When Gerald R. Ford came to Mackinac Island as president in 1975, one of the things on his to-do list was, of course, to sample the world-famous fudge. Chocolate reigns as the most popular fudge flavor, yet the president went with vanilla pecan.
Which flavor of fudge would you choose? Maybe a visit during the Mackinac Island Fudge Festival can help you decide.
Mackinac Island is an island of many colors: Fall colors, colorful sunsets, microbrews of different hues and restaurant dishes with dashes of flair. It’s also home to the many colors and delicious flavors of world-famous Mackinac Island fudge.
Fudge is ever-present on the island, from spring to fall and in the offseason, too. But fudge really takes center stage each August during the annual Fudge Festival.
What’s there to celebrate and love about Mackinac Island fudge?
Let’s count the ways…
- There are 13 fudge stores on Mackinac Island…all within just a few hundred feet of each other!
- Those stores make 10,000 pounds of fudge each day. That’s a ton of fudge. Five tons, actually!
- Mackinac Island imports 10 tons of butter per year to support all the fudge-making and 10 tons of sugar per week during peak season!
Of course, the best reason to celebrate Mackinac Island fudge is that it tastes so sweet! So, come on up during the Fudge Festival and join the fun.
The festival features lots of fudge tasting, along with fudge-making demonstrations so you can see up close how Mackinac Island’s famous treat gets made. Plus, there are family games at Windermere Point including a Sugar Sack Relay Race and the Great Turtle Slow Ride. And at Mission Point Resort there’s a corn hole tournament with divisions for competitive and “social” players.
You can also enjoy a fudge ball (the kind with music where people get all fancy), free concerts in the park, specialty fudge-infused cocktails at many Mackinac Island restaurants and a fudge egg hunt in Marquette Park.
To understand why Mackinac Island has a corner on the fudge market, here’s the backstory. The gist of it is that people on vacation like to enjoy a sweet or two. And that has been true since Victorian travelers popularized Mackinac Island as a vacation destination way back in the 1800s.
Nowadays, indulging in the creamy decadence of fudge is just part of the Mackinac Island experience. In addition to chocolate, other favorite flavors include chocolate caramel, chocolate peanut butter, turtle and butter pecan, according to The Original Murdick’s Fudge, which opened Mackinac Island’s first candy store back in the 1880s.
And there are many, many more – cherry fudge, pumpkin fudge, cranberry fudge…the list goes on. Each flavor has its own unique color and taste that will bring joy to your mouth!
Come to the island, taste a bunch of free samples, and you’ll become a fudge expert. In the meantime, here are a few more fun facts about world-famous Mackinac Island fudge, so you know what to expect when you get here:
- On Mackinac Island, a favorite pastime is to watch the fudge being made. For generations, fudge shops have made a public show of pouring a piping hot liquid mix of ingredients onto marble slabs and then working it into solid fudge as it cools.
- Don’t think you’re hungry for fudge? Ryba’s Fudge pioneered the brilliant practice of using fans to waft the irresistible scent of fudge into the street and many Mackinac Island fudge shops still do it today. Mackinac Island fudge shops still do it today.
- About 500 people are year-round residents of Mackinac Island. To them, the hundreds of thousands of people who visit Mackinac Island are affectionately known as “fudgies.”
MORE ON FUDGE: How Mackinac Island became fudge capital of the world