Full Steam Ahead – Shay Days 2021

Full Steam Ahead – Shay Days 2021

Trains, games, crafts and other activities take center stage during the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society’s annual Shay Days event on Friday and Saturday, July 16 and 17. Held almost every summer since 1998, Shay Days is a family-focused, two-day event honoring the life and innovations of one of Harbor Springs most illustrious early residents – Ephraim Shay.

“We’re very excited to be hosting Shay Days again this year after taking 2020 off,” said Bob Laakman, Historical Society trustee and chair of the Shay Days committee. “In addition to our traditional events recognizing Mr. Shay’s inventiveness and ingenuity, we’ll also have new activities with a nautical theme as well as activities to help families learn more about Ephraim Shay.”

One of the new activities is a demonstration on how boats are propelled. “We will be using baking soda and vinegar, wind power, steam power and more to show kids how boats, including Shay’s AHA, are propelled through the water,” said Laakman. Demonstrations take place in Shay Park every half hour beginning at 10:30am each day.

Other activities include crafts and games in Shay Park and the Shay House, the “Shay Shot” and the live, model steam trains on an elevated track in Shay Park operated by the Michigan Small Scale Live Steamers group.

For adults, Shay Days is a great chance to tour the unique, steel-clad home Ephraim Shay built in 1892. Exhibit panels illustrating the story of Shay’s life and his impact on Harbor Springs history will be on display. A walking tour which follows part of Shay’s railroad line and highlights the history of Shay, his home, the Shay Locomotive, logging in Harbor Springs and more begins at 10:30am each day at the History Museum and takes about an hour to complete. There will also be a history talk in Shay Park at the site of the new “Aha” exhibit. The talk takes place on July 17 at 1:00 pm. Limited seating under a tent will be available for this 30-minute lecture. 

After the history talk, we will celebrate Ephraim Shay’s 182 birthday – including singing and cake! Admission to all these Shay Days activities is by donation with all proceeds supporting the work of the Historical Society. For more information call 231-526-9771.