Bologna Festival

UTR-Webmaster Episode 213

All my life people have been telling me I’m full of bologna. Finally, I found a place where I totally fit in. It was at the fantastically fun Bologna Festival in Yale, Michigan. For three days every July, this small town of two thousand turns into twenty thousand bologna-loving party-goers. If you’re wondering why they have a bologna festival there, they’ve been making bologna in Yale since 1906, so it’s a big part of the town’s identity. They love their bologna and the humor that comes along with it.

Yale, we discovered, is a great Michigan town. Like all festivals, behind all the formalities and festivities, it’s really all about community, and in Yale we met some of the nicest and most genuine people we’ve ever encountered.

Even though I’m full of bologna, my tank was getting low, so we headed over to the official bologna tent for a quick fill-up. They had bologna fried, in sandwiches and on a stick, just to name a few. You name it, and there was bologna in, on or around it. I probably don’t have to tell you that the bologna there was second to none, and that when we were finished, that’s exactly how much was left. None.

Like any good festival that goes back decades, there’s always a lot of tradition. At the Yale Bologna Festival they have a bologna toss, a bologna parade, they crown a bologna king and queen and they even presented me with the official ring of bologna to the city. But the one tradition I loved most of all had everyone running for the bathroom. Actually, they were running with the bathroom.

That’s right, as part of the Bologna festival, they actually race handmade, old fashioned outhouses right through the middle of town. It’s crazy, it’s weird and it’s an absolute blast. Teams are made up from the local high school, and the competition gets pretty fierce. They even let me ride in one, and even though I got a couple splinters where the Michigan sun don’t shine, riding in one of these outhouses was an insane blast. You won’t see a funnier or more exciting race anywhere.

We had a tremendous time at the bologna festival. The people were wonderful. The town was beautiful, and once I was full of bologna, I felt like my old self again.