be sure to visit Frankenmuth.org and try out the handy trip planner. It allows you to easily plan your trip and share your itinerary with the lucky friends and family you choose to bring.

Don't miss the chance to enter the #SeeFrankenmuth Photo Contest

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @trever_west

We cant wait to see you this summer in Michigan’s Little Bavaria!

What do you love most about Frankenmuth? Share with us by commenting below!