2012 was the warmest year on record according to NOAA, the nation's climate monitoring service. The Midwest was also in the grip of a severe drought. Those two factors have led to the lowest water levels in history for Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, which is considered one body of water hydrologically. The impact of the low lake levels on those who live on the Great Lakes is heavy.
Leland Harbor is the heart of a northern Michigan town. The small town is quiet in the winter, but the population jumps ten-fold in the summer when tourists flock to the harbor, beaches and quaint shops. That tourist economy is now in jeopardy because of the dramatic drop in Lake Michigan's water level.
Harbor master Russel Dzuba said the lake is down more than two feet from its average, and that drop is threatening to close the harbor.
“The economic impact this harbor has on the community is strong. And when things are slow, the guy at the grocery store, the guy at the restaurant comes down and asks me what's going on. They want to know,” said Dzuba. “So, it’s an economic punch that we hate to think what happens if we cant keep that channel open.”
The first-ever YetiFest takes place on Saturday, February 16, 2013 in Suttons Bay. The festival and fundraiser benefits Suttons Bay Schools, Suttons Bay Chamber of Commerce, and TART. Here's the schedule:
Yeti-Look Alike Contest ~ 9:00 am Registration starts at the school and continues until 1:00pm, Awards at 2:00 pm
4-4 Hockey Tournament ~ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm @ Corner of Lincoln and Broadway
YetiFest™ Bicycle Hill Climb ~ 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at Bahle Park, Awards at Water Wheel Park 2:00 pm
Abominable Snowman Contest ~ 11:00 am – 1:30 pm @ Water Wheel Park, judging at 2:00 pm
Chili Tasting ~ 11:30 am – 2:00 pm @ Water Wheel Park
Yeti Story Time ~ 12:00 am @ the Suttons Bay Bingham District Library
Kid’s Parade ~ 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm Starting @ the Library, ending in Water Wheel Park
Micro-Brew Tent ~ 11:30 am – 5:00 pm @ Water Wheel Park
Wondering about Leelanau's Yeti connection? Their Sightings pageexplains that:
Some evidence suggests that the Yeti so favored the cherry, or more precisely the Prunus cerasoides commonly known as The Wild Himalayan cherry. This species is a deciduous cherry tree found in East Asia and is a member of the family Rosaceae and the genus Prunus. Its range extends in the Himalayas from Himachal Pradesh in north-central India, to Southwest China and Burma. It grows in the temperate forests from 1,200–2,400 meters (3,900–7,900 ft.) in elevation.
This range interestingly coincides with the 45th parallel in the eastern hemisphere and it here that the hypothesis begins that the Yeti, in search of a vanishing favored food source began increasing their range to find a larger and more sustainable supply.
The Great Lakes, the world's biggest freshwater system, are shrinking because of drought and rising temperatures, a trend that accelerated with this year's almost snowless winter and scorching summer. Water levels have fallen to near-record lows on Lakes Michigan and Huron, while Erie, Ontario and Superior are below their historical averages.
The decline is causing heavy economic losses, with cargo freighters forced to lighten their loads, marinas too shallow for pleasure boats and weeds sprouting on exposed bottomlands, chasing away swimmers and sunbathers.
Some of the greatest suffering is in small tourist towns that lack the economic diversity of bigger port cities. Yet they are last in line for federal money to deepen channels and repair infrastructure to support the boating traffic that keeps them afloat.
Read on for more including how a federal budget crunch is making matters worse.
The holiday excitement starts on Sunday (Nov 18) with the annual Holiday Open House in downtown Suttons Bay. The event runs from 12 – 4 and provides an opportunity to get in the holiday spirit and enjoy the beautiful holiday windows on display. Feel free to bring canned goods or toiletry items to vote for your favorite window - a great way to donate to the LCN Food Pantry. Merchants will offer hors’deuvres and refreshments to add to the festive spirit!
Suttons Bay Holiday Festival
The weekend of November 30 - December 2nd is packed with activities. On Friday night there will be a Holiday Stroll from 5 - 8 PM featuring hundreds of luminaries lining the street as carolers stroll throughout the village. Restaurants will be offering specials and stores will feature drawings and refreshments.
Saturday is Family Day. Santa arrives by fire truck at 5pm to light the big village Christmas Tree, but before that there are a lot of fun activities for the kids. Inland Seas will host youngsters to make Christmas cards for Tendercare residents and also have hands-on science activities. The Bay will feature a family friendly $1 movie at 1 PM. Gather at the tree at 5pm to sing carols with the Suttons Bay High School Band until Santa arrives. Then follow Santa to The Village Inn to share your holiday wishes.
On Sunday Antlers & Elves make their annual appearance at Enerdyne and Brainstorm. You can also enjoy the holiday Christmas Concert at Suttons Bay Congregational Church at 3pm and indulge your sweet tooth at the Cookie Extravaganza at the Friendship center from 1 – 4pm. This will also be the last day to cast your vote for your favorite holiday window.
The Suttons Bay Holiday Festival is sponsored by the Suttons Bay Chamber of Commerce, but supported by a variety of organizations: Village of Suttons Bay, Village of Suttons Bay Fire Department, By the Bay Garden Club, Inland Seas, The Bay Theater, SBHS Marching Band and the SB School Choirs.
The inaugural Suttons Bay YetiFest is planned for February 16, 2013.
The event will take place regardless of weather conditions and will include a bicycle hill climb competition, chili cook-off, microbrew tent, live music, an Abominable Snowman contest, a snowmobile Concours d’Elegance and a Yeti look-alike (best beard) contest.
The event will benefit Suttons Bay Schools, the Suttons Bay Chamber of Commerce and TART Trails. Stay tuned for details!
Kristin Morris of the Grand Traverse Insider has a nice roundup of Halloween events in Leelanau County in A Scream in the Night. Some highlights:
The Grand Traverse Lighthouse will have a Ghost Walk on Saturday, Oct. 27. Register for a tour and learn the stories of the people who once lived, and died there. The cost is $10 per person, and attendees must register in advance by calling 231-386-7195.
Northport will serve hot dogs and brats in the village parking lot from 4-6 PM on Halloween (Wednesday, Oct. 31) with Trick or Treating in the village from 5-8 PM and Halloween treats and games Northport Public School.
Gill's Pier invites you to their Haunted Corn Maze on the weekend before Halloween. Hours are 11 AM - 10 PM on Friday and Saturday and you can get all the details right here.
Black Star Farms is also getting in the spirit of the season with their Haunted Hayrides featuring the Traverse City West High School Thespian Society from 7-9:30 p.m. on October 26, 27, and 28.
Jacob’s Corn Maze runs through Oct. 28 and features three separate mazes. Hours are Sundays from noon to 7 p.m.; Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
There's also a pretty cool 21-up event at the Historic Barns at the Grand Traverse Commons called TC Fright Night that features entertainment from DJ JR, the Bayside Bombshells, a one-of-a-kind interactive Zombie Chase and screenings of the locally produced horror film: Dogman. 100% of the proceeds will go to the restoration of the Historic Barns Park and The Botanic Gardens, and you can see more in the video below.
Head over to the village of Suttons Bay this Friday (October 19) from 5-8 PM for their annual Fall Art & Wine Walk. Participating shops will be open and you have a chance to meet award-winning local artists, sample Leelanau County wines and collect stamps to enter to win a $250.00 Village Shopping Spree!