1st BridgeFEAST held underneath downtown parking deck

HOUGHTON – The Houghton Rotary BridgeFEAST takes place for the 30th consecutive year on June 19 and 20, and in that time it’s gone through some changes, according to Eli Karttunen.

In an e-mail to the Gazette, Karttunen, who is co-chair for this year’s BridgeFEAST, said the event began as a parallel event to Bridgefest.

“The earliest Seafood Fests were underneath the parking deck in downtown Houghton, and really must have been quite a different look and feel than down at the park,” he said. “It really was started to be our largest fundraising event of the year and also to provide the community with an event they can gather together for, and what a better time than Bridgefest weekend.”

For the first 28 years, Karttunen wrote, the Seafood Fest didn’t use vendors to supply the food. It was done by Rotarians who made the meals.

“The menu over the years included everyone’s favorites, (including) fresh live lobster, Alaskan king crab legs, ‘shrimp on the barbie,’ lake trout, clam chowder, oysters, and many others,” he wrote. “In 2014, we brought in vendor partners, including The Library, Habaeros, Fitzgerald’s, and MTU Dining Services along with the Rotary club to serve up menus.”

This year, Karttunen said MTU Dining Services won’t be supplying food, but they will supply technical assistance.

Karttunen wrote Rotary members are proud to keep the event going each year, despite the name changes and the changes in who’s supplying the food.