MARQUETTE - It's the time of year when music wafts out between the trees of Marquette's Tourist Park as the 35th Annual Hiawatha Festival gets into full swing.
The annual traditional music festival began Friday evening with a get acquainted dance. Festival attendees got a chance to learn to square dance to the sounds of Craver, Hicks, Watson, Newberry featuring Tom T. Ball.
Last year, around 2,500 people attended the festival and it's expected to increase this year to close to 4,000 people, said festival coordinator Susan Divine.
Gigi Davis of Kalamazoo dances with her grandchildren Max Davis, 3, and Juniper Davis, 1, in the dance tent during the first night of the 35th Annual Hiawatha Music Festival Friday at Tourist Park in Marquette. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
The band Craver, Hicks, Watson, Newberry featuring Tom T. Ball play in the dance tent during the first night of the 35th Annual Hiawatha Music Festival Friday at Tourist Park in Marquette. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
"We've had an increase of 25 percent in ticket sales already, so we're expecting a big crowd for our 35th anniversary," she said.
The storms that ripped through the area the past couple of days haven't put a damper on the festival and the weather outlook for the weekend is good, Divine said.
"We're very thankful that the storms have come and gone," she said. "We had some people wait to put up their campers and tents last night and slept in their cars, but the rest of the weekend looks to be sunny. Not too hot and not too cold. Perfect festival weather."
Some of the musical highlights this year are Solas, Bonsoir Catin, Rootstand and Friday night's dance band. Local bands performing this year include the Door Cats and Sparrow Tree, who will be conducting a workshop for teens today.
"The music is the main attraction for people," Divine said. "We have a wide variety of traditional music."
The Hiawatha Music Festival isn't just for adults but for the whole family to enjoy, Divine said. There are plenty kid and teen activities throughout the weekend from today's tie dye, hemp and henna workshop for teens to a children's parade on Sunday.
"It's a family atmosphere here," Divine said. "We have plenty of activities for all ages to enjoy."
The Hiawatha Music Festival runs through Sunday with the last performance starting at 9:05 p.m. Tickets for the weekend are $80 for adults, seniors and teens and $5 for children. Single-day tickets are $50 for adults, seniors and teens and $5 for children. For more information on the festival and performances visit hiawathamusic.org.
"I hope that people have a wonderful weekend at the festival and go away with many new happy memories," Divine said.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. Her email address is email@example.com.