Boyne City’s Norfolk is historical family fun

norfolk webBeth Gohs
Staff Writer
This Aug. 15 through 17, a portion of Boyne City will be transformed by the Norfolk Harvest Festival into a time when blacksmiths were common, and yarn spindles were the latest technology.
Now in its fourth year, the three-day festival features a lineup of traditional demonstrations, activities and interactive fun in Veterans Park.
“Some of the newer events are GNN, live scale demonstrators and reenactors and they actually do live scale engagements and historical tutorials,” said event coordinator and spokesman Jon Bautel of Boyne City. “After each engagement, or during each engagement, they start to tell people about … the weapons and how they were used and some fun facts about what the battles were like.”
The Norfolk Harvest Festival is a portrayal of interactive living history ranging from the Medieval to Colonial periods, consisting of day-to-day living, as well as demonstrations with tents and structures depicting life in a new trading settlement.
The public is encouraged to interact with the reenactors, and ask questions about their activities and demonstrations.
Local bands will contribute to the weekend’s events with music illustrating the time period.
Some activities will include live steel fighting demonstrations, games such as King’s Corners (tablut) and kub, period-style archery competitions and for children there will be performances and balloon twisting on Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
Those who intend to vend, and want to reserve a spot, can contact Bautel at (231) 582-1063 or by e-mail at
“If they want to come up and vend it’s $25 for the whole weekend,” Bautel said. “We’ll make room but the only stipulation is we only want people that make handcrafted goods. We don’t want commercial goods in there, nothing like Joanne Fabric beads. We want real artisans crafts just because it keeps with the theme.”
He added, “If there was a tent of someone doing hand-punch tin stuff, that would be cool. We don’t have any of those people.”
Donations of non-perishable food items and clothing for those in need will be accepted and greatly appreciated for local food pantries. Each year the board for the Norfolk Harvest Festival gives money raised from donations through the festival to a local charity.
The Family of the Five Lakes is a group of local reenactors dedicated to the spreading of knowledge of past crafts and lifestyles, as well as promoting the local community.
It is their hope that the attending public will come away from this event with a knowledge which promotes interest in the time periods portrayed, and a desire to learn more.