What's happening: The Seney Lumberjack Festival provided a unique look into how difficult it can be to host a community festival in the rural U.P. Held Saturday, August 26, the festival marked its seventh year with crowds who came to see horse pulls, chainsaw carvings and axe throwing. The fair is one of the rare organized public events in the northern half of Schoolcraft County not tied directly to the Seney Wildlife Refuge.
What's the distance: Seney Township is roughly 40 minutes away from the county seats in Schoolcraft, Luce and Alger counties and has more seasonal residents than annual ones. Most businesses in the area are tourism- and service-industry based and children in the community travel primarily to Grand Marais for school -- roughly 30 miles away.
But when the festival is in town, visitors travel to Seney, with many of them stopping at gas stations and restaurants before heading back to bigger villages and cities. About 300 to 400 people attend the festival each year.
What they're saying: “We really appreciate these communities supporting us,” said Andrew Kidd, Seney Lumberjack Festival organizer and president of the Seney Historical Society. “They’re coming in from Newberry, Munising, Manistique and enjoying the time here in Seney.”
What's next: The profits from the Lumberjack Festival help fund the Seney Historical Society, which operates a museum in an old train depot in town. The museum building has gone through multiple renovation projects in the last few years. Festival organizers will continue to review and plan for next year’s festival, looking to maintain its goal of having events directly related to the timber industry.
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