Road projects not expected to affect this year’s Bridgefest

Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette Rich Pethtel of Chassell works on a carving of an owl during the 2014 during Bridgefest. He was one of the vendors stationed along Lakeshore Drive during that year’s festival.

HOUGHTON — This is the 30th year for Bridgefest, and the celebration has a new main sponsor, according to Ryan Towles.

Towles, who is Bridgefest coordinator, said this year Superior National Bank is providing significant financial support.

Bridgefest takes place June 15 to 18.

Houghton Rotary’s Seafood Fest is no longer part of Bridgefest, but food will still be available, Towles said.

“We’re bringing in vendors,” he said.

Those vendors will be at the pavilion in Ray Kestner Waterfront Park, Towles said.

Although there is construction going on in Hancock and on Lakeshore Drive in Houghton, Towles said Houghton city officials said Bridgefest should not be affected by the work in Houghton.

“I don’t think it will be a problem,” he said.

Towles said city officials have said the work on the retaining wall at the park should be significantly complete, so it shouldn’t affect activities.

However, Towles said because of the construction on Front Street in Hancock, the Bridgefest parade won’t start in Hancock as it has in years past.

“Next year we’re hoping to go back to the full parade route,” he said.

Towles said Lakeshore Drive will be made one-way with one lane closed on the west end of the street to provide enough parking. A city bus will also make regular trips from downtown Houghton to the park.

There will be some new activities during this year’s Bridgefest, Towles said.

“Most things are happening on the 17th,” he said.

Respawn will conduct laser tag contests, which will cost $5 per person for teams of six to eight members. There will be four rounds, which last 15 minutes each.

In Hancock, there will displays of art at various businesses, Towles said.

An event for bicyclists called Bike the Boulevard will take place from 11 a.m. to noon in Houghton.

“The city’s putting that on,” he said.

A rather unusual event new this year is chicken bingo, which involves people choosing on which squares the chickens will do their business. The event is a fundraiser for Simple Kindness for Youth (SKY).

The Copper Country Gymnastics team from Lake Linden will perform on the grass in front of the stage at the park, Towles said.

Also new this year is the Relay For Life fundraiser, Towles said. Rather then taking place at the Houghton High School track or at the Finlandia University football field, people will walk around the park, but not for 24 hours as previous relays did.

There will also be the launch for a new radio station during Bridgefest, Towles said.

Towles said Hancock and Houghton city officials have been very helpful to Bridgefest organizers.

“Both cities are supporting us very well,” he said. “There will be quite a bit going on in the park.”