COVID-19 cancels Michigan’s largest free festival

Jillian Felton / Michigan State UniversityThe Lapeer Days website sharing that the event has been cancelled due to COVID-19. The aromas from vendors that travel from all over the country and crowds filled with people that come from near and far won’t be present in Lapeer this year. 

Michigan’s largest free festival since 1902, Lapeer Days, will not be happening this year because of COVID-19. Neda Payne, director of the Lapeer Chamber of Commerce, said that everything for the event is run through the chamber office. There is a committee of about 25 people, and everyone handles a different aspect of the festival. Payne said that the festival  fortifies the economy in Lapeer County and estimates the event brings in 300-400 thousand dollars each year. 

“Our hotels are always full, the restaurants in the downtown area are very busy, the gas stations usually are making a ton of money,” Payne said.

New book explores long history of organized crime activity in Northen Michigan

Northern Michigan – land of hunters and resorters, anglers and campers, sightseers and birders. But also land of mobsters, gamblers, gun molls and booze smugglers? From“Scarface” Al Capone to the UP’s own Public Enemy #1, John “Red” Hamilton, the state’s Up North has historic ties to organized crime and the baddies who used the area as a Prohibition Era playground far from their normal haunts in Chicago, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland and elsewhere. We talk to the Mount Pleasant-raised author of the new book “Gangsters Up North: Mobsters, Mafia and Racketeers in Michigan’s Vacationlands.” By Eric Freedman.

Northern Michigan’s food gurus

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Eastern Market implements new guidelines, business models to cater to the health, safety of guests

Courtesy of Samuel MorykwasShoppers attend the Flower Day Market in Eastern Market

Eastern Market has been one of Detroit, Michigan’s most prominent tourist destinations for over 150 years. With the COVID-19 pandemic going on, the market has remained open, but with new safety measures implemented. Sam Morykwas, marketing manager for Eastern Market, explained that Eastern Market wanted to ensure the safety of its guests and to make sure that they were complying with the state and city’s safety initiatives. Eastern Market uses several safety measures to limit face-to-face interactions and to keep the vendors and guests safe. These measures include sanitizing services and handwashing stations for the staff and guests, a taped 6-by-6-foot grid for a visual guide to help maintain social distancing, no longer allowing sampling from vendors, contact-free payments, additional signs to encourage people to distance themselves, required masks upon entry, temporary fencing around the market and a north and south entry point into the shed to regulate the flow of traffic.

Environment agency Zooms you outdoors

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Gloom, doom and ruin draw visitors to Detroit, study says

It’s the lure of gloom, not glitz. It’s the appeal of decay, not resurrection. It’s the enchantment of failure, not success. It’s a ruin tour of Detroit, a type of “dark” tourism that draws visitors to the city. While some abandoned buildings await the wrecking ball, others such as the Michigan Central Station are being reborn. We talk to a researcher, who grew up in Grand Rapids, who has studied the phenomenon, and two tour operators who say abandoned buildings should be placed in the context of the city’s culture and social and industrial history. By Eric Freedman.

Abandoned mines aplenty, but cash to clean, close them, scarcer

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Leelanau County airport seeks historic designation

The push to secure state historic site designation for the Clinton F. Woolsey Memorial Airport in Northport is advancing. The former dairy farm is named for a famed local aviator who died in a plane crash and who numbered Charles Lindbergh among his students. The airport manager, Michigan History Center director and head of the Historical Society of Michigan explain. By Joe Dandron.