From the Ground Festival debuts in Houghton

HOUGHTON — Local food, art, music and outdoors groups will all be part of the excitement at Houghton’s inaugural From the Ground Festival on May 27.

The event will take place at Houghton’s new pier downtown from noon to 6 p.m.

The From the Ground Farmer’s Market Collective wanted to revive a spring art and music festival that had previously been held in Houghton, said Rachael Pressley, festival planner and the collective’s co-founder/secretary.

It showcases the pier and the Houghton farmers market, which will launch its first full season at the pier in a couple of weeks. It also ties in to the Ride the Keweenaw bicycling event, which also happens Memorial Day weekend.

“This festival is kicking off this awesome year for the farmer’s markets, while bringing all the cool stuff that our area has to showcase,” Pressley said. “I’m really seeing this almost as a locals fest — a fest for us, a fest for our rides, our art, our food, our music and something we can all do together to kick off spring.”

More than 40 local vendors have signed up: farmers with early-season foods from baby spinach to onions; makers of honey, maple syrup, and jam; and local artists.

“This community really has a plethora of artists,” Pressley said. “It’s incredible.”

If that weren’t enough enticement, people can also come visit with baby goats and baby lambs. Their owners are also vendors at the fair: the lamb’s owner will be selling eggs, while the goat’s owner also makes goat milk soap.

Festival co-coordinator Hannah Rundman helped pick the musical acts, who span a variety of genres: Adam Meckler and Jana Nyberg will play at noon, followed by Kevin Blackstone at 1:35 p.m. Rundman will also perform with Bruce Rundman and Bling Crosby at 3:10 p.m. The final set will be from Ani & Kora, who will play from 4:45 p.m. until the end of the festival.

Rundman works at the Rozsa Center, which is providing the sound equipment and stage for free. Good Times Music owner Bruce Rundman will emcee the event.

People can also meet members of Keweenaw Roller Derby, try out electric bikes, or set off on a boat tour.

Also Saturday, the Pewabic Street Community Garden will hold a plant sale from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Trinity Church.

Before the festival starts up at the pier, there will be a group bike ride at the Tech Trails at 9 a.m., followed by a family Enduro race at 10 a.m.

From noon to 5 p.m., cyclists can get bike check-ups at the pier before moving on to their next ride.

Cyclists or anyone else who’s worked up an appetite can order from food trucks on site. The festival will have the Forge food truck and the new 7 Wonders Chuckwagon, which is based in Zeba and recently got approval to sell across the Western U.P., Pressley said.

Pressley hopes the interest at the festival can convince the food trucks to become a regular fixture of the farmer’s market.

“Then maybe the Houghton farmer’s market can be seen as a shoppers’ market — folks coming off of their day at work, grabbing dinner, grabbing their stuff that they need and heading home,” she said.

Starting June 13, Houghton will hold its market on the pier every Tuesday from 3 to 6 p.m., with flex hours of 6 to 7 p.m. It will continue through Oct. 10.

The pier opened last fall, in time for the farmer’s market to have its final two weekly markets of the year. Vendors noticed the difference immediately, Pressley said.

“The way the vendors felt about being on the waterfront versus being in this parking lot that sometimes floods, it’s just night and day,” she said. “We’ve almost doubled our vendors for the Houghton market because of this.”

The collective organizes the farmers markets in Calumet, Hancock and Houghton.

For 2023, Calumet’s markets will be held in Agassiz Park, west of Fourth Street near downtown.

They’ll be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday between June 17 and Oct. 7. Flex hours will be 2 to 3 p.m.

On Thursdays, Hancock will hold its tori and farmer’s market from 3 to 6 p.m. on Quincy Green. Those will happen between June 15 and Oct. 12.


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