ISHPEMING - Planning for the Ishpeming Fourth of July celebration is already in full swing, with a new special event set for this July 4.
Paul Bonetti, co-chair of the Ishpeming Fourth of July Committee, said the big change this year will be a stop by the Culpepper and Merriweather Circus at the annual community picnic at the Al Quaal Recreation Area on July 4.
"It's been a time-honored tradition," Bonetti said of the Ishpeming festivities. "That's when people like to get together with their families."
Spectators enjoy a previous year’s Independence Day fireworks at Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming. Plans and fundraising efforts for this year’s celebration are under way. (Journal file photo)
The one-ring circus will be set up at Al Quaal, west of the Birchview Elementary School, still leaving plenty of room for the other picnic and fireworks activities. The circus includes animal acts as well as other circus attractions such as jugglers, tightrope walkers and others.
The circus also serves as a fundraiser for the Fourth of July Committee through advanced ticket sales, which become available in June.
"The more advance tickets we sell, the more money we get to help pay for the fireworks," Bonetti said.
Traditionally the week surrounding the Fourth of July in Ishpeming includes a number of different events, all making up part of the holiday experience in Ishpeming.
The week begins this year on Tuesday, July 3 with the annual Ishpeming High School Alumni Association open house and the Ishpeming Business Association's Festival of Treasures in downtown Ishpeming. The Festival of Treasures fills Main Street with businesses and vendors, as well as Croatian chicken, live music with the Texaco Country Showdown and games for kids.
July 4 itself is packed full of activities, starting with the Firecracker 5K Race in the morning, followed by the traditional children's parade and full Fourth of July Parade through the city. The community picnic begins at noon, with two circus performances throughout the day.
And of course the community's fireworks display caps the evening.
On July 6, the committee also has a Fireworks Fundraiser Golf Outing, a four-person scramble that helps raise money for the fireworks display.
From July 1-4, the annual alumni softball tournament also takes place.
Each year the committee needs between $20,000 and $23,000 to put on the full celebration, including $8,500 for the fireworks display, Bonetti said.
In addition to the fundraising, the committee is also seeking volunteers to help pull the celebration off. Bonetti said it usually takes between 60 and 75 volunteers throughout the several days of the celebration. Those who are interested in donating some of their time can contact Bonetti at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401.