EDITOR’S NOTE: The popular car show on July 30 is Mainstreet Memories. A previous version of this story included a mistype as Mainstreet Memorial.
There will be plenty of opportunities for visitors and residents alike to keep busy with festivities this summer around St. Clair County, but it may be the returning events that have some organizers the most excited.
Marci Fogal, president of the Blue Water Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, pointed to returning mainstays that always fill up downtown Port Huron.
She pointed to Blue Water Cruise Weekend set for June 24-26, as one of several examples. For car enthusiasts, there’s also Marysville’s Hot Wheels Weekend is also set for Aug. 26-27, while the popular Mainstreet Memories Car Show is on July 30 in downtown Port Huron.
Additionally making a return is the Yale Bologna Festival for its 32nd year July 29-31 and the Antique Yard Sale Trail Aug. 12-14.
“I think people during COVID had to deal with being outside, and they’re enjoying it,” Fogal said. “Downtown Port Huron’s going to have concerts all weekend long outdoors. St. Clair’s having concerts almost every day outdoors.”
One thing they were particularly excited about, however, Fogal said, is the return of Blue Water SandFest at Fort Gratiot Light Station County Park after a long hiatus.
SandFest plans taking shape for first time since 2019
When organizers behind SandFest weighed recruiting sculptors and sponsors the last two years, COVID-19 was still raging.
Now, Denise Brooks with Friends of the Fort Gratiot Light, who’s chairing the event this year, said they were much more comfortable moving forward.
“It’s a very unique event. It’s a different kind of festival having the artists but also the live music,” she said Wednesday. “We’re adding a cornhole tournament. We’ve got an amateur tournament, upper competition. Just lots of great things that will be going on all weekend long. It’s not just the sand sculptures, but obviously, those are front and center.”
Blue Water SandFest is set for Aug. 5-7. According to its schedule, sculptors get busy at 9 a.m. each day with contests, lighthouse tours, live music, and lessons and demonstrations set at different points throughout the weekend.
Free parking and trolley services to help transport visitors will be in place, and Brooks said admission will be free for those who work in first responder and education industries. Tickets will otherwise cost $6 each with a three-day pass at $15 and kids ages 4 and under getting in free.
For more information, see the full schedule of activities at Bluewatersandfest.com.
Boat Week mania to take over downtown Port Huron
The event closely associated with the Port Huron to Mackinac Island Sailboat Race kicks off Wednesday, July 13, and ends July 16, which is race day.
According to Blue Water Fest’s website, the festival is once again partnering with Radio First for a two-day concert series.
The annual Boats & Boots from 107 Q Country returns with Dylan Scott, adding to the Boat Night fun, on Friday, July 15, in the West Quay Street lot downtown. There will be a free general admission section at the back of the parking lot, and tickets are already on sale for a VIP space close to the stage.
On Thursday, Puddle of Mudd will perform in the West Quay lot as part of Rock on the Dock. Tickets can be purchased through the McMorran Place box office.
Other traditional events, including Family Night on Thursday with Operation Transformation’s section of activities and the Rotary International Day Parade that Wednesday are also once again on the schedule.
Mannequins Making a Difference, a fundraiser which features ornately dressed models posed downtown, has been held outside Salon Pizazz in the past but will be located near Country Style Marketplace.
According to the sailboat race website at https://bycmack.com, there were 175 applicants to participate in this year’s race, as of Wednesday. The entry deadline is June 12.
Get visual with art shows in local parks
It isn’t just cars, boats, and music that may entertain visitors this summer, as several communities host annual art fairs.
And among the most long-established is the St. Clair Art Association’s event, which is slated for June 25 and 26. This year marks the St. Clair Art Fair’s 51st installment.
Held at Palmer Park along the St. Clair River, it traditionally features more than 100 visual artists, including jewelry, painting, photography, sculptures, woodwork, and more. Visit www.stclairart.org for more.
Dates are set for the 50th annual Algonac Art Fair during Labor Day weekend at Algonac’s Riverfront Park along St. Clair River Drive. According to application information, times are set for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4. Sponsored by the Algonac Art Fair Committee, it’s a traditionally juried event.
Port Huron’s Art on the River is set for 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 10, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, June 11, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 12, at the waterfront Kiefer Park, 500 Merchant St., downtown.
In addition to showcasing booths from a variety of artists, live entertainment will be featured, including an orchestra, a jazz group, and several local rock bands. A dance party is on tap, as well as a variety of food vendors.
Take off with powerboats in St. Clair
The 2022 St. Clair River Classic Offshore Powerboat Race is set for July 28-31 this year. OPA Racing is the sanctioning body.
It is free for spectators to watch the races that weekend along the Palmer Park boardwalk with plenty of other sights to see as racers ready in downtown St. Clair.
Further details were not yet released. For more on the local racing association, visit https://stclairrace.com.
Opportunities to catch live music for free in public spaces on the rise
With the introduction of the new McMorran Plaza in Port Huron and returning outdoor shows on St. Clair’s Riverview Plaza, music for residents and visitors to enjoy is increasingly a featured attraction for local communities.
Musician Branden Pavlov is an early featured performer for several, including the first act scheduled to appear at the start of Music in the Park on Friday in Marine City and at the McMorran Plaza on June 2. A self-described “country, old rock type of guy,” Pavlov said
he’s glad to return to normal with more outdoor entertainment after the uncertainty of the early pandemic.
“I think every musician would say with COVID going on for the last two years, there hasn’t been anything solid to bank on,” Pavlov said. “… There’s a lot going on in the Blue Water Area just in general with the McMorran Plaza. Down on the St. Clair plaza, I’m doing that.”
McMorran’s plaza will have live entertainment in its beer garden or on its main stage every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night from the first weekend in June through August. There’s also live music in downtown Port Huron’s Quay Street and Pocket parks Friday nights. Times do vary, but more information can be found at www.mcmorran.com/plaza.
In Marine City, starting with Pavlov, Music in the Park continues each Friday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. along Water Street. According to MaritimeDays.net/music-in-the-park, acts are scheduled through Aug. 26.
Outdoor music also returns with the Algonac-Clay Music in the Park events from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays at a couple of locations. From June 3 to July 8, shows are scheduled for Algonac Riverfront Park, and at Clay Township Park from July 15 to Aug. 12. A separate series is also being hosted at Harsens Island’s Browne’s Field at 6:30 p.m. on June 17 and July 22 and at 6 p.m. on Sept. 17.
The city of Marysville also annually hosts free concerts at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Marysville City Park. As of this month, the city’s recreation department was promoting Concerts in the Park from June 22 to Aug. 10 on social media.
St. Clair County Board Chairman Jeff Bohm is spearheading the organization of live shows on St. Clair’s plaza for the third year in a row with the local chamber of commerce. Earlier this month, he said that begins Memorial Day weekend with more than 170 shows booked, largely in the evenings, into the fall. Later into the summer, he’s said shows pick up on additional weeknights; formal information hadn’t yet been posted.
Port Huron had also traditionally had live music during Rockin’ the River on Thursdays in August at Kiefer Park.
Contact Jackie Smith at (810) 989-6270 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter Jackie20Smith.
This article originally appeared on Port Huron Times Herald: Variety of events are returning this summer in St. Clair County