Atlanta Elk Festival to begin

ATLANTA – The 29th Annual Atlanta Elk Festival is taking place today through Sunday in downtown Atlanta with many unique events scheduled throughout the weekend.

The festival will have a beer and activities tent open every evening starting today at 7 p.m. with a band each night. Admission to the tent is an Elk Festival button.

“The buttons are $2 each and are good for admission into the tent every night,” chamber Trustee Mary Dugas said. “If someone is caught without a button on, they can be thrown in jail, and may have to pay or sing a song to get out.”

There will be a grand parade through downtown tonight at 6 p.m. with floats, area businesses and local entries. The band Phunk Shway will play in the festival tent tonight and Saturday night, and the Over the Hill Band will round out the weekend playing on Sunday afternoon.

“We have vendors open every day,” Dugas said. “The Atlanta Eagles 4077 will have bingo in the pavilion on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The whole weekend is full of activities.”

Saturday’s events include a pet parade, kids fishing contest, adult lawn tractor races and an auction at 12:30 p.m. on the west side of town put on by the chamber of commerce.

There will be a bump and run race at the county fairgrounds just outside of town at 4 p.m. sponsored by the Atlanta Sports Boosters and the Montmorency County Fair Board. Anyone interested in racing should contact the fair board for more information.

Sunday is all about the kids. There will be tricycle races, the popular ping-pong ball sky drop, pizza and pie eating contests, a rubber chicken toss and the elk nugget (ping-pong ball) river race. The river race costs $3 for one numbered “nugget” or $5 for two nuggets.

“The river race is always fun,” Dugas said. “They place their ping pong balls in the river and race down to the dam to see who won. The kids really enjoy it.”

There also will be a free drawing for a girls, boys and adult bicycle over the weekend, and anyone interested in entering can pick up the free tickets in the chamber office.

“This festival is really unique,” Dugas said. “It celebrates the elk we have here in Michigan, and is held about the time they start bugling. We like to keep a small-town feel to the festival every year, and keep the games and activities special, like our greased pig contest for the kids and the rubber chicken toss. It’s just plain old fun.”

For more information about the Elk Festival visit the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce to pick up a detailed event brochure, or call the chamber at 785-3400.

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.