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Soberfest being held for third year

Photo provided by Deb Barna - People enjoy a previous Soberfest potluck at the Kestner Waterfront Park. The third annual Sobertfest, to be held Saturday, is intended to offer a fun alcohol-free atmosphere for families.

HOUGHTON — The name Soberfest has made some people think it is only for people in recovery.

That’s not true, said organizer Deb Barna.

“It’s for anybody that wants to have fun without substances,” she said. “That’s the main focus, to bring people together so they don’t feel the compulsion, or the pull or the push to imbibe.”

The third annual potluck event will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Kestner Waterfront Park in Houghton.

There will be children’s games, as well as an activities tent with yoga, Zumba, free massages and essential oils.

Photo provided by Deb Barna - People enjoy a previous Soberfest potluck at the Kestner Waterfront Park. The third annual Sobertfest, to be held Saturday, is intended to offer a fun alcohol-free atmosphere for families.

For the second year, Soberfest will offer a coffee tent with free coffee from Cyberia, 5th & Elm and K.C. Bonker’s. Pepsi of Houghton and Coca-Cola of Hancock will also offer pop and water.

The festival will also have musical accompaniment. Anthony Butina is DJing; also playing Saturday will be Rob Fritz, Carl Miller, Steve Kangas and Jack Chamberlain.

From 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Paddle Sports will offer free kayaking lessons.

Barna encourages people to come whether or not they bring food. Festival Foods, Pat’s IGA, Jimmy Johns and several other vendors are donating items, Barna said.

“We’re really hoping people will just come down and have a good time because the weather looks amazing,” she said.

The first year drew about 100 people. That jumped to 200 last year. Barna is hoping to continue the trend with 300 people for the third event.

Barna also pointed to a growing “sober-curious” movement nationally, where people are going to alcohol-free bars.

“The alcohol companies want us to believe that you can’t have fun without alcohol,” she said. “People are starting to figure out, ‘Hey, maybe I can.'”

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