MARQUETTE - As usual, the last Friday of July will make downtown Marquette a bit blue.
On Friday, Washington Street will again be home to the annual Blueberry Festival, hosted by Marquette's Downtown Development Authority.
"We have a pretty wide variety of activities happening throughout the day," said Lizzie Corser, a marketing and administrative assistant with the DDA. "There's something for everyone."
This year, one of the festival's main draws is a center stage, located near the intersection of Washington and Front streets, which will play host to live music for most of the day.
Additionally, the festival will include a Beladinas dance performance and dance workshops sponsored by the Second Skin Shop and Kaufman Auditorium, as well as demonstrations of karate and medieval armed combat.
And, naturally, local businesses and vendors - there are 99 this year - will offer a plethora of blueberry-related deals and products.
Corser said many downtown shops will also host "blue specials," offering special deals either on the sidewalk or inside individual shops.
In addition to sidewalk sales and food and craft vendors, there will be pony rides and and inflatable games for children.
There will also be live music, sponsored by Northern Michigan University, in the Washington Street Pocket Park and the Lake Superior Youth Theatre will host a youth talent show.
Corser said the festival, which falls on the same weekend as Art on the Rocks, continues to grow in popularity annually. Those in the DDA expect nothing less this year.
"It's a great way to extend the weekend, with everything else that's going on Saturday and Sunday," she said.
On Friday, the winner of the festival's poster contest will be in the DDA booth, autographing prints of the festival poster. This year, Donica Hope Dravillas' photograph, "Pondering Blueberries," was selected as the contest winner.
Though the festival wraps up Friday evening, the focus on blueberries will continue into Saturday, when there will be a blueberry pie contest in the Marquette Commons during the Downtown Marquette Farmers and Artists Market.
Entrants don't need to register in advance, but must arrive by 10:30 a.m. Only amateur bakers may enter and market-related prizes will be awarded.
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.
2013 festival events
Free Dance Workshops
Synergy Fitness, 181 W. Bluff St.
Spirit Warrior Karate Academy Demonstration
10 a.m. and 5 p.m. - Washington Street
City Fire Truck on Display
10-11 a.m. and 1:30-3 p.m. - West Main Street
Youth Talent Show
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Center Stage at Washington, Front streets
Medieval Armored Combat Demonstration
2 p.m. - Washington Street
Beladinas Dance Performance
4-4:15 p.m. - Near Center Stage
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. - near Washington Street Pocket Park
"Blueberry Jam" music
Source: Marquette DDA