I was a participant in the July 4th parade in 2007 - helping to advertise the play that I was in ("No Sex Please, We're British"). The parade is a big deal in my small town, attracting thousands of people. Of course, many of them are with children - and the children are most interested in the tons of candy that passed out along the parade route. Politicians are also attracted to the parade, pressing the flesh and saying hi to possible supporters.
The parade starts at the intersection of McClelland and Washington, and precedes along Washington all the way downtown - about a mile and a half. I saw so many people that I know along the route!
(I was in the parade again in 2012, for another play, "Dandelion Cottage." Yooperprof likes to trod the boards!)
The U.P. Beer Festival is sponsored by the Michigan Brewer's Guild and so it features beers made from the entire state - from Kalamazoo and Detroit all the way up to the tiny town of Copper Harbor. It's become one of my favorite annual Marquette events- held on the second or third Saturday of September, which is almost always a spectacularly fine month for weather. The Marquette festival is held in the Elwood Mattson Lower Harbor Park, right on the lakeshore and adjacent to downtown. For the admission price - which last year was $30 - you are provided with 15 tokens - more than enough to sample an incredible range of porters, ales, stouts, lagers, "saisons," and several other varieties as well!
There are also food vendors to satisfy your stomach and provide you with some ballast, which really does help make for a beer festival that you won't forget and that you won't regret!
Frosty Treats - Need I say more?
Frosty treats is a phenomenally popular soft-serve ice cream stand on Third Street, in the heart of "The Village." On a warm summer's eve, you'll meet your friends here in line at the counter, getting dipped cones, sundaes, and "blizzards," those concoctions of whipped soft serve with different flavors and candies added.
Frosty Treats is open seasonally, generally from early/mid April through the end of October. The opening of Frosty Treats is a sure sign that winter is drawing to a close, so it always makes me happy to see the counter open. Similarly, I'm always a little melancholy to see the boards placed over the windows in late October. It means that time is passing and another long winter is about to begin.
I like the soft serve here - it seems to have more "dairy" in it than Dairy Queen's!
724 N. 3rd Street, in between Hewitt and Prospect
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan (in Yellow) is an area north of what is sometimes called Lower Michigan, Down State, or Under da Bridge (in green) by many people, and is bordered by Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior. Part of this area also borders the state of Wisconsin and looks as though it belongs more to Wisconsin than Michigan. Most Michigan folks simply call the Upper Peninsula the U.P., or sometimes the land above the bridge. Because of this, people who live in the U.P. are called Yoopers (pronounced you pers). Locals don’t mind this term at all, and affectionately call themselves Yoopers, so it is of no insult to use this term. The bridge that both the Yoopers and the lower Michigan folks are referring to is the Mackinac Bridge (pronounced MACK-in-aw), which is a suspension bridge which crosses the Straits of Mackinac to connect the upper and lower parts of Michigan. The Upper Peninsula contains 16,452 square miles (about the size of Denmark), which is almost one-third of the land area of Michigan, but it only contains about 3% of the population.
Traditional food choices in the U.P. (see photos 2 and 3) are the pasty, a kind of individual meat and vegetable turnover originally brought to the region by Cornish miners. Pasties soon became a popular choice among all miners, as it was a complete meal that when well wrapped would still be warm by mealtime. If you try pasties, the best have rutabaga in them. Finnish people brought nisu, a cardamom flavored, and slightly sweet bread to the U.P.
Yoopers are very friendly and hardy. They have to be hardy, as the U.P. has heavy winter snows, which average in the 300 plus inches, and Lake Superior has cold water, so even your summer swims are not for the weak at heart.
Flanigan's Bar is "Where People Meet" in Marquette, as the bar sign says. The clientele is mostly local and largely blue-collar, though some NMU students are also regular patrons. The cognoscenti say that Flanigan's Karoake is usually the most competitive and "professional" in town. But it can be a tough crowd here!
On Washington Street, between 5th and 6th Street, across from the Ramada Inn.
You can karaoke every night of the week in Marquette! Monday nights you'll find a group singing in the back room at Remie's. The good thing about Monday night Karoake is that nobody really cares if you're good or not - most people here are just impressed that you're out on a Monday night.
Remie's is a dive bar with a reputation for being something of a tough place, but you'll be okay here as long as you don't start bad-mouthing the Green Bay Packers. It's just down the hill from the corner of Third and Washington.
Be sure to catch 'Jim and Ray'. This musical duo has been playing together since Theodore Roosevelt was President - almost. They help to define the casual laid back atmosphere of Marquette's cultural scene - such as it is - which is rather dull for a lot of people, but to me is refreshingly free of pretensions. 'Jim and Ray' play everything that ever was written, but their specialties are Jimmy Buffet and Simon & Garkunkle. You get the picture. They play all over town, but they are regulars on Thursday nights at Vango's (on Third Street). You'll probably find me in my regular booth.
A summertime tradition in Marquette, Hiawatha attracts local, regional and national Folk and Roots music performers. It held in late July at Tourist Park, and is one of the events that helps define Marquette. There are many workshops and crafts and home-spun foods and clogging and a big barn dance and it's all put on without any obnoxious corporate sponsorship.
One winter event I always enjoy in Marquette is the Glacier Glide Outdoor Art Show. It's usually held the same weekend as the U.P. 200 Sled Dog race. The Glacier Glide is on Presque Isle and consists of a series of outdoor art exhibits - many of which contain unusual items for sale - along the main Cross Country ski trail. It may seem a bit strange to combine outdoor activity and the fine arts - but not if you are living in the Upper Peninsula.
Marquette, like many Northwoods communities, enforces an overnight ban on street parking during the winter months - November 1 to April 15. (Six and a half months of winter? Yep.) Keeping your driveway clear is essential. It can also be quite challenging, especially after a 25-inch dump such as is shown in this photo from 1997. (That's my driveway - it's a long one, and I don't have a snowblower.)
I think we do a pretty good job of keeping our sidewalks clear, considering how much snow we get in the winter months. Most people who have sidewalks in their yards work to keep them clean for pedestrians. Also, the city of Marquette has nifty snowblowing plows just for sidewalks. All the sidewalks close to schools are kept clear by these municipal sidewalk plows.
Be sure to eat a pasty while you are here. They are rich and hearty mixtures of potatoes and meat wrapped up in a thick pastry, optionally served with catsup or sauce. They were originally brought over to the Upper Peninsula from Cornwall by miners, but they've become identified with the entire region. My favorite pasties are the ones from Jean Kay's, near Northern Michigan University. Be sure to ask for the ones with rutabaga.
Marquette has it's roots deep in the logging and mining industry, they LOVE the Packers, more then Green Bay probably, just be aware if you get in conversation with the locals :) They don't like their govenor, he never comes up to the Upper Pennisela (UP), he sends a flunky. You should try a pasty while you're there, it's a staple food. And remember, it's pronounced pass-tea, not paste-e, that's something completely different. People who live in the upper peninsila above the Mackinaw bridge are called 'Yoopers', people who live below the mackinaw bridge are called 'Trolls' (you know, they live under the bridge, get it?). You'll hear alot of 'Are yous going (fill in the location) way?' 'eh' or 'hey' If you stay long enough you'll find yourself saying it too. :)
When in Marquette you must try a pasty, it is a local favorite for people living in the Upper Pennisula.