MARQUETTE - Thousands of people made their way to downtown Marquette Friday to take part in the 11th Annual Blueberry Festival.
With more than 90 vendors set up along Washington and Front streets, there was no shortage of things to do and see.
Vendors offered a wide array of food, jewelry, crafts and furniture. Inflatable games and pony rides were also available for some of the younger patrons of the festival.
Aubree Blackburn, 4, of Marquette, rides Blaze the pony during the 11th Annual Blueberry Festival in downtown Marquette on Friday. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)
Farmer Q's Market employee Chris Torp restocks the blueberry display at the festival, which drew thousands of people to the downtown area. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)
Team Awesome, comprised of Heather Evans, left and Gretchen McKenzie, play for a large crowd during the 11th annual Blueberry Festival in downtown Marquette. In addition to a number of local musicians, the festival nearly 100 vendors. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)
But what would the blueberry festival be without plenty of blueberry-themed events.
This year's festival included a blueberry festival dance at Ringside Fitness, a blueberry golf outing hosted by Northern Michigan University and a pie-eating contest at Upfront and Company. In addition, a blueberry pie baking contest is set for today at the Commons during the Marquette Farmers Market.
Susan Brian, co-owner of Farmer Q's Market in downtown Marquette, said the number of people stopping by the festival was huge compared to recent years.
"It's been a great day," Brian said, adding that she was glad she had extra blueberries on hand. "I think we're going to not run out (of blueberries) today, which is good. I think I bought enough."
Brian said the extra vendors were most likely the reason the festival was such a big success this year, as three rows of vendors lined Washington and Front Streets in downtown Marquette, instead of the typical two.
"It's way bigger this year than it's ever been," she said.
Families, couples and people of all ages gathered downtown to take part in the festivities, enjoying blueberry beer, blueberry muffins and blueberry pizza.
Sue Blackburn of Marquette made a stop at the Lone Oaks Pony Rides, owned by Raynor Johnson of Greenwood, with her 4-year-old granddaughter Aubree Blackburn.
As the youngster rode, other children enjoyed inflatable games, cotton candy, kettle corn and a host of other tasty treats.
Plenty of local musicians took the stage on Front Street, as well, with Union Suits, Jim & Ray , Les Ross Sr., Team Awesome, Flat Broke Blues Band and Shotgun Kelli & The State 51 Band performing.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org