Pasty fest returns to the Upper Peninsula, but no gravy

Associated Press

Calumet, Mich. – A festival dedicated to the most famous food of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula returned to a small town after a year off due to the coronavirus.

Sean Nichols won the pasty-eating contest by eating nearly three Saturday in Calumet. People in pasty costumes marched during a parade. And a local curling club rolled rutabagas, The Daily Mining Gazette reported.


People in pasty costumes march, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, during the pasty festival in Calumet, Mich., an event that was canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus.

“The rutabagas are all misshapen, so getting them to stop was hard,” Jared Maggio said of the vegetable. “It was a spectacle, but it was fun.”

Calumet, population roughly 750, is known for its copper mining history, and pasties were commonly eaten by miners. They typically are made with meat and potatoes stuffed into a crust.

During the pasty-eating contest, the six participants could use water or ketchup.

“You’re not going to use gravy because that’s an abomination in my eyes,” said organizer Rebekka Mikkola.

Nichols was stuffed.

“The second and third ones I was given – they were double the size of the first one,” he said.