2018-05-12 / News

Fort Mackinac Opens to Visitors; Offers New Foot Race May 12


At left: Mayor Margaret Doud learns how to fire the cannon at Fort Mackinac from lead historic interpreters Alex Arnold (center), as interpreters Tristan DiCesare (right) readies the cannon and Trevor Rettell (left) looks on during opening day at Fort Mackinac Thursday, May 3. Unfortunately, the cannon misfired a few times, before Mr. Rettell gave a musket salute to mark the beginning of the 2018 season. At left: Mayor Margaret Doud learns how to fire the cannon at Fort Mackinac from lead historic interpreters Alex Arnold (center), as interpreters Tristan DiCesare (right) readies the cannon and Trevor Rettell (left) looks on during opening day at Fort Mackinac Thursday, May 3. Unfortunately, the cannon misfired a few times, before Mr. Rettell gave a musket salute to mark the beginning of the 2018 season. Fort Mackinac opened to visitors with a musket salute by historic interpreter Trevor Rettell Thursday, May 3. Opening day is usually marked by the first firing of the cannon at 9 a.m., but damp conditions meant the cannon misfired a few times before the rifleman was enlisted.

Mayor Margaret Doud was on hand to welcome the new season with Mackinac State Historic Parks Director Phil Porter. Following the instructions of lead historic interpreter Alex Arnold, Mayor Doud tried to fire the cannon for the first time, but was foiled by misfires. As she ascended the steps to the Upper Gun Platform, where the cannon stands guard over the fort walls, Mayor Doud reminisced about growing up in Fort Mackinac, as her father, Robert Doud, served as the state park director when she was young.


At right: Historic interpreter Trevor Rettell marks the start of the 2018 season with a musket salute at Fort Mackinac Thursday, May 3, after the traditional cannon firing failed. A load snap followed by a small puff of smoke was the result as Mayor Margaret Doud tried to fire the cannon, but it misfired four times because of damp conditions. At right: Historic interpreter Trevor Rettell marks the start of the 2018 season with a musket salute at Fort Mackinac Thursday, May 3, after the traditional cannon firing failed. A load snap followed by a small puff of smoke was the result as Mayor Margaret Doud tried to fire the cannon, but it misfired four times because of damp conditions. While the visitors were sparse early Thursday morning, interpreters readied for a large group of about 200 school children later that day, and everyone pitched in to get the fort ready. Deputy Director Steve Brisson made the rounds cleaning signs, while Exhibit Designer Keeney Swearer checked on the displays to ensure they were in working order.

The 2018 season brings a new event to Mackinac State Historic Parks this Saturday, May 12, as the inaugural Fort2Fort Five Mile Challenge will be held. Runners and walkers will gather on the parade grounds inside the fort, and take off through the North Sally Port to enter the race route. From Fort Mackinac, participants will head toward Arch Rock and Fort Holmes, then back to the Scout Barracks behind Fort Mackinac.

The winding course will demand runners and walkers scale the Island’s steep slopes. As participants pass the cemeteries on their way to Fort Holmes, the first runners will be greeted by historic interpreters and a musket salute. Participants will then circle Fort Holmes to enjoy the scenic views from the highest point on the Island, and head down to the Governor’s Summer Residence on Fort Street. After the racers turn onto Huron Road, they’ll end back at Fort Mackinac.

The race will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday. Participants can pick up their packets before the race from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Scout Barracks, at the intersection of Huron and Garrison roads. The race costs $45 for those who register after May 1.

This season at the fort will also feature new tours, demonstrations, and special events. Among the new tours is a 25-minute-long history tour at 2:30 p.m. each day and a “Women at the Fort” tour that will be held after the 3 p.m. cannon firing daily. The tours were developed by Curator of Education Katie Mallory, who heads the interpretive efforts at Fort Mackinac. The “Women at the Fort” tour will explore the lives of the people who lived at the fort, but were not part of the military, when the fort was in operation from 1780 to 1895.

The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum also opened for the season Thursday. The museum features the 2018 juried art exhibit “Landscapes of Mackinac.” Of the nearly 85 entries, 20 pieces were selected and will be on display throughout the season. Winners of the art show will be announced at a reception Wednesday, June 20.

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