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. 

Michigan’s Seven Best Paddling Trips

Guest blogger Jennifer Hamilton of the Awesome Mitten shares seven of the best destinations for paddling in Michigan. Read from her below and find more places to visit on michigan.org.

Summer may be rapidly coming to a close, but there is still plenty of time for a kayak trip in one of Michigan’s famous bodies of water. Whether you are seeking lakes or rivers, I have had the pleasure of polling fellow Awesome Mitten writers and compiling a list of Michigan’s favorite waterways.

1) Onekama to Arcadia via Lake Michigan – This is probably one of the most peaceful waterway treks in our Great Lakes State. Travelers have the opportunity to view Arcadia Bluffs from the water as they paddle by and scope out potential golfing opportunities. Since this area is part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, there are great dune adventures to have at almost every point along the way if you want to stop and picnic.

2) The Backwaters at Tippy Dam – The Backwaters at Tippy Dam are for the adventurous hoping to catch a glimpse of wildlife. Great fishing is available here if you are seeking walleye or small-mouthed bass. Experienced fishermen say that the panfish are abundant as well. Due to the wooded surroundings, there is a good chance that visitors will spot at least one eagle during their adventure. The peacefulness of these Backwaters is great for an escape from civilization and to truly get a Northern Michigan experience.

3) Canals of Detroit – While Detroit may not be the first place you think of to enjoy a water-filled experience; one particular Awesome Mitten-er offers a unique perspective on its waterways. Ms. Joanna Dueweke swears by touring Detroit’s canals via kayak or stand-up paddleboard. It’s a great way to enjoy the historical buildings and homes from a completely different point of view than the general public. Some of the best and most convenient places to launch are at Alter Road, St. Jean, or Belle Isle.

Turnip Rock, photographed by Lars Jensen

4) Turnip Rock Port Austin – If you have not had the pleasure of experiencing Turnip Rock via Lake Huron, I insist that you head there immediately. This enormous rock received its turnip connotation from thousands of years of erosion from storm waves. Now, it is an island with a few trees and little other vegetation. The land nearby is all privately owned, so the only way to view it is by waterway or trekking across a frozen Lake Huron in the winter. It is quite the comedic, awe-inspiring landmark, located at the tip of Michigan’s thumb.

5) The Platte River – The Platte River is a personal favorite and though it may not be a secret, it is worth a mention to remind you to traverse its calm, strangely warm waters. The Platte is a great place to take families as it is easy to navigate and always warm enough to tube if kayaks are not readily available. As part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, it is no surprise that the Platte River is absolutely stunning. Its ending pours out into Lake Michigan with a mini peninsula jutting out between the two, dividing the playful river and the wild waves.

6) Huron River near Ann Arbor – This is the only state-designated Country Scenic Natural River in Southeast Michigan. It is a huge river that covers five counties, with each portion being strikingly worthwhile. During various portions of the river, floaters can expect to come across an abundance of dams; there are 96 total, to be exact. Many of these dams were built for mill or hydroelectric power, making them fairly large. Due to the size of these dams, many new lakes have formed along the Huron River, making for exciting sites to see almost every portion of the way.

7) Two Hearted River, Eastern Upper Peninsula – Any river that has a beer named after it clearly needs to be traversed. It is a fairly short river that empties into Lake Superior, and it does a great job of capturing the Upper Peninsula’s natural beauty. At the mouth of the river, travelers can see a Michigan Historic Marker; formally known as the Two-Hearted Life Saving Station, which then became part of the United States Coast Guard in 1915. The Two-Hearted River is exceptionally famous for a great place to leisurely fish, probably while enjoying a nice Two-Hearted Ale from Bell’s Brewery.

Jennifer Hamilton is a feature writer for The Awesome Mitten. Jennifer lives in Traverse City where she works for Addiction Treatment Services and is earning her Master of Social Work and Master of Arts in Alcohol and Drug Addiction.

Do you have a favorite Michigan paddling trip that’s not on the list? Share with us below!

Kick Off Fall with These September 2016 Events

It’s almost the month of September which means the transition from balmy summer into crisp, cool fall. It’s the perfect time to explore Pure Michigan. From the long-running Peach Festival to walking through Cranbrook Gardens, there is a multitude of unique, can’t-miss events happening around the state.

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

September 1-8

Michigan Peach FestivalMichigan Peach Festival
September 1-5, Romeo

An end-of-summer party that features races, parades, family events, music, food and the (most anticipated) coronation of the year’s Peach Queen. Get a taste of peach-packed goodies as you soak in the scenery, and attend family events like parades, cruises, craft shows and races throughout Labor Day weekend.  The Michigan Peach Festival of Romeo started in 1931, making it the second oldest festival in the state. The young Village President, Edward E. Jacob along with the orchards in the area felt the need to promote the economic growth of the area.

Evart Car Club Cruise
September 2, Evart

The Evart Car Club, Car Cruise, is open to anyone who wants to show their car while traveling in a group. The cruise is typically under 25 miles round trip and attempts to follow paved routes. Cars assemble at the Evart industrial park, located west of Evart on US10 at 4:30pm to sign-in. The cruise begins after 5:00pm and returns to the Moose Lodge on the east side of Evart on US10 by approximately 7:30pm. Participants in the cruise can also register for participation in the Evart Car Show the following day, Saturday, September 3rd.

Labor Day Weekend Arts & Crafts ShowLabor Day Arts and Crafts Show
September 3-4, Tawas City

Don’t miss the last arts and crafts show of the summer! Held on the Saturday and Sunday before Labor Day, this year’s show will be bigger than ever. Vendors will be set up in beautiful Shoreline Park in Tawas City, offering 130 booths of beautiful, hand-made arts and crafts. The show will feature items for sale as diverse as leather goods, yard art, furniture, home decor items, clothes, doll accessories, lotions, paintings, photography, jewelry, rugs, and food items like salsa, fudge, spices, nuts and kettle corn.

Mighty Mac Swim
September 5, Mackinaw City

The Mighty Mac Swim is an epic annual Labor Day race across the Straits of Mackinac between Michigan’s peninsulas, alongside the iconic Mackinac Bridge, which is both challenging and awe-inspiring. Sanctioned by the World Open Water Swimming Association, and members of both the World Open Water Swimming Series (WOWSS) and the Global Swim Series (GSS), the Mighty Mac Swim has been placed prominently on the world stage!

Named the “Michigan Open Water Championship,” the Mighty Mac Swim awards $20,000 to both the overall male and female winners!

Evening with Insectsevening with insects
September 8, Midland

“What’s that bug?” is a common question when experiencing the outdoors. With over 90,000 insects in North American alone, the answer is not always an easy one. Join Interpretive Naturalist Michelle Fournier to take a closer look at the diversity of CNC’s six-legged animals. Spend most of your time outdoors, netting insects and learning how to identify what you find. With the right resources at hand, you’ll see you don’t need an entomology degree to discover the incredible world of insects.

September 9-15

Downtown Traverse City Art WalkDowntown Traverse City Art Walk
September 9, Traverse City

A local favorite, this exhibition of local art is a self-guided tour through Downtown Traverse City with refreshments, food and music.

Port Huron Hobo Fest 2016
September 9-10, Port Huron

The Port Huron and Detroit Railroad Historical Society celebrates Port Huron’s history as a vital international transport center, the city’s struggle to overcome the economic depression and the courage and resourcefulness of those that rode the rails seeking work and adventure.

Wine and Harvest Festival
September 9-11, Paw Paw

Head to the Wine and Harvest Festival in Paw Paw Michigan. There will be events such as live music and wine and beer tasting with breweries and wineries from all over the area. There will also be a parade, a grape stomp, classic car show and a carnival.

Frankenmuth Oktoberfest
September 15-18, Frankenmuth

A German festival with a large wooden dance floor. good food, drinks and souvenirs. Located in the Harvey Kern Pavilion in Heritage Park.

Cranbrook & Friends Garden Walk 2016

Cranbrook & Friends Garden Walk 2016
September 10, Bloomfield Hills

Discover four private gardens in the Bloomfield Hills area and the beloved Cranbrook Gardens! Highlights of this year’s Garden Walk include a city garden, gardens on large lots, ponds and a surprise feature in one garden that children will surely enjoy!

September 16-22

Paddle Antrim FestivalPaddle Antrim Festival
September 16-17, Bellaire

The Paddle Antrim Festival celebrates the waterways and communities of Northern Michigan. This amazing experience includes a two-day paddle through Northern Michigan’s Chain of Lakes and many wonderful events hosted by the local communities. This diverse paddle includes smaller lakes, rivers and larger lakes including the turquoise waters of Torch Lake.

Choose your paddling adventure. While the entire route is 42 miles, each day there are dropout points every 4-7 miles so you can choose the best day of paddling for you. For some it may only be 7 miles the first day while for others it may be all 42 miles over two days. We encourage everyone to choose the best paddling experience for them. Come join us and experience Northern Michigan’s pristine waters!

Camp Kitigin
September 16-18, West Branch

Disconnect from the pressures of life, reconnect with nature and discover your inner child with a screen-free weekend up north, filled with old-school fun and friendship. That means no smartphones, no tablets, no laptops, no wi-fi. (With exceptions for emergencies or after-dinner family check-ins if needed.) We will instead provide participants with journals and disposable cameras to get back to the way we used to experience recreation!

Tulip City Gem & Mineral ShowFondo con guijarros
September 16-18, Holland

Head to the 47th Annual Rock and Mineral Show! Check out some common, strange, different and precious things we have found: dealers, fossils, minerals, exhibits, jewelry, gems, rocks, beads, club sales, artisan market, silent auction, kid’s games, Petoskey polish, fluorescent tent, lapidary demonstrations and new friends!

Michigan Adventure Race: Sleeping Bear Edition
September 17, Glen Arbor

An amazing race in the most amazing place. Experience the grandeur of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Explore Lake Michigan, dunes, historic barns, deep forests and beautiful inland lakes on foot, bike and canoe/kayak.

Model A DayModel Day
September 17, Hickory Corners

The Model A Ford Museum, the world’s largest museum dedicated solely to the Model A, is the perfect destination this summer.

Hop in your Model A and head out to the Gilmore Car Museum for the 4th annual Ford Model A Day and celebrate the heritage of a trusty American car with friends and family. Special events throughout the day will include a swap meet, a Model A Hall of Fame induction, special seminars and more! Bring your Model A or come as a spectator, this show and swap meet will be sure to please as hundreds of Model As gather in Hickory Corners, Michigan on the Gilmore’s Historic Campus. And, don’t miss this year’s special feature, the “Around the World” Coupe!

September 22-30

Fall Duplicate Bridge Event
September 20-22, Harbor Springs

The spring event has become so much fun, we are duplicating it in the fall! Join in for the “Fall Birchwood Inn Bridge Event” hosted by Jayne Paquette, a wonderful director and instructor. The emphasis is on fun, but the competition is real at this ABCL sanctioned event. To this, there is great food and comfortable surroundings added for a fantastic bridge event.

Downtown Divas at DuskDowntown Divas At Dusk
September 22, Tecumseh

Downtown Tecumseh is the place to be for Downtown Divas at Dusk. During the fall on this special evening downtown, merchant will open their doors and offer special promotions, refreshments and many diva delights for your pleasure. Grab that hot pink boa or bust out your fancy diva attire and come join the fun! Many “diva delights” will be featured during this shop ’til you drop event. It’s a great night full of fun and laughter with the special women in your life.

American Sewing Expo
September 23-25, Novi

Sewing, fashion, cosplay and quilting featuring apparel and costume designers, art quilt makers and teaching professionals at classes, seminars, workshops and exhibits. Mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, beginners and experts will experience ‘sew’ much creativity at the free hands-on projects, demonstrations, crafter do-it-yourself programs and live sewing challenge competitions. Featured celebrities and show instructors include couturier fashion designer, Threads contributing editor and author Kenneth King; sewing, embroidery and embellishment expert Hope Yoder; cosplay designer and author Kristie Good; Simplicity Patterns costume pattern designer Andrea Schewe; and fashion sewing expert from “It’s Sew Easy TV” Angela Wolf.

Acme Fall FestivalAcme Fall Festival
September 24, Williamsburg

This annual fall festival features a farmers market, bake sale, craft show, silent auction, pony rides, a car and tractor show, food tent and more!

Sault International Festival of Races
September 24, Sault Sainte Marie

Join up to 500 runners as part of the Sault International Festival of Races (formerly the Sault International Marathon)! Now in its seventh year, the Sault International Festival of Races provides runners with a unique opportunity to run the Sault Ste Marie International Bridge and run alongside the St. Marys River all set against the backdrop of beautiful fall foliage and cool U.P. temperatures

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