Thursday, June 11, 2009

Celebrate the Pasty

One of the best things about Northern Michigan is all of the festivals. Every town with a history or a favorite vegetable, fungus or fish has at least one every year. (And what N Mi berg doesn't have something to brag about?) We occasionally point out some of the more notable of these events here.

This month the historic mining town of Calumet salutes the venerable miner's meal with its annual PastyFest. The pasty is, of course, one of the indigenous hallmarks of Upper Peninsula life and well deserves this honor.

As with all good Northern Michigan festivals, there will be a lot going on at PastyFest. The excitement kicks off Friday night with a community service awards ceremony. Saturday features the Pasty Parade, free horse-drawn wagon tours and a pasty bake-off in the park. There will also be most of the normal Michigan festival standards like vendors, artist, crafters, live music, kids games, food and refreshments of all sorts including the star of the show, pasties. PastyFest will be topped off by a Richie Havens concert in the Calumet Theater.

Calumet is a great town to visit. It was established in 1875 and is filled with the history of the UP's mining boom days when then town had more money for civic projects than it knew what to do with. While you are there, be sure to see the historic Calumet Theater. The Theatre opened on March 20, 1900 with a touring Broadway production of Reginald DeKoven's The Highwaymen. All the great stars of the era performed there including Madame Helena Modjeska, Lillian Russell, John Phillip Sousa, Sarah Bernhardt, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Lon Chaney, Sr., Jason Robards, Sr., James O'Neill, William S. Hart, Frank Morgan, Wallace and Noah Beery, and Madame Schumann-Heink, to name a few. Also don't miss the Coppertown USA Mining Museum and the U.P. Fire Fighters Memorial Museum.

Take this opportunity to travel through the Upper Peninsula and celebrate the UP's famous and humble pie by relishing in its history and eating as many pasties as you can.

TRAVEL TIP: If you are going to Calumet for PastyFest, leave soon. Calumet is a long way from wherever you are and the festival takes place on June 26-27.

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