2017-09-14 / Scene

HEMLOCK Back To Our Roots

Hemlock Sawdust Days festival runs Sept. 15-17
By Jeanne Marcello
Staff Reporter

HEMLOCK – The Hemlock Sawdust Days Festival offers entertainment and activities for the entire family. This year’s festival runs Friday, Sept. 15 through Sunday, Sept. 17.

The Hemlock Sawdust Days Festival brings together everything that makes a small-town festival fun. They have great musical entertainment, a large parade, a classic car and tractor show, a flea market and craft show, a quilt show, food and spirits, opportunities to win cool stuff, something really unique like lumberjacks, as well as lumberjills, and so much more. Everyone is encouraged to dress like a lumberjack.

Historic Lumber Era

Hemlock Sawdust Days looks back on the history of the community when it formed in the 1860s as a lumbering town along the plank road that is now Saginaw Street (M-46). The festival pays homage to that history with entertainment and other fun activities.

The Great Lakes Lumberjack Show entertains the crowd at the 2016 Hemlock Sawdust Days Festival. The Great Lakes Lumberjack Show entertains the crowd at the 2016 Hemlock Sawdust Days Festival. The Great Lakes Lumberjack Show demonstrates live-action lumberjack skills. Festival goers enjoy demonstrations such as axe throwing, log rolling in water, a crosscut saw race along with their humorous entertainment antics. Two different shows run each day Saturday and Sunday. Be prepared for some new features at this year’s show.

The Castle Museum’s History on the Move trailer will also be set up at Richland Township Park both Saturday and Sunday. The Hemlock Historical Museum will also be open for visitors on Saturday.


Throughout the weekend, the Maple Grille Entertainment Tent keeps the toe tapping going with a great variety of musical entertainment daily. Tweed and Dixie perform Friday night. Saturday’s entertainers feature the Valley Rhythm Cloggers, Hemlock’s Got Talent, Cornpone, The Sinclairs, and The Rock Show, back by popular demand.

Sunday’s entertainment starts with musical performances during the community church service, followed by acoustic guitar music performed by Melissa May and Brian Coonan.

Food and Craft Vendors

Food, crafts and other vendors set up among the trees in Richland Township Park. Michigan artists will be there to sell a wide range of handcrafted items, quality products and lots of food.

Games and Prizes

New this year, the Lumberjack Beard Contest features a Lumberjill Braid Contest. Prizes will be awarded for the best lumberjack beard, the trendiest beard and best lumberjill braid.

The Baby Picture Contest will be held Saturday near the information booth. Festival goers can vote for the baby of their choice by dropping coins in the child’s picture cup.

Hemlock Sawdust Days offers many opportunities to win prizes. On Saturday, there’s a cake walk in the kids’ tent. A cornhole tournament will be held at the park on Sunday. On Saturday, Sept. 16, stop by the Chinese Auction for raffle tickets to win cool prizes. The Chinese Auction and several other games support Sawdust Days, scholarships and various community projects.

Children and Teen Activities

There are lots of activities and games for children at Sawdust Days both Saturday and Sunday. Kids’s activities include the trout pond, petting zoo, pony rides, bubble games, kids’ games, bounce houses and the new Sawdust Penny Hunt run both days.

On Sunday, there are two new events for children; Touch-a-Truck with local fire and police, the Kids Pedal Pull and even Trunk-or-Treat in the parking lot at the park. Plus, one lucky kid will win in the bicycle drawing inside the entertainment tent.

Parents with young children will find a quiet retreat in the comfort baby station, which is a new feature this year.

Teens have their own event at the Glow Party Saturday night from 6 to 10 p.m. Pizza and pop are available at the dance.

Around Town

Most of the festival activities take place in Richland Township Park on North Hemlock Road, across from the high school. Several activities are held outside the park, including the Sawdust Days Breakfast on Saturday morning at Hemlock United Methodist Church, the Quilt Show at Hemlock High School. The Sawdust Days Parade wraps around town from Hemlock Middle School south on Maple Street, west on Wilson, south on Cherry, east on Saginaw Street (M-46), then north on North Elm Street, east on Wilson and finally north on North Pine Street.

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