Nestled in the
northeast part of the lower peninsula, about
an hour from the Mackinaw Bridge (via two-lane
roads), Posen hasn't yet found it's way
onto any tourist map.
Home of the Posen Potato
Festival, this tiny town (population 292
as of the 2000 census) is settled mostly
by Polish folks, who came to the area around
1870. The town is named after Poznan,
a region in Poland. (One wonders if
it's about as cold there, too.)
The Posen Potato
This has been held annually
for over 50 years. The Festival features
(what else?) potatoes. More importantly,
however, it provides a slice of authentic
Polish tradition, including traditional
dress, polkas, crafts and the like. It's
usually held in early September, attracting
people from the region.
Posen in Santa,
Posen plays a significant
role in the novel. Without giving
the story away, a good portion of the latter
part of the book takes place in Posen. And
here the author (that's me) needs to apologize
to the hard- working folks in the village
and surrounding area for any liberties taken
with respect to locations and characters.
Posen people in the novel are entirely fictitious
(aside from the general fact that I make
them Polish--how could I not?).
Photo courtesy of
Ken Huisjen, MultiMag, Inc.
events are of course fictitious, excepting
the general outline of the Potato Festival
itself. There is no Boxcar Bar or
Ida's Place, and I don't know whether the
Posen folks serve pasties, which are more
of an Upper Peninsula food. While
much of the activity in this part of the
book takes place in the Boxcar Bar, this
isn't meant to imply that Posen folks spend
a great deal of time in any tavern -- it's
a necessary vehicle to drive home some very
serious issues Santa faces (not to be coy,
but those who've read the book will understand).
The Historical Marker
But the historical marker --
ahh, now, that's different. Yes, the
historical marker does exist, and the words
used in the novel are the words on the marker
itself. There is no bench, though,
that I know of (unless one has been installed
very recently). The photo shows the
marker and lamppost clearly.
A Salute to Posen!
Well, maybe Posen won't get onto anyone's
travel list as a result of this exposure.
But I'd like to make it clear that
I enjoyed my brief visit and have nothing
but respect for the hard- working folks
who make the village a going concern. Here's
to another 50 years of Potato Festivals!
Follow That Sleigh!
Here are some links of interest in the
© 2004 David Soubly