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Step back in time

July 28, 2014
Renee Prusi - Journal Staff Writer ( , Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - Echoes of days past will be prominent in Ishpeming Saturday when the 15th annual Ishpeming Renaissance Festival takes place in Lake Bancroft Park, featuring authentic period performers and costumes inspired by times gone by.

In fact, Ginny Tippett - the current president of the planning committee who has been involved with the event since its inception - has noticed something in recent years.

"It's a very fun day as there really is something for everyone," she said. "But I have noticed something. In the beginning, people would come, walk through the festival, maybe grab something to eat and buy a little something, then leave.

Article Photos

One of Frank Castiglione’s metal sculptures on display at the Ishpeming Art Faire and Renaissance Festival at Lake Bancroft in Ishpeming. The photos were all shot in 2013. (Journal file photo by Zach Jay)

"Now we have people who come when we open and stay until we close. They are there for the whole day because there is so much going on."

This one-day event goes from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will include not only activity geared toward adults, but much fun for children, with Tina Brandel of Marquette serving as the youth activities coordinator.

"This is my third year as youth coordinator and I have probably being going to the festival for 10 years," Brandel said. "Originally I brought my day care children as I always want to expose them to different cultures and all sorts of fun things. The kids absolutely loved it so I wanted to become more involved."

A whole list of children's activities is part of the day.

"Everything for the kids is free because of the generosity of our sponsors," Brandel said. More sponsors are being sought and can contact Brandel at 249-9000 or 360-4568 to learn how they can help.

The children's activities include a bounce house that will be open from the start of the festival until the end.

"Throughout the day, kids can borrow costumes. We probably have about 50 or so costumes for kids to try," she said.

There will be games for children ages 3 and up as well. Probably the most popular part of the festival for the youngsters is the art project area.

"The kids will get to make their own magic wands. We had a little boy last year who spent so much time working on his. He took it so seriously, he spent hours on it," Brandel said. "It was beautiful when it was done."

A new craft project this year will no doubt draw many interested children.

"We're going to be making mini-catapults that will shoot marshmallows," she said.

B.G. Bradley, a longtime teacher in the NICE school district, will have a special storytime for kids at noon, based on Shakespeare's work.

"After the storytime, we'll have a kids parade," she said. "Last year we had 80 plus kids in the parade. Everybody gets a small gift at the end of the parade."

Also, thanks to the Marquette County Community Fund, there will be 128 books given away, most with princess and pirate themes, Brandel said.

A grant from the Michigan Tourism Bureau helps with the festival as well, Tippett said.

"Being able to have crafts for the children and the bounce house will give parents a chance to enjoy the music and other activities."

There will be a fight demonstration from the Society for Creative Anachronism at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., then at 11:15 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., samurai who come to Ishpeming all the way from Iowa will offer a fight demonstration as well. Dance demonstrations will be part of the festival as well.

"It's a very fun, family-oriented day," Tippett said. "We have tents set up for shade so if people want to just sit and listen to the music, they can."

Six food vendors and scores of craft vendors will be on site as well.

"We attract renaissance groups and vendors from all over the Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin," Tippett said. "And the businesses in the Ishpeming community have been so helpful to us."

At the same time as the festival is taking place, the Ishpeming Rock and Mineral Club will be having its annual show across the street at the Ishpeming Elks Lodge until 4:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

"We have run with them since the beginning and that's been wonderful," Tippett said.

The Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum has tours as well and is located not far away.

"It's a great opportunity for people to spend the whole day in Ishpeming having fun," she said.

For more information on the Ishpeming Renaissance Festival, visit

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.



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