Family Fun at Cheeseburger in Caseville

Michigan is home to a ton of festivals year-round, but one of the most unique may just the Cheeseburger in Caseville Festival! Held every August as a tribute to Jimmy Buffett and delicious cheeseburgers, the festival is all about having fun in the sun whether you’re 8 years old or 88! This year’s event is happening now through next Sunday, August 18.

Below, festival chairman Steve Lowers answers on our questions on the annual event.

Q. Can you tell us more about your role in Cheeseburger in Caseville?

A. I have been president of the Caseville Chamber of Commerce for 10 years and am also Chairman of the Cheeseburger Festival.  I am just one of the many volunteers that help to put the festival together and am involved in the overall planning of the event including scheduling the bands and details of events throughout the festival.

Q. The festival is now in its 15th year; are there any new additions?

A. Some of the new events this year include a larger kid’s day and a book signing by “Michigan Killers” author Jonathan Rand. Throughout the festival we have several new kids’ events. We also are bringing back the popular laser light show and have some new bands that will be taking the stages.

Q. Since the festival’s start, it has definitely grown throughout the years. Can you tell us more about the history of the festival?

A. The festival has grown a lot since it all started in 1999. The first year it was only a three day festival and now lasts 10 days. When I took over as Chairman 10 years ago we decided to expand and because three days just wasn’t enough time. The attendance has also jumped each year; the first year of the festival we sold 300 buttons for $3.00 and last year we sold over 10,000 buttons for $10 apiece. Each year thousands descend on our small town for 10 days of fun.

Q. Cheeseburger has won several “Michigan Fun Awards,” what makes the festival so deserving of these awards?

A. We are a really creative bunch! We really enjoy planning the festival and take a lot of pride in the community and the festival. I believe that a group of decision makers is better than one and it shows in the festival.

Q. What other activities can festivalgoers do in Caseville outside of the festival?

A. Caseville has beautiful beaches, great golf courses, lots of campgrounds and some really great shops.

Q. Just for fun, can you tell us what would be on your perfect burger?

A. I really like blue cheese so for me it would have to be one of the black and blue burgers that some of the vendors sell. A black and blue burger is a cajun seasoned burger loaded with blue cheese.

Q. What’s the most surprising thing you have learned or seen working in this event?

A. I’ve learned that there is a fine line between a festival and a party. A festival involves ages 1-100 and a party is for adults, through the years we have prided ourselves on remaining a great festival. Our festival is one of the best and biggest in Michigan because it is so family oriented. That’s why I do it!

Q. Where can you go to learn more about the festival?

A. Visit www.casevillechamber.net, the Caseville Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page or take a listen to the radio show below!

Steve Lowers is the President and Chairman of Caseville Area Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Cheeseburger in Caseville Festival. For more information about events going on across Pure Michigan visit michigan.org/events.

Still Paddling…

Port Austin HarborOn June 13, 2009, I woke up in a tent overlooking Port Austin harbor.  The water was glass and the day was already hot. Twenty five other tents were set up around me.  The park had become a large rustic campground for kayakers from around the Midwest and Canada.  We had all come together for the 2nd Annual Port Austin Kayak Rendezvous in celebration of the Tip of the Thumb Heritage Water Trail

 At 10am, 60-70 of us gathered at the shore with our kayaks.  It was an amazing sight to watch the mass of kayakers paddle out of the harbor heading toward Point Aux Barques.

Point Aux Barques is at the very tip of the thumb.  It has magnificent rock formations, sea stacks and sea caves.  It has been called a mini Pictured Rocks. Boats can’t get to it so it is a perfect kayak destination.  Along the way we told stories and shared paddling experiences.  Once at our destination we paused to enjoy the scenery and share a snack. 

Port Austin Reef LighthouseFrom there some paddlers headed out to the Port Austin Reef Lighthouse.  Others paddled back along the shore.  Some of us were treated to an eagle flying over head and a deer that meandered out of the woods.

 Later that afternoon some kayakers headed out for a short paddle to Broken Rocks.  This is an area where huge boulders were left behind by the glaciers.  Others stayed on shore and watched a kayak safety demonstration.

 That evening most of us went to dinner together at a local restaurant. After dinner, the sunset was amazing and many could not resist one last paddle for the day.  We entertained ourselves throughout the evening with contra dancing and a bon fire followed by a sound night sleep.  It was a perfect day.

Chris Boyle, member and former Vice President of the Tip of the Thumb Heritage Water Trail.   Chris is currently paddling the entire trail compiling an inventory.  He has completed ¾ of the trail as of this date.  He also owns a kayak rental shop in Port Austin that services the trail.

Paddling along…

Tip of the Thumb Heritage Water Trail Extending 110 miles around the geographical Thumb of Michigan, the Tip of the Thumb Heritage Water Trail’s diverse ecosystems and landscapes will satisfy all paddlers and accommodate all skill levels. 

 The west side of the Thumb, from Quanicassee to Sand Point, is a wildlife wonderland.  The shore is mostly undeveloped wetlands, the water is shallow, islands create protected harbors and the bird species are too numerous to name.  In the spring and fall this area is a stop over for migratory waterfowl.

 From Sand Point to Port Austin the shore transforms from wetlands to sandy beaches.  Port Crescent State Park hosts the largest sand dunes on the east side of the State and the tastiest wild blueberries.  The resort towns of Caseville and Port Austin have wonderful restaurants and shops. 

 Rounding the Tip of the Thumb and entering Lake Huron, the landscape dramatically changes to some of the most picturesque rock formations in the Great Lakes.  Receding glaciers left behind huge boulders, cliffs, sea caves and sea stacks.  The shoreline has the feel of a mini Pictured Rocks (but much safer to paddle).    

 The east side of the thumb is rugged, quiet and natural.  It is common to see eagles overhead and deer and raccoons along the shore.  Historical lighthouses in Port Austin, Port Hope and Harbor Beach are an added bonus to the trip. 

 The entire trail is dotted with campgrounds for those that want to paddle for more than a day.  The small towns along the shore are interesting, Tip of the Thumb Heritage Water Trail pic 4fun and hospitable.  In the first weekend of June, the town of Port Austin hosts a kayak festival and transforms its shoreline into a huge rustic campground for paddlers.  Kayakers come from all around the Midwest come to paddle the trail. 

Chris Boyle, member and former Vice President of the Tip of the Thumb Heritage Water Trail.   Chris is currently paddling the entire trail compiling an inventory.  He has completed ¾ of the trail as of this date.  He also owns a kayak rental shop in Port Austin that services the trail.

Great Resources:

http://thumbtrails.com/

http://www.thumbkayak.com/blogger.html

http://www.huroncountyparks.com/

http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=486&type=SPRK

http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?type=SPRK&id=494

http://www.huronnaturecenter.org/