Heikki Lunta is back
By RANDY CROUCH
Journal Staff Writer
MARQUETTE — Preparations are underway in the city of Negaunee as officials continue the tradition of honoring the snow god.
The 2023 Heikki Lunta Winter Festival will return during the first weekend of February.
On Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3-4, the city of Negaunee has a jam-packed weekend full of outdoor winter activities planned for this year’s version of the Heikki Lunta festival.
Festivities get underway at 5 p.m. Friday, with the lighting of the traditional bonfire, which will be followed by the second annual Irontown Rail Jam. The rail jam is a competiton that sees snowboarders and skiers performing aerial tricks and other maneuvers. Cash prizes will be available for those placing first, second and third in the event. Details for Rail Jam registration can be found online at the city of Negaunee’s website and Facebook page.
Other events planned for Friday include a fish fry at the Eagles Club from 5-7 p.m., and snowshoe lantern tours of downtown Negaunee from 6-7 p.m. Starting at 6 p.m., the Upper Peninsula Luge Club will be hosting public sliding at Lucy Hill. More information can be found online at www.UPluge.com.
Saturday events get going early, with the 2023 Teal Lake Ice Fishing Derby, presented by the South Shore Fishing Association. The yearly tournament is a staple of Heikki Lunta and features prizes in several different categories, including the grand prizes of $150 for longest walleye and longest perch. There are categories for adults and kids.
The tournament goes from 7 a.m. until the final weigh-in at 2 p.m.
Registration for the derby will take place Friday from 5-7 p.m. at Jackson’s Pit in Negaunee and the day of the tournament from 6:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. at the Teal Lake boat launch. Registration is $10 per person and $20 for those participating in the team event.
Other Saturday events include a Finnish pancake breakfast at the Eagles starting at 8:30 a.m. At 10 a.m. the Ishpeming Ski Club will be hosting an open house.
Starting at 1 p.m., the All School Art Show will feature exhibits from local students at St. Paul’s Gym. The art show is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.
Cyclists can get involved with the Freeze Yer Fanny Fatbike Race, which gets underway at 5:30 p.m. The race is put on by UPCROSS, a nonprofit group that organizes cyclocross races throughout the Upper Peninsula, with proceeds benefiting biking in the region.
More information can be found at www.upcross.us.
The weekend wraps up with the yearly Heikki Lunta fireworks display, starting at 9 p.m. The fireworks are sponsored by Jackson’s Pit and Tino’s Pizza.
“We’re inviting everyone to come out and enjoy the festivities and to see what Negaunee has to offer,” said Negaunee City Manager Nate Heffron. “Heikki Lunta is a unique experience during the middle of winter. People who have been stuck in the house can come out for a good time with us.”
A full schedule of events will be published in the coming days on the Negaunee Downtown Development Authority website at www.cityofnegaunee.com.
Randy Crouch can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. His email address is email@example.com.