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Photo by Harbor Springs Area Historical Society

Shay Days in Harbor Springs

July 12th-13th, 2024

The Harbor Springs Area Historical Society presents Shay Days, a celebration of inventor Ephraim Shay and his contributions to the Harbor Springs community. In addition to his geared locomotive that made him famous, Ephraim Shay (1839-1916) designed and built the Harbor Springs Water Works, a stamped-steel building called the Hexagon House, and a steel yacht called the Aha.

The family-friendly, two-day Shay Days features small scale live steam locomotives in Shay Park, kids games and self-guided tours of the Shay Hexagon House, crafts at the Harbor Springs History Museum, and more. Bring your whole family to enjoy this special celebration of Ephraim Shay’s genius and to learn more about how Shay’s inventions shaped Harbor Springs.

Here's the typical schedule for the event:


  • 10:15am – Lumber Camp Story time for kids with musician Bill Jamerson.


  • 11am-2pm – Log Hewing Demonstration by Kyle Bagnall of the Mackinac State Historic Parks.

Friday & Saturday

  • 10am-3pm – Meet the Michigan Small Scale Live Steamers, a group of model train experts who run a demonstration of their locomotive models. Shay Park- E. Main St., Harbor Springs
  • 10am-3pm – Kids crafts, games, and STEAM projects will take place under a tent in Shay Park both days. These include many train-themed projects, a “penny float” boat experiment, and a “drainpipe regatta” where visitors can put together their own sailboats and race them.
  • 10am-3pm – Visit the 2nd floor of the Harbor Springs History Museum at 349 E. Main St., Harbor Springs, to speak with members of the Northern Michigan Railroad Club.
  • 10:30am – “In Shay’s Day” walking tour, beginning at the History Museum on Main Street, follows some of the railroad grade of the historic Hemlock Central railway. Advance registration is appreciated by calling (231) 526-9771.

Experience Harbor Springs

From spring days with a landscape covered in trillium to a summer afternoon on the beach or water, Harbor Springs is the place. Read the stories below or go to the Harbor Springs destination page.

Stay tuned for information on Shay Days 2024!

For more information on the Shay Days, please contact the event organizer:

Harbor Springs Area Historical Society

349 E. Main St., Harbor Springs, MI, 49740

(231) 526-9771

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