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Thunder in the Harbor this weekend

July 25, 2012
By KELLY FOSNESS - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

COPPER HARBOR - Motorcycles, mechanical bulls and live music in the park are just a few of the highlights taking place this weekend during the fourth annual Thunder in the Harbor.

"We want people to know this is going to be a family-friendly event," coordinator Staci Gibson said. "It's open to everybody. You don't need to be on a bike."

The three-day event in Copper Harbor gets under way Friday evening with a sunset cruise aboard the Isle Royale Queen IV. The vessel is scheduled to set sail at 7 p.m. and those who are interested in reserving a spot are asked to contact the passenger ferry at 289-4437.

Adventure packages courtesy of several local businesses will be auctioned off during the ride.

"There's (hotel) rooms, T-shirts, kayak rides ... a number of different things," Gibson said, noting a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Copper Harbor Playground Project. "The town is very generous."

After the cruise Friday, Gibson said live music will be performed at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge.

Festivities continue Saturday with live music emceed by WOLV radio and a bike show at 1 p.m. in front of Grant Township Park.

"Everybody will come in and stage up along the park," Gibson said. "It's pretty impressive seeing all the bikes."

Bikes will be categorized in four different classes: classic, stock, custom and rat.

"That is a bike that is, for lack of a better word, one step removed from the junkyard," Gibson said of the latter category. "That's a lot of fun. But there are some amazing bikes that people bring up."

Games, including activities for children, will follow the bike show at 2 p.m., and Baxter's Heavenly Dogs will be serving food from noon to 7 p.m.

"They've got an array of gourmet-style, foot-long hot dogs, gyros and brats," Gibson said. "They've been up here before and we're happy to have them back."

Also from noon to 7 p.m., festival attendees young and old can take a shot at riding a mechanical bull.

A henna artist from a local tattoo shop will be on hand throughout the day, as will Peterlin Distributing, which will be selling a number of its products.

"Although there's not going to be a tournament, anyone who wants to play horseshoes can enjoy the horseshoe pits that we have here," Gibson added.

Live outdoor music performed by classic rock group Cheap Therapy will be going on in the park from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Gibson said live music will be performed at Zik's Bar in Copper Harbor as well.

Prize raffles will continue throughout the day Saturday.

Closing out Thunder in the Harbor Sunday is a restaurant tour and brunch at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge.

Gibson said bikers who are interested in participating in the 14-stop restaurant tour, which visits restaurants in Keweenaw County, can pick up their tour booklets at the welcome center in Copper Harbor starting Thursday.

"They'll be going through the different places and get a stamp on their card to show they were there," she said. "The purpose is to give some of the restaurants in the Keweenaw some exposure. During the brunch, prizes will be awarded for the most stops made."

Itineraries can also be found online at and

A blessing of the bikes will follow afterward at the lodge.

Now in its fourth year, Gibson said Thunder in the Harbor was previously held in conjunction with the Keweenaw Peninsula Chamber of Commerce's Keweenaw Ride In event.

Since the chamber is no longer involved with the event, Gibson said there were some slight modifications to the weekend.

Nonetheless, she said she's expecting a successful turnout.

"We've already seen an increase in the number of bikers this summer," Gibson said. "Now that Michigan has lifted the helmet law, we're expecting to see quite a few more."

Even the weather is promising.

"As I understand it, it's going to be the first one we don't have any rain in the forecast," she said.



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