Reviewing the news: Decoration Day at Fort Michilimackinac

May 31, 1924: Forgot to lock door

When Stanley Meggitt went down to his store Friday morning he found five customers lined up along the counters and a delivery man from one of the bakeries filling the bread case with a fresh supply for the day, and in addition on the door was a card which read: “Stanley, I got a package of red brand tobacco and will pay at noon.” It bore no signature and Stanley for a moment was at a loss to know what it all meant, and was wondering if he was doing business with a day and night shift. Further investigation revealed the fact that when he closed Thursday night he left his keys in the door and didn’t even lock it.

The May 30, 1974 edition of the Cheboygan Observer.
The May 30, 1974 edition of the Cheboygan Observer.

May 30, 1974: Fort celebration is splendid success

The Fort Michilimackinac three day celebration during the Decoration Day weekend at Mackinaw City lived up to its reputation as Michigan’s finest pageant festival.

Overflow crowds attended all three days to see the history of Fort Michilimackinac under French and British rule 200 years ago re-enacted by a cast of over 200 from Mackinaw City. The stands were full each day, with big crowds standing at the ends. Such is the appeal of the pageant that people willingly stood for more than an hour to watch the 1715-63 era of the wilderness fort acted out in front of the present day fort that has been built as a facsimile of the original.

General Chairman Kenneth Teysen estimated the three-day attendance at approximately 10,500.

The parade Saturday afternoon drew 44 units from throughout Michigan and Ontario. Parade Chairman Robert Fisher estimated that over 1,000 people took part. The route of 1.3 miles was packed with thousands of spectators. A record crowd watched, despite a chilly day. The Chamber of Commerce said 12,000 people may have watched.

The crowd was well rewarded with a beautiful parade of the outstanding nature people have come to expect of the Fort Michilimackinac parades. It was the biggest and best held in the 12 years of the celebration.

The Mackinaw City celebration parade had its own Miss Fort Michilimackinac Teen Queen Lorri Merchant of Indian River and queens of seven other celebrations. Royalty included queens of the Mackinac Island Lilac Festival, Pellston Pioneer Days, Charlevoix Venetian Parade, Posen Potato Festival, Gaylord Alpenfest, Rogers City Festival, and the Northern Ontario Winter Carnival.

The parade had bands, a pom pom corps, two motorcycle clubs, war veterans with colors and color guards, beautiful floats, bagpipers, marching clubs, drill teams, and cadets. There was a VIP car for State Senator Robert Davis, who chose to walk along and wave to the crowd.

Many beautiful floats were driven in the procession, none of them more outstanding than Mackinaw City’s own, which showed a replica of the fort and the Mackinac Bridge.

The area was well represented by bands, including the Mackinaw City High School band uniformed in newly purchased British army red coat uniforms. Inland Lakes High School had its big well drilled band, and there was the big junior high school band from St. Ignace. A quick count showed 120 members in this band from LaSalle Junior High of St. Ignace. Escanaba had its big Holy Name Junior High School band. The Alpenfest queen was followed by the big Gaylord High School band.

Little children marched and twirled. All-girl organizations performed. A women’s marching unit represented the Petoskey Eagle Auxiliary.

Mackinaw City was represented by its pageant cast of 200 people.

The DNR had a walking Smoky the Bear and a fire fighting truck.

The big muzzle loader force demonstrated their weapons as they paraded by firing frequently into the air.

Age as well as youth was represented. Senior citizens of the Mackinaw City area had a section.

The grand marshal of the parade was Robert Reynolds, sports director of Radio Station WJR Detroit. Mr. Reynolds is immediate past president of the Michigan Tourist Council.

The announcer related that the pageant this year was dedicated to Herman Ellis, long time public relations chairman for the Mackinac Bridge Authority. Mr. Ellis has been seriously ill, but he was able to be present at the pageant Monday.

The pageant was splendidly presented under direction once more of Dr. Robert Stern of Sault Ste. Marie.

This article originally appeared on The Petoskey News-Review: Reviewing the news: Decoration Day at Fort Michilimackinac