Pictured Rocks Days in June

People wait in line in June 2016 to take a cruise from the city dock in Munising to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. (Journal photo by Ryan Jarvi)

MUNISING — Pictured Rocks Days festival, hosted by the Alger County Chamber, is scheduled for June 10-11 at Bayshore Park in downtown Munising.

Also during that weekend, Pictured Rocks Cruises is hosting annual free cruises to Upper Peninsula residents.

The Pictured Rocks Days festival, which started in 2013, has grown to more than 6,500 attendees from across the Upper Peninsula, the Munising community and both international and domestic tourists.

“Combining our efforts with the Cruises has been a success for both us and the community. While people are waiting for their cruise, or before or after their ride, they can enjoy the festival and we have something for people of all ages,” said Kathy Reynolds, Alger County Chamber Executive Director.

The festival includes bands, nature shows, vendors, food, interpretive, demonstration and informational booths. This year they are also adding a petting zoo.

Reynolds said: “In 2012 we started with 60 vendors, last year we had almost 90 vendors and this year we expect the same. It is now the largest event in Munising, other than the July 4th celebration. As far as vendor participation it is the largest ever in Munising and Alger County. Year after year, the festival has been record-setting for Munising’s Bayshore Park. We started with a one-day event and the last few years it has grown to a two-day event. People that come make it a weekend-long excursion and there is something for people of every age and interest.

“Also, one of our biggest sponsors is the Munising Visitor’s Bureau. Without them, and the numerous other sponsors we have, this could not take place. Partnering up with a private business like the Cruises, and support from local businesses, this event has become a win-win for Munising. Planning an event like this usually starts around Christmas and vendors start registering in early January. In fact, we have people making vacation plans months ahead to be here that weekend for the event.”

John Madigan, the manager at Pictured Rocks Cruises, looks forward to the event.

“Providing this free cruise weekend for Upper Peninsula residents gives people that may not otherwise take the cruise the opportunity to do so,” he said. “After the first year the Chamber joined in with their festival, Pictured Rocks Days. Once that happened it drew even more people to Munising; whether they wanted to do the free cruise itself, go to the festival or do both. This combined effort with the Chamber has made Munising a destination for that second weekend of every June.”

The largest sponsor of the event, the Munising Visitors Bureau, has watched the growth.

Cori Gerou-Cearly, president of the Munising Visitors Bureau said: “Pictured Rocks Days is one of our community’s signature events and has something for everyone. The past few years’ attendance has increased steadily and the overall festival has grown. What started out as a one-day event, with no accompanying festival, has grown due to the partnerships in our community between the Chamber, Pictured Rocks Cruises, the Munising Visitors Bureau, private business sponsorships and the Downtown Development Authority.

“We are proud to support this event and to have the collaborations that have helped this community’s tourism flourish. We thank the Chamber and Pictured Rocks Cruises for their hard work and partnership.”

Anyone interested in taking the free cruise — a person must live in the Upper Peninsula — will find that, weather-permitting, cruises will depart every hour on the hour from the Munising City Pier on Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11 starting at 9 a.m. and running until 7 p.m.

Tickets will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis with a limit of 1,500 free tickets available per day. In order to obtain a free ticket, the individual must present in person a photo ID with an Upper Peninsula address at the Pictured Rocks Cruise ticket office those days. A child must be accompanied by a parent in the ticket office to receive a ticket. For more information about the free cruise visit the website at www.picturedrocks.com or call 800-650-2379.

For more information concerning Pictured Rocks Days festival events — including how to be a vendor — call the Alger County Chamber of Commerce at 906-387-2138 or visit www.algercountychamber.com or the organization’s Facebook and Twitter pages for a schedule and event news updates.