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Enjoying the arts outdoors

June 7, 2012
By ZACH KUKKONEN - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - The Spring Art and Music Festival returns for the 11th year Saturday, and the festival continues to adapt and introduce new activities.

Scheduled free family art activities are among the new features of the downtown Houghton festival, which is put on by the city of Houghton and the Copper Country Community Arts Center and takes place on the upper parking deck behind the Keweenaw Brewing Company, Swift's Hardware and 5th & Elm Coffee House and Eatery.

"We've always had an activity tent but it was non-structured," CCCAC Executive Director Cynthia Cote said. "We wanted to have something a little more structured that people could take part in throughout the day."

Article Photos

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette
Gratiot Lake Road performs at the 2011 Spring Art and Music Festival in Houghton. The band will play the festival again this year at 12:45 p.m. Also performing at the festival will be students from the Copper Country Suzuki Association, Uncle Pete’s All-Star Barbeque Band, The Board, Thimbleberry Band and AJ?Fischer and Scott Perkins.

From noon to 2:30 p.m., fish prints will be featured; from 2:30 to 5:30, frog mask making and paper flowers will be featured and the day finishes off with watercolor painting from 5:30 to 7.

"We're trying to make an event where people spend the entire day," Cote said.

As always, the festival brings a variety of musical talent to its stage. Folk, jazz and blues are just a few of the genres represented, and a couple new bands will grace the festival this year.

"The Board is a new group of local musicians that plays whimsical, alternative folk," Cote said. "AJ Fischer and Scott Perkins are a new duo ... that perform 'spicy jazz.'"

The students from the Copper Country Suzuki Association will kick off festivities at noon, followed by Gratiot Lake Road at 12:45, Uncle Pete's All-Star Barbeque Blues Band at 2, The Board at 3:15, Thimbleberry Band at 4:30 and AJ Fischer and Scott Perkins closing out the day at 5:45.

An abundance of artists' booths will also be available to peruse, with everything from stained glass, pottery and jewelry to fiber art, paintings and honey products.

"We have a pretty nice lineup of artists' booths," Cote said. "In addition to the artists' booths, we have community information booths like the Keweenaw Co-op, Suzuki Association and the CCCAC booth."

The popular "Frog Hop" also is returning, with both an adult and junior (participants younger than 18) version. To participate in the Frog Hop, attendees may stop by the CCCAC information booth to pick up a Frog Hop card. They must then visit the 11 participating businesses to get the card frog stamped, and then drop it back off at the arts center booth for a drawing before the final band plays.

"We have a junior Frog Hop, with prizes for kids too," Cote said. "The can go along with their parents and get their frog stamped."

Artists demonstrations round out the events featured at the festival. Clyde Mikkola will be among the artists doing demonstrations, as he will be demonstrating the work of a limner, an occupation from the 18th century.

"He's going to come in period clothing and be drawing," Cote said. "Limners were pre-photography photographers, they would record events in pencils ... and he'll talking about what the role of the limner would've been in the 1700s."

For those looking for sustenance, the CCCAC will be holding its fundraising "extreme bake sale,"?and 5th &?Elm will have a food booth.

For more information, call the CCCAC at 482-2333 or visit



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