Empire’s annual Anchor Day takes place every year on the third Saturday of July (that’s this Saturday, July 14). The fun begins tonight with a street dance and then Friday night join Sleeping Bear Surf and Kayak at the Empire Open Space at dusk for a free movie. Saturday morning there’s a fun run at 9 AM (registration at 8:45 at the picnic pavilion on Empire beach). At 2 PM the Empire Anchor Day parade and then from 2-8 PM the Lions Club hold their annual Chicken BBQ at the Empire Town Hall. It supports local Lions projects and international sight and hearing programs and diabetes education.
The Glen Arbor Sun feature An anchor from the depths is cause for celebration begins:
Empire’s biggest event of the year, the Anchor Day festival, will be held, as always, during the third Saturday in July, which falls this year on July 16. The celebration commemorates the raising of the village’s famous anchor from the depths of Lake Michigan in July of 1977, and its placement at the entrance to the Empire public beach. Who among the longtime residents of Empire will ever forget that exciting day? After all, news does spread like wildfire in a small town like ours.
Two weeks before the first Anchor Day, locals Doug Manning and Michelle Stryker discovered the anchor while canoeing off the shore. They saw the prize clearly in 18 feet of water and reported the rare find to Dave Taghon, who was village president at the time. Doug asked if the museum could use a freighter anchor attached to a large wooden beam. Taghon knew that any relic found in Great Lakes waters belongs to the State of Michigan, so he called the Dorsett Maritime Academy and Oberlin College with his dilemma. He was assured that, if the anchor was properly displayed, Empire could have it, and plans were made at once to raise the anchor.