HOUGHTON - Laura Miller watched Friday night's Bridgefest parade from somewhere new - the audience.
Miller, who normally rides on the Calumet Theatre float, was on vacation during the time the float is usually being planned out.
"It's nice to see how many people there are, how many businesses are involved in supporting the area," she said.
Daily Mining Gazette/Garrett Neese
Crowds lined up more than an hour in advance for spots to the Bridgefest parade, which ran from Hancock to Houghton Friday night. Among the more than an hour of parade floats and notable local figures were the ladies of the Red Hat Society.
Hundreds took advantage of a balmy night to come out to the parade. Over the course of an hour, parade watchers caught candy from firemen, clapped for marching bands, hugged giant anthropomorphic crustaceans and dodged (or depending on their temperament, begged for) water balloons.
Suzanne Sanders of Duluth, Minn., comes up every year for the bicycle race.
While the bands were her favorite, she said the whole thing was fun.
"It's nice to take in everything Houghton has to offer," she said.
By 6:30 p.m., the sidewalks were already filled with people staking out prime spots for the parade.
Robert Greenlee of Atlantic Mine and his daughter Lynn, 10, snagged seats in the shade at a park on Shelden Avenue in Houghton. They make a yearly habit of it.
"It's great to see all the people come out, the way the community and the business support it, and it's a family-friendly event, which is always a big plus," he said.
Lynn Greenlee had a different rationale.
"The parade is yummy," she said. "It's full of candy."
They also had different hopes for the parade: Lynn was waiting for the bubbles from Joey's Seafood & Grill, while Robert wanted a repeat of the Chassell Fire Department stunt where they drove an engine in reverse for the length of the parade.
One improvement that caught Robert Greenlee's eye is the effort made to get cars off the side of the street before the parade started. Cars unaffiliated with the parade had to pull off Shelden by 5:30 p.m.
"It's nice being able to have the kids out there at the street," he said.
As the Houghton Fire Department truck passed by, closing the parade, people headed off, either to their cars or to continue with the festivities elsewhere.
Miller's favorite's part? "This band here," she said, nodding to the drum-and-bugle corps Marty's Goldenaires, which was marching back down Shelden Avenue in single file.
"I liked it," she said. "Lots of music. Lots of fun."