One of my favorite parts of small town living are the unique festivals and it seems the smaller the town the more interesting the festivals are! Take Perchville for example. It has been an annual winter festival for the Tawases since 1950! Now growing up in the suburbs of Detroit it’s not an event I was even aware existed until a few years ago and it is very hard to describe. Part Frat house, part Holiday weekend combined with the small town charm you come to expect from Tawas Bay.
It seems many people treat the weekend as a homecoming. Lots of people that grew up in the area and moved away after high school come back to hang out with their friends. I saw many happy reunions. There are also big groups of friends that meet up each year dressed in themed outfits. They have been coming for years and even have shirts made for their favorite bartenders and staff from the local resort and bars. They reserve a block of rooms and have hallway parties with decorations and music. We even saw a group of people dressed up in pirate apparel that were playing music together for no other reason but that they could and no one would think it at all odd. From boas and fish net stockings to fish hats and footed pajamas it seems anything goes this weekend.
There are many events that are family friendly. An ice fishing contest, teen dance, scavenger hunts, snowmobile races or atv barrel races, a polar plunge, a big family activities tent. If you are looking for daytime activities for your kids you can find it here. But the main draw does seem to be the bands and the beer tent. There is live music everywhere you look and people dancing, laughing and having fun all around. Even though the beer tent is not my scene, I stopped in just to take a peek and a few pictures. Inside were people of all ages….20’s through 70’s enjoying the loud music, the flashy lights and of course, the beer!
My favorite part of the weekend though was the “chilly” cook off. The streets of downtown East Tawas were closed off and 20 local businesses all made huge batches of chili. For $6 you could buy a coozie and go around and taste all of the chilis and then vote for your favorite. There were all different. Some had corn, cocoa, hot dogs. There was even a paleo one and most places had toppings you could add. A couple of stores even had people dressed in costume going up and down the street talking to people and trying to get their votes. It was fun to talk to local shop owners and employees and compare notes with people walking around. I have no idea what the prizes were but hundreds of people were partaking and a winner was crowned. Way to go Village Chocolatier!
If you haven’t experienced this winter tradition you really should. I’d be happy to be your tour guide!