CADILLAC — Usually the summer event is known as Day on the Canal, but this year it’s getting a centennial twist.
The Mitchell State Park Centennial Celebration will be held this weekend, said Ben Dietrich, a unit supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources for Mitchell State Park and White Pine Trail.
On May 12, Michigan state parks turned 100 years old. To honor the occasion the DNR is celebrating with numerous events throughout 2019, according to DNR news releases.
For its centennial celebration, Mitchell State Park changed Day on the Canal to this newly named event. Mitchell State Park will host a “time warp‘ and will encourage campers to decorate their campsite with a decade theme they choose.
When campers check into the park they will be given ballots for voting and signs to announce their decade. The decades include pre-1950s, the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
At 5 p.m. on Saturday, ballots will be collected and tallied to determine and announce the winners. People can vote for whatever site they like best, whether it’s because of the decorated camper, how the campers are dressed or for other reasons.
“We’re kind of leaving it up to the camper to be creative with it,‘ Dietrich said.
The majority of events will be on Saturday and a lot is geared toward campers, but there will be fun activities visitors can participate in, he said.
From 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday there will be a “touch the truck‘ event. People can check out DNR equipment, sit in it, take photos and ask questions.
There will be a pellet gun and archery range set up from noon to 3 p.m. and a pet parade will start at 6 p.m. Saturday.
There will also be a raft regatta, where people can build small boats that can be propelled by someone’s breath. It’s very popular with Boy Scouts but might be fun for older teens and adults as well, Dietrich said.
Attending the centennial celebration is free but to enter the park people need a Michigan Recreation Passport. A pass can be purchased at the park for $16.
The DNR encourages people to not only come out for this event but to enjoy events at other state parks.
“It’s just a unique milestone for Michigan,‘ Dietrich said.
An average of 28 million people each year visit Michigan state parks and $26.6 billion is generated by outdoor recreation consumer spending in Michigan.
“A hundred years ago, people in Michigan were rallying to protect the state’s most beautiful outdoor destinations,‘ said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation division chief. “Fast forward through time and you’ll find that generations of residents and visitors have fallen in love with these treasured natural places.‘