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Public Statement From the Greater Mackinaw City Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

Dear members and friends,

The Greater Mackinaw City Chamber of Commerce (GMCCC) has received hundreds of requests for a public statement regarding the distressing video footage being shared on the internet, news stations, and radio talk shows about an area hotel. It is only after a great deal of thought and consideration from our Board of Directors that we do so. We wish to explain to concerned members and visitors to the region that a Chamber of Commerce does not possess regulatory control over any business or their ethical standards.

GMCCC has no authority to police the actions of any members; in fact, it is illegal for any chamber of commerce to do so. We strive to be a positive and inclusive community, providing equal opportunity for success in commerce to all who seek it. The GMCCC Visitor Center staff is available to assist in connecting any individual with the proper regulatory authorities to process and respond to a complaint. We exist for the public as a community resource, never as a judge, trial, or jury.

The GMCCC is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. They do so with compassion and the intent to positively represent members from a variety of industries with invested interest in the Village of Mackinaw City. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the businesses the GMCCC represents to cultivate a climate of hospitality; and it is the GMCCC’s mission to amplify that message.

The GMCCC has existed as a non-profit organization here in Mackinaw City since 1955, expressing a unified message of hospitality on behalf of a diverse membership of entrepreneurs. The GMCCC cannot force compliance to any standard of hospitality. We are proud and appreciative of our members and the family-friendly atmosphere they’ve collectively worked so hard to create; there is much to celebrate in Mackinaw City and we hope to continue to serve our guests and members dutifully, with positivity, for generations to come.

The GMCCC Board of Directors



Dear Participants and Friends,

Unfortunately, after 27 successful years, the Board of Directors were forced to cancel the Spring and Fall Scenic Shoreline Tours in 2019. The loss of revenue was substantial and participant survey results consistently indicated that the Bridge Crossing component was critical to the success of the event. The deteriorating road conditions and uncertainty over when construction will begin along the current route was also a major factor in the decision to cancel. While we always enjoy the Big Mac Shoreline Spring and Fall Bike Tours, the loss the bridge crossing component resulted in total loss of profitability. In 2018 it cost us money to host the events.

Directors is still very committed to the goal of supporting cycling in the region and would like to invite any interested parties to serve on a committee (even if you are to create a new and viable cycling event to replace the Big Mac Scenic Shoreline Tour. We have a lot of great ideas from our most recent participant survey to guide us in our planning efforts. If interested in assisting with the creative process of creating a new cycling event, please contact As we work to develop a replacement for the Big Mac Scenic Shoreline Bike Tour we may send out a periodic survey or update to our participant mailing list. If you prefer not to receive that correspondence please remember that you are able to unsubscribe at any time. We appreciate and value your input as cyclists and visitors to our community.


Again, thank you to our participants for supporting our Chamber of Commerce in one of our favorite annual events. It’s been a good ride (many good rides)! We hope to put our pedals down to come up with something new as soon as possible.

Jamie Mersch

Executive Director





While the Big Mac Scenic Shoreline Bike Tour event has been traditionally very lucrative fundraiser for the Chamber, the loss of the opportunity to ride across the Mackinac Bridge (the MBA has discontinued allowing pedestrian and cyclist crossing) has been extremely financially detrimental to this event, even with our efforts to add a trip to Mackinac Island for day two. Participation declined to approximately 80 participants and cost the organization $174.00 after all receipts were tallied. That does not factor in the staff hours, monumental volunteer effort, and out of pocket fuel expenses that staff and volunteers incur to make this event successful. ( Event Revenue Trends, MCC of C. Annual Report, 2018.)

Winterfest 2019 set for January 18-19!

Mackinaw City to Host 26th Annual Winterfest Featuring Pepsi International Outhouse Races (Racers Wanted!) January 18-19, 2019

Mackinaw City, MI – Come celebrate winter in Mackinaw City during this year’s 26th annual Winterfest hosted by the Mackinaw Area Visitors Bureau in collaboration with the Mackinaw City Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors. A majority of the events in this much anticipated community-wide winter event are scheduled for the 3rd weekend in January: Friday the 18th and Saturday the 19th. Participants this year will find an ice fishing tournament, sleigh wagon rides, a new senior citizen art show and sale, poker walk, the Escape Room at the Mackinaw City Public Library, S’mores at Mystery Town USA, a chili cook-off, euchre tournament, free hot cocoa, Mackinaw City Art Exhibit, and the culminating event, the Pepsi International Outhouse Race. There’s something for everyone at Winterfest!

 The details:

Friday afternoon enjoy a free hot cocoa at Audie’s with the purchase of a Winterfest Button (available all day Friday or Saturday) and head down for the Artists Reception at The Mackinaw City Art Exhibit. This annual exhibit features area artists displayed at Mackinaw Clothing sponsored by the Mackinaw City Area Arts Council.  A wide variety of media will be displayed including: watercolors, oil paintings, woodcarvings, photography, jewelry and more. An opening reception and meet the Artists will take place from 3:00pm-5:00 pm on Friday, January 18th. The exhibit will continue Saturday from 10-5 pm.

Saturday’s events begin at 10 am. Win great prizes from area businesses by picking up a game sheet and participating in the Poker Walk, which begins at BC Pizza. Forms can be picked up at 10 am and must be back by 1:15 pm. Winning hands and prizes are announced at 1:30 pm.

Challenge your mind and have a blast with friends at the Escape Room hosted by the Mackinaw Area Public Library from 10:00-2:00. Call (231)436-5451 for Friday hours.

Sleigh/Wagon Rides sponsored by Marshall’s Fudge and Mackinaw Clothing will be boarding just outside Marshall’s Fudge on Central Avenue from 11:30-2:00.  Various restaurants and bars are offering Winterfest specials and/or entertainment through the weekend.

Winter Games for kids and adults are a fun tradition at the Marina Lawn (adjacent to Shepler’s) and head down for S’mores at Mystery Town, USA. Games and S’mores available from 12-2 pm.

The Wawatam Senior Center’s Senior Art Show and Sale is new to Winterfest this year. Artwork from area seniors will be on display and available for purchase at the Lions Club Building, 205 Cedar St. from 10 am- 3 pm Saturday.

The Ambassadors’ Famous Chili Cook-Off competition begins at 11:00 am and runs until 1 pm at Mama Mia’s Pizza on Central Ave. Come early to taste and vote for your favorite recipe. Tasting and people’s choice awards require a $3.00 Winterfest Button.

The Winterfest Euchre Tournament from 3:30pm to 5:30 pm has a $5.00 entry fee with a Winterfest button. The action takes place at the Lions Club Building, 205 Cedar St. Registration begins at 1:30pm. Must be 18 years or older to participate.

Weather and snow permitting the Mackinaw City 4th Grade Snow Sculptures will be on display Saturday, January 19th on the marina lawn to enjoy throughout the festivities.

The Paradise Lake Ice Fishing Contest sponsored by the Paradise Lake Association will be held on January 19 from 8 am to 2 pm. Headquarters for the contest is the Paradise Lake Marina. Early registration begins Friday, January 18 from 3 – 6 pm at the marina. Fisherman can register the day of the contest from 6:30 – 8 am at the marina. Registration forms can be printed at the Paradise Lake Association website and are also available at the marina, Clyde’s Bar and Carp Lake General Store.

The entry fee is $20.00 per person and includes a ticket for a chance prize drawing.

Racers Wanted!! Join in the fun and possibly take home a $500.00 grand prize! The Mackinaw Pepsi International Outhouse Race is Saturday January 18th. The event takes place next to the Dixie Saloon in the Shepler’s Ferry Lot along Lake Huron. Races start at 2pm with a parade of outhouses preceding the competition. G-man Entertainment will be on location with commentary and music. The event is free to the public and is comical entertainment for the whole family. Teams compete for cash as well as “bragging rights”. Outhouse themes vary encouraging teams, companies, groups or families to be creative.

Rules are as follows: The Outhouse must be approximately 4 x 4 x 6 and on skis. It must have a 5 person team, one inside and 4 outside to push or pull. It must have a toilet seat and material to wipe with. Entry must have a name. Entrants under 18 must have a parent’s signature and all teams/participants must sign a waiver. For more information on this event or to enter a team, visit

Many activities are free with a $3.00 2019 Winterfest limited edition button/pin. Collector buttons can be purchased at area businesses, the Mackinaw Area Visitors Bureau, the Mackinaw City Chamber of Commerce, and they will be sold at event sites the day of the event. Check the number on back of your button as $600.00 in Cash Prizes will be awarded to winning numbers! Winning numbers will be posted around town during the event or will be available by calling the Mackinaw Area Visitors Bureau for two weeks following the event.  Winterfest button winners must claim their winning envelopes event day at BC Pizza until 2pm, Sat & Sun at Marshall’s Fudge, or by calling the Mackinaw Area Visitors Bureau (231) 436-5664 prior to January 31, 2019.

The Pageant Committee Parade Buffet will be on Wednesday, January 16th from 4-7 pm. Stop in for a feast and to support the annual Memorial Day Parade in Mackinaw City.

Polar Nights, Gods and Goddesses- A Grecian Gala will take place on January 12, 2019 in Audie’s Banquet Room. This year’s festivities will include music, dancing, gourmet hors d’oeuvres, and a silent auction. 100% of the proceeds from the auction will be dedicated to the Audie’s Scholarship Fund.

Tickets are $40 each or 2 for $75
To purchase a ticket stop into Audie’s or call (231)-436-5744

For more information and a complete schedule of Mackinaw City Winterfest events, visit:,, or