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Lorenzo Cultural Center’s Tall Tales and Folklore: Exploring Michigan’s Traditional Stories moves to the waterfront

– Monday, March 20, 2017 9:00AM

The Great Lakes have long fascinated sailors and landlubbers alike. From stories of once-mighty ships meeting their doom to the songs sung by the sailors on board the grand vessels, tales of the lakes have shaped much of our state’s cultural heritage. The Lorenzo Cultural Center’s Tall Tales and Folklore: Exploring Michigan’s Traditional Stories moves its focus to the lakes’ edge, including:

  • Windjammers: Songs of the Great Lakes Sailors, March 30, 7 p.m. – In the days when schooners carried most of the trade and passengers on the Great Lakes, the boats were alive with song. Passage songs, work chanteys and story-songs of sinkings and disasters gave the lakes a vast, unwritten library. Author, journalist and Michigan State University Professor Joe Grimm shares stories and music collected in the last summer there was a commercial sailing vessel on the great lakes. 
  • The Gales of November: Disaster on the Great Lakes, March 31, 11 a.m. – The inland seas can create weather conditions as fierce and treacherous as any on the ocean. Most feared by freshwater mariners are the cyclonic weather systems that develop in autumn, known as the Gales of November. Joel Stone, senior curator for the Detroit Historical Society, discusses the legendary disasters and dispels some myths about these ferocious storms. 
  • Sand Dunes, Sawdust and Shipwrecks: Stories from the Sunset Shore, April 1, 1 p.m. – Larry Massie, author, storyteller and the first person to earn a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Historical Society of Michigan, tells true and unusual stories from the shores of Lake Michigan, including tales of warriors, explorers, voyagers, pioneers, ship captains, lumberjacks, sand dunes and passenger pigeons. 
  • The Edmund Fitzgerald Investigations, April 28, 1 p.m. – Shipwreck historian Ric Mixter, will discuss the largest shipwreck in the Great Lakes, the Edmund Fitzgerald. The Fitz became famous for the song, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, but Mixter shows that it is much more than that. He dove the wreck in 1994, has uncovered rare footage of the ship’s construction and interviewed others who have explored the wreck’s deep secrets. From the Coast Guard investigation to the final bell raising, Mixter recounts what has been learned from the famous shipwreck.

The Tall Tales and Folklore program series runs through May 6 and gives audiences a look at Michigan’s stories, both fact and fiction, with presentations on subjects ranging from Native American myths, songs from Michigan lumber camps, to examinations of various Michigan paranormal experiences. Exhibits include a traveling display from Michigan State University and numerous artifacts from other museums and local collectors.

The presentations and exhibits are open to the public at no charge, but preregistration is required for presentations by calling 586.445.7348 or by emailing  No registration is required to view the exhibits.  The Lorenzo Cultural Center is located on Macomb Community College’s Center Campus in Clinton Township and is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended hours on Thursday to 8 p.m.

A complete listing of Tall Tales and Folklore programming is available at:


About the Lorenzo Cultural Center

The Lorenzo Cultural Center ( provides interactive learning opportunities for all ages, extending student discovery beyond classroom walls and creating multi-faceted experiences for community members to explore the influences and experiences that shape our community’s heritage.

About Macomb Community College

Macomb Community College ( is one of the nation’s leading community colleges, providing learning experiences to nearly 40,000 students annually. Macomb nationally ranks in the top two percent in the number of associate degrees awarded by community colleges and is the largest grantor of associate degrees in Michigan. The college’s comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities.

 Media Contact: Sean M. Patrick, 586.445.7271,