MARQUETTE - The sky may have been overcast, but the atmosphere at the inaugural Baraga Harvest Festival was bright and cheery as hundreds of people turned out for the event.
Hosted by the Marquette Downtown Development Authority, the celebration was scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. on the 100 block of Baraga Avenue, which was closed to traffic.
"We've been wanting to do an event on Baraga Avenue for a while, and we wanted to bring back another fall event," said DDA marketing and administrative assistant Lizzie Corser. "We used to have the October Arts Stroll and a few others, but we wanted a big fall event downtown, so this was a great way to showcase the downtown businesses on Baraga Avenue and throughout the rest of the district."
Lucy Anthony holds up 2-year-old daughter Jordyn so she can get a better view of a traditional cider press during the inaugural Baraga Harvest Festival in downtown Marquette Saturday afternoon. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)
Marquette Baking Company Pastry Chef Rosemary Fields demonstrates how to make the perfect pie crust during the Baraga Harvest Festival Saturday afternoon. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)
Among the businesses to participate in the event were Everyday Wines with beer and wine tastings, Breakers Roadhouse with an outdoor beer-and-liquor garden and Marquette Baking Company, Dead River Coffee Company and Garden Bouquet and Design hosting a tea-and-dessert tent.
The event also highlighted music from the State 51 Band and Plaid Billy Goats, with space available to do some street dancing.
Activities for young kids hosted by the Upper Peninsula Children's Museum and the Marquette Regional History Center were abundant as well, with a historical croquet obstacle course, a beanbag toss, cornhusk doll-making and bobbing for candy, apples and cookies.
Garden Bouquet and Design was also helping kids create recycled paper flowers.
But the biggest draw for the kids was the oversized "Big Wheels Petting Zoo" that showcased big trucks used in various types of work, including a Marquette Board of Light and Power truck, Marquette city fire engines and Marquette County Road Commission snow plows.
The kids were able to clamber up inside the big machines and see what it feels like to be behind the wheel, with representatives from each organization explaining how the trucks are used.
Corser said the first-ever Baraga Harvest Festival was shaping up to a be success and the DDA was looking forward to continuing the program next year.
"The event showcases that eclectic mix of businesses on Baraga Avenue, bringing people down to this end of the district," Corser said. "But above all, it's just been wonderful to see that sense of community and collaboration between all of the businesses and all of the organizations that came together to make this happen."
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.