EAST TAWAS – The public is invited to help celebrate 100 years of Michigan State Parks on Wednesday, Aug. 7, at Tawas Point State Park and Lighthouse.

The family-friendly event – held in conjunction with National Lighthouse Day – will take place at the park, located at 686 Tawas Beach Rd. in East Tawas.

The centennial activities will be free to guests, but vehicle entry to the venue requires a Recreation Passport, with non-resident daily passes also available for purchase.

Vicki Seltz Barnes – a representative of Friends of Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park – says that the fun will begin at noon, under a tent on the lawn near the lighthouse.

“Bring your family along to marvel at Lake Huron and Tawas Bay, take advantage of historical Tawas Point Lighthouse tours, bicycle, view astonishing kite boarding, peaceful kayaking, tasty picnicking, hiking, premiere bird watching, stand up paddle boarding, corn-hole games, free ice cream floats, and so much more,” she stated.

Visitors can partake in self-guided lighthouse historical museum tours, including a trip up the tower to the lantern room, where Barnes says guests can enjoy the breathtaking view and also check out the structure’s beautiful, 4th Order Fresnel Lens in all its glory.

Attendees will have a chance to share their state park stories, as well, during the occasion.

“We want to hear the positive impact State Parks have had on you, and your family. Share your favorite story/stories of Tawas Point State Park, or any other Michigan State Park you have visited, as a part of the Centennial Celebration,” Barnes notes.

She advised that, with guests’ permission, their video snippet or written story could end up on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and/or the Friends group Facebook pages/websites.

“You are part of our history,” she stated.

According to Barnes, event goers may also get in on free games of corn hole, and enjoy ice cream floats at no charge.

“Back by popular demand, these delicious floats will be available in the event tent on the Lighthouse lawn, while supplies last,” she explained. “Through a special partnership with Friends of Historic Walker Tavern, you can taste the special root beer brew they have made famous.”

Also taking place in the event tent, beginning at 4 p.m., will be a meet-and-greet with Tawas native and award-winning watercolor artist, Mary Lou Peters, along with natural photography artist, Renee Kaiser Bird.

“Mary Lou designed and painted art prints of Tawas Point Lighthouse, which she donated to the Friends of Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park organization to use as note cards and holiday cards for a fundraiser to help with projects and events at the lighthouse and state park,” Barnes says.

“Mary Lou just painted a new watercolor to be used for this year’s note and/or holiday card printing – and will be unveiling that print at the event for all to see,” she continued.

“Mary Lou started this popular trend to help the Friends group raise funds,” Barnes went on. “And now Renee Kaiser Bird, whose photograph of the lighthouse has garnered the most likes on our Facebook page recently, is also kind enough to do the same thing with her photograph of the Lighthouse through the pines, which will be utilized in an upcoming note card printing.”

Barnes encourages visitors to stop by and meet both artists, as well as view their work.

She also urges the public to participate throughout the year in the Michigan State Parks Centennial Celebrations.

According to the MDNR, it was 100 years ago when the Michigan State Park Commission set the course for visitors to enjoy and explore four seasons of fun. May 12, 2019 officially marked the anniversary of state parks, and the MDNR has a yearlong celebration planned.

To recognize Michigan’s rich history and mark this milestone year, the MDNR has scheduled a series of special events, podcasts, historical stories, videos, geocaching and more. For further details about the various activities throughout the state, visit Michigan.gov/stateparks100. 

For more information about Friends of Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park, go to www.tawaslighthousefriends.com, check out the group’s Facebook page or send an e-mail to info@tawaslighthousefriends.com.

“Our nonprofit organization works to assist the Michigan History Center and DNR with various projects at the Tawas Point State Park and Lighthouse,” Barnes described of the group, which is an official partner of the Michigan State Parks Centennial.