The annual Port Oneida Fair offers you a chance to step back in time and experience life as it was in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The event takes place in the Port Oneida District of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on August 9 and 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Visitors can take the shuttle, drive, hike, or bike to the six unique historic sites where a variety of activities take place. Over 80 demonstrators will be at the fair. Timber framers, quilters and basket weavers will be demonstrating their crafts. Potters and blacksmiths will be hard at work. Oxen will be cutting hay in the fields. Interpreting the history of the Port Oneida community and its settlers will also be an important aspect of the fair. Park Rangers, volunteers, and families of Port Oneida residents will share stories at various farm sites. Food will be available for purchase or you may pack a picnic lunch to eat on the trail or in a farm meadow.
By partnering with Bay Area Recycling for Charities, the National Lakeshore will be going “green” and composting or recycling throughout the fair. On Friday you can spend a day at the Fair and sit down for the 3rd annual Port Oneida Picnic presented by Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear and benefitting the Fair. Tickets are $15 and need to be purchased in advance. There’s also a Star Party on Saturday from 9-11 PM at the Thoreson Farm. Join Park Rangers and the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society members who will share their telescopes and knowledge while viewing Mars, Saturn, and the Perseid meteor shower. Remember to bring a flashlight for the walk back to your car!
The Port Oneida Rural Arts and Culture Fair promotes the preservation of rural traditional skills, crafts, landscapes, and communities of the Upper Great Lakes Region through education, artistic expression and the development of a coalition of community organizations. Port Oneida is the largest intact historic agricultural district in the United States, and is fully protected within the National Lakeshore. With 19 historic farms (four privately owned), more than 300 buildings, and over 3,000 acres of land. In addition to the farmhouses, barns, and wonderful variety of specialized outbuildings, the historic district contains the fields, orchards, fence rows, roads, cemetery, forest and other elements that make up the historic landscape.
The Port Oneida Fair is hosted by the National Lakeshore and co-sponsored by Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear and the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes. It’s a free event, but you must purchase a Park Entrance Pass and display it in your vehicle. Please call 231-326-5135, ext. 328, to make reservations (if you plan on bringing a group), or ask questions, or visit their website or the National Lakeshore’s Facebook page.