Yale is normally a small town of around 2,000 people. But every summer in late July tourists descend on Yale to celebrate bologna, the king of meats. The Yale Bologna Festival began in 1989, and this year the festival will take place on July 27th, 28th, and 29th. Events range from a echure tournament to a golf cart parade!
In a state full of vegitable and fruit focused festivals (Traverse City’s Cherry Festival, Empire’s Asparagus Festival, and Mesick’s Mushroom Festival) the Yale Bologna Festival is a carnivores dream. Meat eaters rejoice, this is the festival for you. For some, bologna is considered a very humble meat, but in Yale, Michigan bologna is king.
Located in St. Clair county, in the Michigan thumb of Yale, is the unofficial bologna capitol of the world. One of their most important bologna icons began in 1906, when a small shop run by TJ Minnie began to sell bologna. Cecil Roy and the Roy family took the bologna idea and ran with it, starting C. Roy Inc which sells quality bologna to this day.
This year the Bologna Festival will feature an outhouse race, bologna ring toss, parade, the cronwing of King and Queen Bologna, fireworks, a rubber duck race, a cardboard boat race, a classic car and bike show, a concert starring Big Pappa and the Machine, and more than we can possibly list!
Not only do tourists love the Bologna Festival, but locals do as well. A while back there were rumors that the festival was in danger of losing its funding. Loyal locals took to Facebook and rallied around their beloved Bologna Festival. Thankfully, the Bologna Festival is in no danger. It is still going strong and preparing for it’s 23rd year of celebrating this most delicious of meats.
There are two types of people in this world: those who love bologna and those that don’t. If you love bologna then you need to go to the Yale Bologna Festival. If you don’t love bologna you should go anyway; a fun time is guaranteed for all who attend this one of a kind festival!
The town of Yale loudly proclaims that they are “full of Bologna and proud of it!”
To learn more, see a full schedule of events, or apply to participate in the classic car show and other events, visit the Yale Bologna Festival’s website.
~Sarah Blodgett, feature writer