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Chassell Strawberry Festival to return

By Mary Christine Stevens

For the Mining Gazette

The Annual Copper Country Strawberry Festival is set to return for its 76th year. The festival will take place Friday and Saturday at Chassell Centennial Park, and feature food, music, vendors, a queen competition, and fresh strawberry desserts! 

Festivities will begin at 9 a.m. on the 12th, with volunteers with the Chassell Lions serving strawberry shortcake, brats, cotton candy, and other treats. A vendor show will follow, starting at 10 a.m. Vendors include the Chassell Sports Booster Club, KLR Iced Coffee and Bubble Tea, and the Curious Pig, among many others. The Chassell Women’s Club will host an old fashioned cake walk, and Aire Care is sponsoring a Fish Boil Dinner. The annual Queens Competition will take place at 7 p.m. 

Michigan Tech will offer one of their scientific excursions on Saturday, July 13. On each excursion, Kenny Larsen, a Michigan Tech scientist in the department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering and the Great Lakes Research Center, will show how data is collected on water clarity, temperature, and turbidity and explain what this shows about the health of Lake Superior and Chassell Bay. Trips will leave from the Chassell Marina dock every 45 minutes, starting at 12:30 p.m. The public is invited to reserve a space at blogs.mtu.edu. Children must be at least 7 years of age, and any youth younger than 15 must be accompanied by an adult. All participants must wear close-toe shoes. 

Events will continue through 2  p.m. on July 13. Parade winners will be announced at 2  p.m. on Saturday to close out the festival. 

This year’s Strawberry Festival is dedicated to Michele Marie Kerban (April 25, 1944-July 18, 2023). Michele was born in Hancock, Michigan to Michael and Ann Kerban (Urmas). She was a graduate of Hancock High School and Northern Michigan University.

Michele taught elementary school children all over the country for 32 years, most of which was spent at South Range Elementary School. She earned honors including the Michigan Reading Association Outstanding Reading Educator, IRA Literacy Award, and the Adams Township Teacher of the year.

Her selflessness and unwavering support knew no bounds, and she was never hesitant to lend an ear, offer guidance, or provide comfort. Her legacy of love, kindness and compassion will live on in the hearts of all who knew Michele.

Queen Competition Candidates

-Amya Nieme, sponsored by Chassell Women’s Club

-Ayla Miller, sponsored by Gierke Blueberry Farm

-Chloe Snell, sponsored by Toucan’s Auto Repair

-Coralee Daugherty, sponsored by Real Estate Appraisal Co.

-Danielle Williston, sponsored by Portage Paddle Sports

-Giselle Wiitanen, sponsored by Pat’s Foods

-Shayla Elmblad, sponsored by Back Road Organic Supply

-Lily Etelamaki, sponsored by Chassell VFW Post 6507 & Auxiliary

-Nora Keranen, sponsored by the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering at Michigan Tech

-Ralyn Mattila, sponsored by Krupp’s Resort

-Claire Filpus, sponsored by Quincy’s Dining Co.

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