Jazz Central back at Central Mine

Music festival being held Friday

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette The kitchen of the 19th century Central Mining Company-built miner’s home has been fully modernized to accommodate vacationists who want to rent the house. At the same time, the kitchen, as well as the rest of the house, retain the full richness of its historical context.

KEWEENAW COUNTY — The third annual Jazz Central music festival is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at Central Mine, just off of U.S. 41 in Keweenaw County. The event will take place in the main parking lot near the visitor’s center.

Jazz Central will feature live music by Denny McKaig and the Bluffs Orchestra; Mike Irish and Uncle Pete’s All-Star BBQ Blues Band; and Randy Seppala and U.P. Gumbo. Music will continue until 10 p.m.

There wil be a silent auction, a 50/50 drawing, and food provided by Fitzgerald’s Restaurant of Eagle River and, according to the weather forecast, excellent weather.

Jazz Central is a fundraiser for the Keweenaw County Historical Society’s Central Mine projects, according to Jim Vivian, Keweenaw County commissioner and KCHS member.

“This is our third season, and we’ve been quite successful,” he said. “Good music, good food, and just a good time, and it’s for the benefit of the restoration of the buildings at Central.”

Vivian said revenue raised from the event is not earmarked for future property acquisitions, but is intended solely for the restoration, and maintenance of those buildings already owned by the KCHS.

A former Central Mining Company house was recently repaired and renovated, and is now a weekly vacation rental home, with revenue from the rent going toward other buildings.

Vivian said the intention of Jazz Fest and the rental home are to make Central Mine self-sufficient as a museum.

“We hope to get one more building done, hopefully this year, and my dream is to use it as an artist in residence building, which is writers, painters — I don’t care which, but it’s going to be good, too.”

There is no admission cost to attend Jazz Central, Vivian said, but donations are gratefully accepted.

“It is totally by donation,” he said, “but we do go out into the community and solicit corporate and family sponsorships, and we take money in any shape or form. It’s very satisfying to see the support that we get from the community.”

People attending the event are encouraged to bring flashlights, chairs, coolers, and of course, their dancing shoes.