The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Festival Ironwood heats up Thursday


Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe

KEVIN SPORLEDER, of Ironwood, digs in at the Duck Pick at Festival Ironwood Thursday, along with his daughter, Payton, 7, right. Watching are Paige Sporleder, 5, and their mother, Amanda Monroe.


Ironwood - Thick smoke and the sound of music wafted down Lowell Street Thursday afternoon, attracting city residents and visitors to Festival Ironwood.

The smoke was from the Yooper-style wood-fired grill chicken pit organized by the Friends of Festival Ironwood, including city employees. It was the third year for the chicken pit and the five or six volunteers who were manning that area said the preparations for the Festival Ironwood pressed chicken feed began early in the morning.

With temperatures in the high 80s and a cool breeze now and then on a made-to-order day, it was an ideal time to gather for young and old alike. Cooler weather was predicted for the remainder of the annual festival.

Children were playing games under the sun Thursday, while the less energetic adults either ate or listened to polka music under the shade of the big blue and white tent.

Keith Johnson, co-chairman of the festival, was pleased with the crowd that showed up for Wednesday's "Evening of Bluegrass" by UpNorth Connection. "It was a big opening night turn-out," Johnson said while walking the Depot Park grounds.

The downtown festival continues through Saturday evening, with no major rainfall in the forecast.

Today's events begin at 10 a.m. with a breakfast visit of animals from the Help Orphaned Pets Everywhere Ironwood animal shelter. The events run through the evening, with nearly continuous music by Uncle Fester (8:30 to 11:30 p.m.), Dorothy and the Boys (1:30 to 3:30 p.m.) and Red Higgins and Yankee Train (5:30 to 8:30 p.m.)

XTRA plays Saturday from 8 p.m. to midnight.

There's no admission charge for the music under the big tent.

There are numerous food tents on the grounds and plenty of events geared toward youngsters, including the return of the popular trout pond today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

At 2 today, the sands of the volleyball courts will get a workout with sand castle building competition, one of the many events added in recent years at the Depot grounds.

For a trip to the past, there will be vintage cars, tractors and snowmobiles at the park throughout the day on Saturday.


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