MARQUETTE - Especially in a struggling economy, finding fun activities close to home, including Marquette's annual festivals, can not only be good for consumers, but also provide an important economic boost for the area.
Recently, Marquette was again home to Blueberry Festival, the Outback Art Fair and Art on the Rocks, while this past weekend, Ishpeming hosted the annual Art Faire and Renaissance Fest, the Upper Peninsula Gem and Mineral Show and a Marquette Township organized a Community Celebration involving the rededication of Lions Field.
This is only a small sampling of the activities offered in the local area throughout the course of the season and the calendar year. This month there will be additional festivals and events heading into autumn with the annual Rotary Seafood Food Festival in Marquette, Suicide Mud Plunge in Ishpeming and in September, the Marquette Area Blues Festival at the Mattson Lower Harbor Park.
A musician plays guitar at Blues Festival. (Journal file photos)
Michael Coglan shows off some of his sword work at the Renaissance Festival. (Journal file photos)
A vendor shows how he creates carvings at Art of the Rocks. (Journal file photos)
Two lobsters are ready to be boiled at Seafood Festival. (Journal file photos)
Stephen A. Berglund, owner of Granite Glass Creations of Iron Mountain, discusses his handcrafted stone lampshades Ted Saari of Victorville, Calif., at the annual Upper Peninsula Gem and Mineral show at the Ishpeming Elks Club. (Journal file photo)
The Upper Peninsula Travel and Recreation Association in Iron Mountain maintains an impressive list of U.P. festival and other events at its website at: www.uptravel.com/events-6/.
From St. Ignace to Hessel to Newberry and Hancock and Curtis, there are events occurring on most every weekend, especially during the summer travel season. This says nothing of the number of county fairs which provide great fun for area residents across the region in August, including the Upper Peninsula State Fair in Escanaba.
The Marquette Country Convention and Visitors Bureau in Marquette uses a thumbnail estimate of roughly $3 million in economic impact to the greater Marquette area in each July alone.
In addition to Independence Day celebrations, July also includes Pioneer Days and other events, including the Blueberry Festival, during what is usually some of the best weather for tourists to travel to the region.
The Marquette Country Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates festivals alone contribute at least $9 million to the Marquette area economy.
People also travel to the region, or stay close to home, for many other activities the area has to offer including hiking, berry picking, sightseeing, hunting, birdwatching, biking, camping, fishing and photography.
Wintertime brings a whole other list of local events and activities, largely focusing on, or celebrating, significant aspects of the area including, traditional sports or activities.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.