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Engineer’s Weekend in Sault Ste. Marie

“What was your favorite part of our vacation?”

That question floats easily off the tongue toward anyone with whom I’ve traveled near or far. Secretly – I only ask it so they’ll ask me in return! I’m chomping at the bit to relive every minute and the most memorable vacations….those are the one’s when you cannot decide which part was the best.

Engineer’s Weekend in Sault Ste. Marie is like that.

Starting on the last Friday in June, you find yourself moving from one great event to the next, starting with Engineer’s Day at world-famous Soo Locks. It’s pretty remarkable to stand on a lock gate at the Soo Locks and stare a massive freighter in the nose. To wander the inner sanctum of this engineering wonder is an opportunity that happens only one day a year and worth the wait!

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There are interesting displays and booths inside the park, vendors set up nearby, and great shops and restaurants just across the street. We like to park the car and leave it while we explore. Oh…and we always make time for this!

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But there are more things to see and do and it’s time to move less than a mile up Portage Avenue to tour the Cloverland Hydro-Electric Plant, opened in 1902 and still providing power to part of Sault Ste. Marie today. It’s a stunning beauty from the outside, but simply fascinating inside to see how they turn water into power.

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Can you believe that’s all on Friday alone? Come Saturday, we’ve tied our shoes, charged our camera batteries and are ready to beat feet across the border for the International Bridge Walk. Stretching from Michigan to Canada and passing high over the Soo Locks, the event is fun, picturesque and, in truth, a pretty easy walk.

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The whole town is hopping during Engineer’s Weekend. We sampled Upper Peninsula maple syrup, watched the kids bounce to their heart’s content, and bought a few souvenirs at Fridays’ Arts, Crafts, and Family Fun Day. On Saturday, after the bridge walk, we cheered tugboats as they raced up and down the river.

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We also made time for museum visits, brewery samples, casino action, and dipping our toes in the St. Marys River. It’s no wonder I can never choose the best part of Engineer’s Weekend! I guess we’ll just have to try again this June and see what tops the list.

Can you pick your favorite?

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Don’t Lose That Pullar Feeling

We’re pleased to share that Saturday April 18, 2015 the Pullar Stadium moved on to Phase II ofHockeytown photo the Kraft Hockeyville USA contest! The Hockeyville prize of $150,000 for the stadium and the chance to host a preseason NHL game on home ice would be an enormous boost for the Sault Ste. Marie community, but the Kraft Hockeyville title would look really good next to our existing title of Hockey Town USA. Please Vote Pullar!

The Kraft Hockeyville USA contest asked individuals to submit a 2,500 character essay that would be judged on passion for hockey, community spirit, and creativity. Over 16,000 essays nominated more than 1,100 hockey arenas in the United States and 1 amongst all that those essays made the Pullar Stadium a top 10 finalist.

With the overwhelming support of the community, Michigan residence, and fantastic people all over the USA the Pullar was voted to a top 4 finalist position after Phase I voting. Be a part of the Phase II excitement and vote April 21-22, 2015 to help secure a top 2 position for the Pullar Stadium in Phase III voting April 27-29. We know! SO MUCH VOTING, but so worth it and your support is truly appreciated and does make a difference! Please vote here.

Local business owner Ron Maleport poured his hockey heart and soul into his winning essay, which you can read below.

PULLAR STADIUM – AN ICE RINK RICH IN HISTORY GIVING THAT “PULLAR FEELING”

by Ronald Maleport

Pullar Stadium in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan was constructed in 1939 and is one of the oldest artificial ice rinks in the U.S. still in operation. The Pullar has always been known for having excellent hard and fast ice. 2014 was the 75th Anniversary of the rink and the community of Sault Ste. Marie has begun a Building Renovation Project to preserve what I call, the “Pullar Feeling” for decades to come. The “Pullar Feeling” to me is that when I walk into the ice rink it feels as familiar as home.

Over the years, the Pullar Stadium has always been the community hub for hockey, figure Photo Shop SKMBT_C22015041307490 1skating, dances, public skating, fishing tournament banquets, the place to see the Circus when it came to town, and much more. It is currently the home ice for the Sault Area High School Blue Devils Hockey Team and the Soo Eagles Jr. “A” Hockey Team. In the past, it has been the home ice of Lake Superior State University’s (Division 1) Laker Hockey Team, the Soo Indians Jr. “B” Hockey Team, and the Detroit Red Wings training camp ice from 1948-1958. Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan is the original “Hockey Town USA”. I remember the Pullar Stadium being adorned with “Hockey Town USA” banners in the 1960’s.

Photo shop SKMBT_C22015041307490 1_edited-1Many a hockey player or figure skater has spent their formative years learning on the ice of the Pullar Stadium. I myself starting playing hockey at the Pullar in the 1960’s and continue to play in a Men’s Hockey League there to this day. I got to meet Gordie Howe and get his autograph sometime in the 1960’s when the Red Wings came to the Sault (pronounced “Sue”) Pullar Stadium. I have many fond memories watching my son practice and play hockey along with my daughter learning to figure skate at the Pullar.

The rink is a great asset to our community and families. It holds great memories for so many SKMBT_C22015041307470community members who watched their children/grandchildren skate for the first time, score their first goal, or adorn a special costume and take to the ice for the Annual Hiawatha Skating Club Figure Skating Revue. The Pullar Stadium has made many people proud of their accomplishments or the accomplishments of their loved ones. The Pullar Stadium has always been a place for people to gather and enjoy a good hockey game. These are the reasons why the Pullar Stadium is loved by the community and community members are giving to preserve that “Pullar Feeling” for a stadium rich in community history. What better ice stadium to have a preseason NHL game in other than the Pullar Stadium?

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Pullar Stadium named Hockeyville finalist. Get ready to vote!

For more than 75 years, hockey players in Michigan have heralded Sault Ste. Marie’s Pullar after Pullar game full stands Hockeyville editStadium as a standout ice arena. Today, officials at Kraft Hockeyville USA took that recognition national by selecting the Pullar as one of only 10 finalists in their first contest in the United States.

The Pullar was selected based on an essay submitted by Ron Maleport and was one of 55 total essays submitted via the contest website. The winning arena will receive $150,000 in prize money and the honor of hosting a pre-season NHL game. The Pullar was the only arena in Michigan selected as a finalist.

10 Manny RoomSelected by a panel of judges, the top 10 arenas now face off with only the power of the fan vote to carry them to the next round. That’s when interested individuals can show their support for the Pullar.

Voting is a three-stage affair. The first voting phase runs from April 14-16, 2015, when each eligible voter can vote 50 times per method per day. The three methods are by website, text message and phone – essentially giving each voter 150 votes per day. To be eligible, voters must reside in the United States and be at least 13 years old.

If the Pullar receives enough votes to put it in the top four during this initial phase, it will movePullar Hockeyville Blue Devils Pink in the Rink on to the next voting stage, which is held April 21-22. Two finalists from that voting period will then move to the final phase, where the highest vote getter takes home the prize.

To vote please click here. To read the winning essay please click here.

Essays from the top 10 finalists as well as all rules related to voting can be found at www.krafthockeyville.com

GLM Block Hockeyville 8 Bill and Ron“The community showed tremendous support and spirit during the submission phase.  But our work has only begun and we need your continued help and votes to keep the Pullar in the contest,” said Linda Hoath, executive director of the Sault Ste. Marie Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“In addition to daily voting, we encourage everyone to share this information with friends and family all over Michigan and the United States. We are certain that generations of hockey players who have moved away from the area will still want to support the Pullar and, by extension, Sault Ste. Marie,” Hoath added.

Anyone needing additional information regarding voting is invited to call the Sault CVB at (906) 632-3366.

For more information about the Pullar Stadium please click here.

New Year’s Eve in Sault Ste. Marie

Ring in 2015 in Sault Ste. Marie and your biggest dilemmas will be figuring out what to do first and where to be at midnight.

You could start with a great, hand-crafted beer made locally at Soo Brewing Company. Ray and his team will have 9 different beers on tap, as well as Chuggs keg-conditioned Root Beer. The Brewery is planning some special events for the last hours of 2014 and will be open to ring in the New Year.

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At 8pm, let your competitive spirit take over and join the walk-in bowling tournament at Dondee Lanes. There’ll also be live music in the bar, a lasagna dinner to delight the taste buds and plenty of opportunity to dance, bowl, and have a great night.

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Kewadin Casino hosts an annual New Year’s Eve party, filled with live music, light hors d’oeuvres and a balloon drop at midnight. There is no cover charge for the party and you’re always just a stone’s throw (or better yet, a dice throw) away from casino gaming action.

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There are also a variety of eateries and taverns located in downtown Sault Ste. Marie and the broader Soo area. But did you know the community also has local taxi services and plenty of lodging options?  Visit us and you can celebrate safely and then wake up in Sault Ste. Marie in 2015.

No matter what your plans, make sure to put Sault Ste. Marie on your 2015 vacation calendar and have a Happy New Year!

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Give the Gift of Sault Ste. Marie

 

Struggling to find just the right gift for someone you love? Santa knows that a trip to Sault Ste. Marie is a hit with both the guys and the gals. Let us show you how.

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Lucky guys know that planning a surprise vacation to play in the snow will be a Christmas home run. Make all the arrangements and wrap the details up in a box with cute hats, mittens and other winter accessories she’ll love!

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Or maybe a new pair of cross-country skis will find their way under the Christmas tree? With the beautifully-groomed trails of Algonquin Ski Trails, enjoy the beautiful north woods together while getting some fresh air and exercise worthy of your New Year’s resolution!

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Ladies can plan a winter escape, too. Maybe your guy is looking for a place to try out his new snowboard at Sault Seal Recreation Area?

 

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You can also plan your winter escape around the granddaddy of all snowmobile races – the International 500 – held on the first Saturday in February. Enjoy your choice of outdoor activities during the same trip where you watch speed demons make a run for prize money and bragging rights.

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Sault Ste. Marie isn’t just for couples. Families find plenty to do during a winter trip to Sault Ste. Marie, including tubing at Sault Seal Recreation Area, hockey action at LSSU, ice skating at local rinks, and just generally playing in the snow.

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This year, make Santa proud and bypass the ugly ties, the ho-hum slippers and give the perfect gift – a winter getaway to Sault Ste. Marie! It’s the perfect start to your New Year!

 

Santa & Smiling Baby at Iroquois

Christmas is festive at Point Iroquois Lighthouse

With the holidays fast approaching, it’s time to think about the annual traditions we celebrate with friends and family. This year, we invite you to add a new tradition to you holiday:

Christmas at Point Iroquois

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While weather conditions and other circumstances determine whether you’ll see lights on the lighthouse like those pictured here, there is one important reason to visit that you can count on…

Santa & Smiling Baby at Iroquois

That’s right – set your calendar and come see Santa Clause at Point Iroquois on Saturdays and Sundays between Nov. 29 – Dec. 14. This is a great opportunity for the kids to visit with St. Nick before the big day. He might even be able to tell them if they are on the naughty or nice list.

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Be sure to say “hello” to Mrs. Claus when you visit and ask her about the Holiday Tea she’s been planning. Or you can call 906-643-7900 for more information about both events.

If you’ve never visited Point Iroquois, you’ll be particularly pleased to explore this spectacular light on the shore of Whitefish Bay.

This is a chance to capture great family pictures in a very unique holiday setting. Bring your camera and get ready to tell Santa what you’re dreaming of this Christmas! (Maybe some ice skates, skis, snowboard, or other winter items for a great time in Sault Ste. Marie this winter?!)

See you at Point Iroquois!

Fall in Love with The Soo

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Fall in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is like no other. Pull up a seat and enjoy the view or take a drive out to a stunning lighthouse just off the scenic path less traveled.

You don’t HAVE to drive far to find great color; downtown Sault Ste. Marie is bustling with shops, restaurants, freighters, and fall.Portage Fall 2013 Mikel Classen Keep Calm

If you do leave town a gorgeous drive west along the Curly Lewis Highway and then north to Paradise (literally) will take you to the Tahquamenon Falls State Park.

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There’s lots to do in the Soo as the colors begin to change. Sault International Marathon runs rightDSC_1167 into the heart of Oktoberfest in downtown September 27.  Family friendly activities, craft market, barrel tossing and spirits are just a handful things to find at Oktoberfest. There are live bands throughout the day including a traditional Polka Band.Oktoberfest FallJoin us in the Sault for a picture perfect fall. Peak color starts approximately the last week of September first week of October. At this time (9/11/2014) color saturation is less than 10%.

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A great catch on the St. Marys

Fishing for a good time in Sault Ste. Marie

Autumn may be a great time for color tours and pumpkin patches, but in Sault Ste. Marie, fall means great fishing! And you can see, some people take their fishing very seriously!

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This weekend marks the start of a couple of fishing-related events, but you don’t have to be a participant to enjoy the event.

The St. Marys Small Jaw Slam Tournament takes place this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 6th and 7th at Aune Osborn Park. Drop in for weigh-ins starting at 3pm each day.

Get a peak at the boats and pick up your own tricks and tips from folks who love to talk about fishing!

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Later this month, the St. Marys Walleye Cup takes over the river, Sept. 20-21, 2014. The top 5 finishers will take home prize money, and so will a “mystery boat” and that should be enough to get you and your boat in the water! Register today and you could take home part of the $8,500 in prize money.

Sometimes, though, it’s fun just to throw out a line from the dock or hop into the boat with a good friend.

A great catch on the St. Marys

So whether you choose to cast a line or join us for tournament weigh-in – make sure to enjoy some fall fishing in Sault Ste. Marie!

And don’t forget the best part…..

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Sault Ste. Marie Photo Montage: Looking Back at July

Summer can be shy in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Some years 4th of July is our kickoff to the summer season and we are more than ready for sun and fun. July 4 1 July 4 2 Mother nature can be temperamental in our picturesque part of the world. It can be 80 degrees today and mid 60’s tomorrow. Pack one of everything is good advice for visiting the Sault. 7-14-2014 The early morning fog can bring shipping in the Soo Locks to a standstill and without a moment’s notice the sun is shining and we carry on. July 5

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During July we take full advantage of the sun and the great outdoors in Sault Ste. Marie with festivals and great family events:

  • 4th of July Parade & Fireworks
  • Wednesday Music in the Park
  • Wednesday Farmers Market
  • Sault Tribe Powwow & Summer Gathering
  • Weekly Concerts at John Johnston Historic Home
  • Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament
  • Connor Gorsuch Kids Fishing Day
  • Rendezvous in the Sault last full weekend in July

july 15July 7 3     Boats in the St. Marys River are always a summer draw. Whether it’s the Sugar Island Ferry navigating the treacherous current or the thousand foot freighters quietly gliding up and down the river the boats are mesmerizing.  Take a Soo Locks Boat Tour and you might get to sail with the freighters.

The sun has set on July but here in the Upper Peninsula we are comforted by the knowledge that these amazing sunsets are ours year round.
For more great photos please visit I Love Sault Ste. Marie Facebook page.July 20

Soo Locks open March 25

The calendar tells us that spring has sprung, but if you live in the eastern half of the country, you know we’ve been living through something of a Modern Ice Age. In the coming weeks, an annual rite of passage (literally!) will take place and Sault Ste. Marie is offering ring-side seats. Come see a spectacular battle as Great Lakes cargo ships and ice breakers take on the forces of nature on the St. Marys River. 

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Photo Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers

On March 25th the Soo Locks will open for the season, connecting Lake Superior to the rest of the Great Lakes. That, however, will require vessels to conquer a barricade in the form of a 45-mile river system that is covered in a continuous sheet of ice.  Beyond the river, most Lake Superior ports are still packed with ice.  Duluth, Minnesota has experienced one of its top 4 worst winters in history.

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Photo Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers

If you’ve never seen an ice breaker at work; or have never seen a snow-encrusted freighter; or have always wanted to join the celebration of welcoming the first ship through the Locks – this is your year. From 9am – 3pm on March 25, the Soo Locks Visitors Center will be open with hot coffee and a chance to see the Soo Locks in rare form. Traditionally, this is the day we will welcome the first ship through the Locks, but the exact day and time of arrival is always unknown until a day or so before. Monitor our Facebook page for updates on the exact time of arrival.

Let’s be honest – you’ve had enough of shoveling and ice and freezing temperatures. Come help us cheer on the icebreakers and send old man winter packing!