Michiganders Head Out on Holiday Weekend

May 23, 2013 by   - () Comments Off on Michiganders Head Out on Holiday Weekend

The Mackinac Bridge from the south shore.

All over Michigan, Michiganders eager for summer fun are packing tents, suitcases and cars for Memorial Day weekend trips.

About 1.1 million Michiganders plan to travel beginning tonight for the holiday weekend that marks the unofficial start of summer, according to AAA Michigan. That’s about the same number as last year. AAA says nine out of 10 Michigan travelers plan to hit the road in their own cars, the Lansing State Journal reported.

In Mackinaw City, they’ll find a 100-unit parade stepping off at 1 p.m. Saturday and businesses that shuttered or shortened their hours for winter back and ready to go.

“We’ve got to get our people in place, we’ve got to get our candy made and clean the store up, and we’ll be standing here ready with a smile on our face,” said Charlie Heilman, second generation operator of the Fort Fudge Shop.

The story will be similar along Lake Michigan’s shores, said Kelly McGrail, director of marketing and special projects for the West Michigan Tourist Association.

“Things start opening, people start flocking to the lake,” she said. Besides the water, she said there’s a new ride at Michigan’s Adventure amusement park in Whitehall and a slate of summer weekend rodeos at Double JJ Resort, among other activities.

This year, state tourism officials expect the number of out-of-state visitors to continue to rise thanks to the successful Pure Michigan campaign. The spots feature a variety of Michigan sights, sounds and scenes that comprise “America’s perfect summer” and are turning up on various national cable channels.

“We have our largest national advertising campaign to date, running through June and we’re spending $13 million,” said Michelle Begnoche, spokeswoman for Pure Michigan.

The campaign has brought an estimated $1.1 billion to the state from out-of-state visitors, Begnoche said.





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