NEGAUNEE - Heikki Lunta needs a little more help doing his snow dance this year.
The Negaunee winter festival that bears the name of the Finnish "snow god," whose dancing is said to cause snow to fall, is set for this weekend, and organizers said they could use some more volunteers.
"We're getting to the point now where we're adding more events," said Don Gladwell, president of Negaunee's Irontown Association, which sponsors the annual event. "We're not asking for a whole lot of time."
Gerald Cox of Negaunee, left, helps Troy Richardson of Ishpeming untangle the line on a tip-up before baiting and setting it during the 2008 Heikki Lunta Winterfest fishing derby on Teal Lake in Negaunee. (Journal file photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)
Now in its 14th year, the festival boasts everything from community meals to fireworks to a fishing derby, and volunteers are key to making sure the events are run smoothly.
"A lot of the people would rather just attend (the festival)," Gladwell said. "Without volunteer assistance, these events would not happen."
If not enough volunteers step forward, the entire event falls on the shoulders of the Irontown Association board, made up of about 20 members, he said.
For this year at least, the Irontown Association is determined to hold the event because it gets the word out about U.P. culture and provides a bright spot in the long winter.
"We think it's something to do in the middle of winter," Gladwell said. "Now that the holidays are over, there's nothing to look forward to. Now we have this.
"Our heritage is what we're celebrating. We're trying to get the word out as to what the area is about."
A major event during this year's festival is the geocache and Walk Michigan event, sponsored by the Marquette County Health Department. Using GPS units, participants will walk, ski or snowshoe a two-mile trail to find treasure at precise locations around the Old Towne Festival Park. Geocache instructions will be provided and the top prize includes a weekend for two at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Geocaching is free and those wishing to participate can sign up between noon and 3 p.m. Sunday.
Other Heikki Lunta events include:
= 8 a.m. to 3p.m. - Teal Lake Fishing Derby, with pre-registration at the Holiday gas stations in Negaunee and Ishpeming, Chapper's and Buck's in Negaunee, Wilderness Sports in Ishpeming and Gwinn Bait & Tackle. The cost is $5 for adults and $1 for children 12 and younger. Day-of registration is available at Paisano's.
= 5 p.m. - Bonfires by Teal Lake
= 7 p.m. - Fireworks over Teal Lake
= 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Buffet breakfast at the Negaunee Eagles Clubhouse. Cost is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for children 12 and younger
=10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Blooper ball tournament. Cost is $10 per team.
= 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Keski-Tallven Juhlat (Mid-Winter Festival) in the Old Towne Festival Park and Negaunee Senior Center. Events include Geocaching with instructions from noon to 12:45 p.m., start of the race at 1 p.m. and prize distribution at 2:30 p.m. There will also be sledding and snow fort building, as well as a concession stand and live music.