Crowds enjoy sights, sounds of Bridgefest weekend

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette A helicopter lands after a quick ride above the Portage Lake Lift Bridge during Bridgefest Saturday.

HOUGHTON — In air, on land and at sea, thousands of people took in everything Bridgefest had to offer this weekend.

The 32nd annual festival offered events on both sides of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. There were food, music, games, vendors and fireworks at the Kestner Waterfront Park and a number of events at other sites, including a classic car show in Hancock and a Touch-a-Truck event in Houghton.

At Kestner Park, families lounged eating food, while children played laser tag or jumped in bouncy houses.

At one game, pairs of children squared off to see who could shoot the most balls into a target.

Teagan Rivest, 7, of Laurium squared off with Jacob Smith, 10, of Baraga.

Smith was looking forward to playing laser tag later in the day. He also had an in on food thanks to an uncle at Rez Robin’s, which was selling fry bread.

He was also a fan of the location.

“I kind of like it, because it’s by Chutes & Ladders, and it’s the only time I get to go there,” he said.

Live bands started at the park Saturday around 3 p.m. and continued until midnight.

Neverlund of Ontonagon started off Saturday afternoon. The Ontonagon band, all siblings, entertained the crowd with a mix of Beatles-era hits and newer songs from bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

“It’s just the right size venue for us right now,” said Mary Lund, lead singer and rhythm guitarist. “We get a little bit bummed when nobody is sitting and paying attention to us, but the big audience kind of walking by is really our forte right now. I feel very comfortable. it’s going to be a good show.”

Music paused briefly at dusk for the fireworks, which drew raves from onlookers. Many clustered at the park to watch; in one case, a group experienced it from the canal in a neon-decorated kayak.

Earlier in the day, there was a constant parade of people getting a bird’s-eye view of the festival from a helicopter, which took off and landed by the Ramada Inn in Hancock.

Jodi Nuttall of Hancock went on the ride with her son Colter Lightfoot, 6.

“It was fun,” she said. “It was something different for here.”

She planned to head to the park afterwards. Lightfoot had other ideas.

“Can I go again?” he asked.