Turn up the heat and grab your coffee, because this morning I’m going to tell you the very cold tale of Trenary.
Since 1993, this town of 554 has played host to the Trenary Outhouse Classic. According to The Trenary Outhouse Classic website, “Once you enjoy an outhouse race, you’ll have memories that you just can’t erase.” Ain’t that the truth! (www.trenaryouthouseclassic.com)
Other towns hold outhouses races, but very few during the winter with wind blowing fur hats sideways. Bringing in around 4000 spectators, the event is serious business for Trenary, an Upper Peninsula farming town of two bars, one flashing traffic light and a grocery store that posts snapshots of customers in its window. This year’s race is expected to raise $7,000 for new town welcome signs and other community projects through entry fees, souvenir sales and donations from the bars.
I was among the 4,000 souls braving the below freezing temps fighting for the privilege to stand along the 500-foot long by 10-foot wide track stretching between the First Lutheran Church and the Silver Dollar Bar on Trenary’s Main Street. One by one, 33 teams lined up at the start of the track as the hooting crowd waited to see them run by in a blur.
Some outhouses are very simple and some are so elaborate I may find them in somebodies backyard next week! The homemade outhouses are made of wood, cardboard, plastic, tape, grand piano crates, you name it somebody used it. The outhouses must have a toilet seat, a roll of toilet paper and be placed on skis. After being approved pairs of “pushers” race the clock as they propel the outlandish outhouses down the track one-by-one.
In addition to the races, Main Street Trenary provides for a day of the 4-F’s: Fun, Food, and Family Festivities. That includes the yearly best fur hat contest. I wondered why I saw so many exquisite furs. Not so much in the way of food and festivities though, unless I missed something. I don’t know how I could have in a one street town, but it could happen. I ate a large turkey leg from the town co-op specified as special event food.
Speaking of food, Trenary is best known for Trenary Toast. It’s made in the style of Finnish rusk bread. It’s then made into a crispy “toast” meant to be dunked into the hot beverage of your choice. I bought the cinnamon Trenary toast and dunked into a toasted marshmallow cappuccino. It was worth every calorie!
Check out photos at: http://emiling.com/photos/trenary-michigan/ and until next time, stay warm and stay on course.