Annual Mackinac Bridge Walk draws massive crowds

Over 35,000 people crossed the Mackinac Bridge on foot, September 4, for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Mackinac Bridge Walk is an annual event that celebrates Labor Day. The walk is held on the Mackinac Bridge, the third-longest suspension span in the United States, which spans the Straits of Mackinac connecting the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. The event has been held for over 60 years, and attracts thousands of people from all over the world.

According to the Mackinac Bridge Authority, around 35,000 people participated in the 2023 walk, making it the largest crowd since 2016. The walk started at 7 a.m. and lasted until noon. Governor Gretchen Whitmer was among those walking the fivemile suspension bridge. Participants could start walking after the Governor’s party kicked it off.

The Mackinac Bridge Walk is a unique opportunity for pedestrians to cross the bridge, which is usually reserved for vehicles. Participants could start walking from either side of the bridge – St. Ignace or Mackinaw City – and walk to the midpoint of the bridge before turning back. Some participants continue walking the entire bridge on foot or in wheelchairs, hundreds of feet above the deep blue below at the exact spot that Lakes Michigan and Huron meet.

The walk was started in June 1958, during the bridge’s dedication ceremony, led by Governor G. Mennen Williams. Only 68 people walked across the bridge the first year and the walk was soon moved to Labor Day in 1959.

The highest number of walkers to cross the bridge on food occurred in 1992, when then-President George H. W. Bush crossed the straits with 85,000 others.