18th Annual U.P.’s Pasty Fest Returns This August
When thinking of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, one thinks of snow, hiking, and pasties. What most Michiganders probably haven’t heard is the festival dedicated to this iconic U.P. food: Pasty Fest.
What is a pasty?
A Pasty is a traditional Cornish dish with the base of meat, potatoes, carrots, rutabaga, and onions all mixed into a nicely wrapped meal. It is somewhat similar to a pot pie, but the base of a pasty (in the U.P. anyway, most regions use skirt beef stock) is cheese while a pot pie is gravy. This hearty meal supplied nourishment to miners and their families regularly during the harsh seasons of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
With any festival comes many vendors, events, and games and Pasty Fest is no different.
Pasty Bake-off: Every year during pasty fest the focus of the event is probably the bake-off. With 100 visitors receiving ‘kits’ to track and mark each local vendor, they then return the kit to the vendor they believe to have had the best pasty. With so many local businesses selling pasties in the U.P. probably makes this a rough competition to judge.
Pasty Eating Competition: In previous years the eating competition has been to see how quickly an individual can finish a single pasty. With the return of the festival in 2021, they decided to change things up. Now, contestants must eat as many pasties possible in five minutes. With pasties designed to have a heavy base, this competition could get hard to watch.
In addition to the pasty-related events, the festival has a little something for everyone. They recently added the 400 Block Flea, which is a collection of local makers and sellers to create a makeshift flea market in the 400 Block area. They also have a car show with classic and cool cars for crowds to look at. To raise more money for local charities and organizations, a Great Deer Chase is held. This is a 15- or 30-mile bike race where adults and kids can both participate. If you would like to learn more about the festival, town of Calumet, or its history check out their website.