Soberfest potluck held to offer young people alternatives to alcohol

HOUGHTON — Growing up in the Upper Peninsula, people tend to equate fun with drinking, said Deb Barna.

“Myself, I was raised in the Kingsford/Iron Mountain area, and there was nothing else to do, and I equated it with fun,” she said.

Barna is hoping to give children the message they can have fun without alcohol or drugs. She’s helping to organize the first Soberfest potluck, which will be from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Kestner Waterfront Park.

The event arose out of discussions about where young people who wanted to be sober could meet others like them, Barna said.

“We see it as something that would grow from this small four-hour event to something that would branch off into other young people get-togethers as well as family get-togethers,” she said.

The event will have family games such as beanbag toss, a goldfish fishing pond and a flick-a-chick hammer, where the prize goes to whoever can send it flying the farthest. The event will also have live music organized by students at Michigan Technological University.

“I think this could be a thing to take off in our community and spread off to who knows where,” Barna said. “I have some huge visions for this four-hour event. Who knows? It may not go anywhere, and it may go farther than I can conceive.”