Seeing sights: Tech holds Afternoon on the Town

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Lexi Ericson of Biggby looks on as Michigan Technological University students sample iced coffee at Saturday’s Afternoon on the Town. More than 40 businesses and groups participated in the event.

HOUGHTON — Around 1,000 Michigan Technological University students sampled the wares of local businesses or found out about clubs they could join at the annual Afternoon on the town event Saturday.

More than 40 businesses participated, along with student organizations along College Avenue, said Beka Horsch, coordinator of student activities at Tech, who organized the event.

“It’s a nice way to see, ‘Yes, you’re in a small town, but look at all we have to offer within walking distance,'” she said.

Students signed in with their ID cards, entering them in a raffle for prizes. Horsch said the information would also give them a better picture of the crowd, including size and what years were attending.

William Poltrock, a second-year chemical engineering major, was picking up an iced coffee at Biggby. Appropriately, he said the biggest draw of the event was “free stuff.”

This was his second year attending. He’d come back to The Bike Shop after last year’s event, as well as Biggby and Jimmy John’s.

Sarah Kiszelik, a third-year chemistry student, was at the front of a long line of waiting for free ice cream at Bookworm — Mint Mackinac Island Fudge, in her case. A transfer student, she said it helped her see what was around town.

“The fish tacos (at Joey’s) were really good, and I’m hoping I like this bookstore,” she said.

Along with restaurants handing out samples of sushi and other dishes, booths drew students in with candy, coupons or games of Jenga. one student piggybacked onto the booth to draw attention to his own cause, holding up a paper saying “ADD ME ON SNAPCHAT.”

Outside the Sigma Pi house, members relaxed on a boat parked on the front lawn, as fourth-year computer networking systems administration major Mike Dabish rode around it on a dirtbike. They’d also given away S’mores and hot dogs earlier in the day, he said.

“It’s nice to meet face-to-face with all the new students, then they get to see all of this and what’s going on in the town,” he said.

Kurt Peterson, owner of The Guy’s Place, gave out coupons to students walking by on College Avenue.

“It’s an extremely helpful event for a business like ours, especially being kind of new to town as well,” he said.

Jim Slater of Kiwanis Club was there to get the word out about the college-age Kiwanis group, Circle K. Past activities have included walking dogs for the Copper Country Humane Society or decorating Easter baskets for Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly.

“Like all the service organizations, it’s getting harder and harder to find members,” he said. “This and K-Day is a good opportunity to get some more kids involved.”

Afternoon on the Town is one of Tech’s 25 Welcome Week events. Others include ice cream social, Capture the Flag, and K-Day.