Time to gear up for Fourth of July festivities

It’s almost the end of June, which means a couple of things. First, it’s now officially summer! Second, the Fourth of July is coming up next week. Third, mosquitos. Lots of mosquitos. The Fourth of July is always a fan favorite in the U.P. As usual, we have a lot to look forward to in Ishpeming to celebrate this holiday.

The festivities begin with the 40th annual Ishpeming Alumni Softball Tournament on July 2. This event is a long-running tradition, claiming to be the “World’s Oldest Running Alumni Softball Tournament.” To see the bracket, visit the Ishpeming 4th of July Facebook page.

On July 3, head down to Main Street in Ishpeming for the Festival of Treasures from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy a variety of local artisans, businesses and other vendors with merchadise and edibles for sale along with music all day. If you’re interested in being a vendor, you have until July 1 to register. Head to the Ishpeming Community Events Facebook page to find the vendor application. July 3 is also when the 19th annual Westwood Alumni Softball Tournament begins, and you can find that bracket on the Westwood Alumni Softball Tournament Facebook page. At 7:30 p.m., make sure to get back to downtown Ishpeming to see the iconic Blue Notes play live. The beating of their drums is all you need to stir up the patriotism within.

As we all know, July 4 is Independence Day itself, America’s 243rd birthday. The day begins with the Firecracker 5K Race at 7:30 a.m. at Al Quaal Recreation Area. The Daryl Champion Kids’ Parade kicks off at 10 a.m., with the 40th annual Ishpeming Fourth of July Parade to follow at 10:30 a.m. Look out for GINCC volunteers on the street before the parade selling 50/50 raffle tickets! Proceeds will benefit GINCC and the Ishpeming Fourth of July Committee. The parade theme for 2019 is “Celebrating 100 Years of the American Legion,” the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization. Head to Al Quaal Recreation Area after the parade for the Community Picnic. Enjoy various food vendors and an all new kids’ zone, including relay races, face painting, and many new games from noon to 7 p.m. A free bounce house for kids will be up from 2-8 p.m., donated by GINCC! Live music from the Carp River Barn Band will take place from 3-6 p.m., with Flat Broke Blues Band set to play from 6-10 p.m. Right after the alumni games finish around 5 p.m., middle and high school kickball games will begin in the softball area. To end the day with a literal bang, catch the fireworks at dusk!

The Fourth of July has always been my favorite holiday. I live for summertime in the Upper Peninsula, and to me there is no better feeling than family and friends getting together to make the most of it and celebrate. The older I get, the quicker it creeps up on me. That’s not such a bad thing however, as it makes me realize just how fleeting and special of a time it is. With that realization, I get an even deeper appreciation for it. Happy Independence Day to all!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Gabi Kautz is the communications & marketing assistant for GINCC. She currently resides in Ishpeming. She enjoys traveling, yoga and photography.