Speaker & Performer: Mike Fornes

Speaker (Mackinac Bridge and U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw) and Performer (The Gordon Lightfoot Tribute)

Mike Fornes has covered the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw and the Mackinac Bridge for more than 20 years for several Northern Michigan media outlets, including radio and television stations and the Cheboygan Daily Tribune. A resident of Mackinaw City, he enjoys scuba diving and sailing among his interests in the Straits of Mackinac area. He gives tours of the Mackinac Bridge and other Northern Michigan attractions from motorcoaches, cruise boats and shore-based presentations. He offers two types of programs for groups: one is a lecture about either the Mackinac Bridge or the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw, and the other is a multimedia musical presentation about the culture of Northern Michigan through the music of Gordon Lightfoot.

Mackinaw & Mackinac with Author Mike Fornes

Each presentation is about 60 to 75 minutes in length and is based on one of his three books:

• “USCGC Mackinaw—An Illustrated History of a Great Lakes Queen”

Meet the captains, crewmembers and families of those who served aboard the “Mac” and read their stories of life while assigned to the giant icebreaker. Travel through the ship’s intricate passageways and see photos of the systems that made the Mackinaw so unique. Enjoy chapter after chapter of ice-breaking stories, ship’s history, and first-person accounts of duty aboard the original Mackinaw (WAGM3). Includes more than 240 vintage and historic black and white and color photos from alt eras of the ship’s service.

• “Mackinac Bridge—A 50 Year Chronicle 1957-2007” (A 2008 Michigan Notable Book Winner)

Since opening to traffic on November 1, 1957, the Mackinac Bridge has seen much more than the millions of vehicles that have crossed its five-mile span. America’s longest suspension bridge has withstood gale-force winds, the pressure of crushing ice flows, and blinding snowstorms. It has been struck by lightning and hit by an airplane and a ship—yet still stands as perhaps the safest five miles of I-75. Take a trip through the first 50 years of the bridge’s history and you’ll experience unusual cross¬ings, triumph, and tragedy. Parades of vehicles and pedestrians have crossed over the Mackinac Bridge and flotillas of ships have passed under it. Hear the stories, see the photos, and meet the people who have made this engineering wonder a symbol of the State of Michigan.

• “Images of America: Mackinac Bridge”

On November 1, 1957, traffic officially opened on the Mackinac Bridge. That was the culmination of 70 years of talking and reaming about a straits bridge, of discouraging attempts for legislative and congressional approval, of efforts to raise the funds, and finally of a three-year construction program necessary for the world’s longest and costliest (to date) suspension bridge. Michigan’s greatest symbol is expertly maintained, fully funded, and amaz¬ingly resilient to the many forces and factors of man and nature that have failed to seriously affect its status as the lone highway link between Michigan’s two main peninsulas. The “miracle bridge” at the Straits of Mackinac truly allows a view that epitomizes the state motto of Michigan, “Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice,” or “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.”

The Gordon Lightfoot Tribute

Fornes  presents a multimedia, musical program about “Up North” culture, sentiment, and moods through the lyrics and music of Gordon Lightfoot. Be ready for a visual, acoustic trip from the Great Lakes to the Canadian Rockies; through the pains of lost loves and haunting melodies. Featuring the hit songs “Sundown,” “Beautiful,” “Carefree Highway,” “Rainy Day People,” “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Canadian Railroad Trilogy,” “The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald,” and more.

He is now booking one-hour presentations for libraries, historical societies, women’s clubs, and arts councils. Available for afternoon and evening performances, after-dinner entertainment and special occasions, this solo stage show is adaptable to any size venue or audience.

Please visit www.lightfoottribute.com for more information and/or to view demo.

Fees: $250 per program (all equipment provided by artist)

For available dates, contact:
Mike Fornes
(231) 436-5050


Historical Society of Michigan 7435 Westshire Dr., Lansing MI 48917
Email hsm@hsmichigan.org | Phone (517) 324-1828 | Fax (517) 324-4370

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