The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Plaidurday draws crowd


October 6, 2020

Tom LaVenture/Daily Globe

Ella Darrow, center, takes a selfie photo with her parents, David and Kris Darrow, in front of a Plaidurday poster at the Downtown Art Place in Ironwood. The three attended the First Friday event downtown with the plaid theme to coincide with an international celebration of plaid.


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Ironwood - There was a damp chill in the air from the season's first snowfall but that didn't stop people from sporting plaid shirts, jackets, hats and even facemasks at the First Friday downtown and as part of the international celebration of plaid.

"It's really good to see people downtown," said Zona Wick, president of the Historic Ironwood Theatre Board. "I wish we had a First Friday movie at the theatre, but we don't. At least people are downtown and mingling."

Kris Darrow put on her red plaid Stormy Kromer face covering in addition to her hat and jacket to come downtown with her husband, David, and their daughter, Ella. The three took a selfie in front of a Plaidurday poster at the Downtown Art Place to enter the contest via social media. The October First Friday event coincides with the international celebration of plaid. There is usually an aerial group photo, but this year was limited to individuals and family selfies that were uploaded to social media contests.

"I've only been aware of it (Plaidurday) for one year," Darrow said. "However, I grew up in the U.P., and so in a lot of ways Plaidurday is every day."

The First Friday events were designed to bring people downtown but events to draw crowds were curtailed with virtual events since the pandemic shutdown last spring. Darrow was thrilled to be amongst people at a festive event downtown for the first time in a while.

"It's wonderful to try to approach normal again," Darrow said.

Area arts and craft merchants were out in front of shops along Aurora Street. It was chilly but most were impressed that people were already coming downtown as the event started at 4 p.m.

"It's not too bad," said Mary Kasten, owner of Snow Country Creations, together with her wood craftsman husband Dick Kasten. "As long as there's no precipitation coming out of the sky."

Despite the shutdown, the Kastens found ways to keep busy selling handmade Lake Superior driftwood and agate items along with wood furniture at events in Ironwood and Hurley.

Kasten's booth was set up next to Darrin Kimbler, president of the Gogebic Range Farmers Market Association. A few members who had remaining produce following the first frost a couple of weeks ago were on hand to sell.

"It's an opportunity to be here with the rest of the vendors out on Aurora Street," Kimbler said.

The association members will discuss the potential for setting up on the Downtown City Square project that will be available to vendors in the spring, he said. There are some concerns about elderly vendors who may not want to set up the pop-up tents, he said.

"First of all our name is the Depot Farmers Market," Kimbler said. "So, there is that. We'll be discussing it over the winter and see how the COVID shakes out."

Gemma Lamb, a farmers market member who was wearing a second hat as a board member of the Downtown Art Place, was selling baked goods and handing out art kits to the kids. She said the DAP staff are hoping that the pandemic will turn and allow classes again in their confined space. The First Friday event offered some hope.

Tim Erickson, community development specialist for the city of Ironwood and First Friday committee member, said this will not be remembered as the biggest Plaidurday event but that it was pleasing to see a good turnout.

"I was walking around downtown earlier today and it was super busy with a lot of people just going in and out," Erickson said. "I was talking to business owners who said they had a lot of traffic today, all day. I am hoping that this event was sort of helping with that. It seemed like there were some out of towners, for sure."

The November First Friday will be themed along the lines of "Find Your Peace." It will follow a week including a full moon Halloween, the end of Daylight Savings Time and the presidential election.

For more information, call 906-932-5050 extension 125.


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