We may be in the middle of summer, but one local city is celebrating the Swiss Alps!
Gaylord's Alpenfest is this week, and they're celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.
During the event, about five thousand people come to Gaylord each day, totaling between twenty to thirty thousand people over five days. It brings millions of dollars to the city and surrounding areas in northern Michigan.
??Festivals like this bring such an economic impact to all of the communities,?? said Triston Cole (R), a candidate for the 105th District House of Representatives. ??You have the Cherry Festival, you have the Venetian Festival coming up, and you have the Alpenfest here ?? not to mention some of the other small festivals in all of the other communities ?? and they really bring a lot of activity to the local businesses, motels, restaurants, roadside farm stands, everywhere in between. All of them receive benefit from the activity here. Alpenfest is a great economic boom to the Gaylord community.??
Many organizers said that even the locals want to come down and just hang out, and multiple family reunions take place during the week.
There's food, carnival rides and circus acts, a queen's pageant, and fun competitions ?? like the ladies ankle contest and the gold fish eating contest (the crackers!) among many other things.
??The weather is beautiful, it??s fun for all ages, and you??ll have a great time,?? said Lauren Bushong, the 2014 Alpenfest Queen. She said it??s hard to pick a favorite thing about the festival, but loves the concerts at night.
Organizers say they concentrate on keeping the festival family-focused, affordable, and community based.
??It's an opportunity for people to visit our community, to visit northern Michigan, in hopes that they'll come back again and travel down the road and say - you know what, we had a really great time in Gaylord; the people there were friendly and great, and we want to come back and spend more vacation time,?? stated Paul Beachnau, the Gaylord Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.
Alpenfest goes through Saturday with an extra special anniversary parade and fireworks show.