Festivals and Events
Despite its relative isolation from the rest of Michigan, the Keweenaw Peninsula plays host to numerous events and celebrations throughout the year. In winter, residents honor the frigid temperatures with ice-fishing derbies, cross-country skiing races, a winter carnival on the campus of Michigan Technological University, and Heikinpäivä (www.pasty.com/heikki), a Finnish American festival that takes place around January 19 every year, mainly in Houghton. Presenting traditional Finnish crafts, music, cuisine, and more, this annual event honors the Finnish culture that helped build this area and remains a significant part of it today. In Hancock alone, 40 percent of the population still claims Finnish ancestry.
Of course, the milder months are even busier on the Keweenaw Peninsula. Between May’s International Migratory Bird Day Festival (www.keweenawimbd.org) in Copper Harbor and the Houghton County Fair (www.houghtoncountyfair.com) every August, you’ll surely find something to do on the Keweenaw all through the summer.
Of course, besides bicycle races, art fairs, and heritage events, one of the most popular annual events is Houghton’s Bridgefest (906/370-2399, www.bridgefestfun.com), a mid-June celebration of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge—or perhaps just an excuse for the community to enjoy live concerts, sporting events, boat tours, arts-and-crafts exhibits, fireworks displays, and a seafood festival, where even live lobster is part of the fun.
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel