"Its charm hasn't changed in the 50 years I've been coming up here," Sailor Don Glassels gleamed.
And Don Glassel's charm hasn't changed in those 50 years either. His smile stretches ear to ear because he just recorded his best time in the race since he began competing in 1954. And that's just icing on the cake for Glassel. He enjoys seeing his friends as much as he likes the race.
"Coming back to this island where you can have the comradry of all the rest of the sailors in a small space basically, you run into everybody," Glassel explained.
Glassel is just one of thousands who raced to the island for the 104th annual race. The sailors create a lot of business for local shops which contributes to the busiest week of the year.
"You know with each boat theres a crew of 8 to15 sailors, so its a lot of people who come here, we sell out our hotels, the restaurants get busy, the shops get busy, the attractions. It's just a fantastic time for us and really great for all of the seasonal businesses," Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau Executive Director Mary McGuire Slevin said.
The importance can be felt as you walk through the streets. Six hundred horses are providing transportation. Hundreds of bikes line the streets outside of restaurants and every single hotel on the island is completely full.
"When they arrive here its really summer," Island House Owner Todd Callewaert said.
And this week their presence is clearly being felt by local business owners.
"It fills the solid three days of Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday so Its actually a very large impact for us, Its very needed and we love to have them," Callewaert said.