ISHPEMING - Ishpeming's Fourth of July Celebration kicks into full gear this week, with traditional events such as the parade and fireworks, plus some new additions.
The celebration begins Tuesday with the Ishpeming Business Association's Festival of Treasures, which runs from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Main Street in downtown Ishpeming. The festival operates as a combination of an open-air sale for the local businesses and a carnival with games and rides for kids, not to mention food vendors like Croatian Chicken and others.
Tuesday also is the day for the Ishpeming High School Alumni Association open house, running from 9 a.m. to noon at the IHS gymnasium.
Visitors wait in line for Croatian Chicken at last year’s Festival of Treasures in downtown Ishpeming. The festival on Tuesday, sponsored by the Ishpeming Business Association, is one of the big events for the Ishpeming Fourth of July celebration, which continues Wednesday with the annual parade, fireworks and community picnic. (Journal file photo by Johanna Boyle)
That night, the Ishpeming Blue Notes will hold a 7:30 p.m. concert in downtown Ishpeming.
This year's Fourth of July Committee selected a theme of "Celebrating Our Mining Heritage" for the celebration, honoring a large piece of Ishpeming's history.
July 4 opens with the Firecracker 5K Race and 1 Mile Walk at 8 a.m. at the Al Quaal Recreation Area, giving area residents a chance to get in some friendly athletic competition before a day full of picnics and barbecues.
At 9:30 a.m., there will be a flag raising ceremony and 21-gun salute at the memorial park near the Ishpeming Post Office.
The annual kids' parade begins at 10 a.m. in the Mather Inn parking lot, followed by the full Ishpeming Fourth of July Parade. The parade begins at Empire and Third streets, running south to Hematite Drive, where it runs to Main Street, turning south and then east onto Division Street up to the Ishpeming High School. Area retired and current miners and those connected to the mining industry are invited to join in with the parade and other events.
The committee is expecting to have more than 100 units in this year's parade, including five marching bands, horses and all types of floats.
Wednesday also holds a new event for the Fourth of July community picnic, which begins at noon at the Al Quaal Recreation Area - the Culpepper and Merriweather Circus.
The public is invited to see the raising of the big top tent from 9:30-10 a.m., followed by a free tour of the circus grounds, which gives interesting facts about the performers, the history of the circus and how the circus animals are cared for.
Once the tent is set up, the box office and midway open at 1 p.m., with performances at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., each a 90-minute show. Performances include trapeze artists, unicyclists, animals, juggling and other circus acts.
Tickets for circus performances are available in advance at the Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Area Chamber of Commerce, Elaine's Party Store, Jackson Hardware, Congress Pizza, all in Ishpeming, and Household Appliance in Marquette. Advance tickets are $6 for children age 2-12 and $9 for adults. The day of the circus, tickets are $7 for children and $12 for adults.
The picnic itself also has musical performances by the Slamtones and Shotgun Kelli at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
As a special treat, the Minnesota Air National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing will provide a two-ship F-16 Fighting Falcon flyover at the picnic during the evening, Wednesday, between 7 and 8 p.m.
July 4's celebration wraps up with the annual fireworks display over Al Quaal.
Besides the parade and other events, the week also contains the Westwood and Ishpeming alumni softball tournaments, both of which began Sunday and wrap up Wednesday.
The Ishpeming Fourth of July Golf Outing, which serves as a fundraiser for the fireworks display, is set for 10 a.m. Friday at the Wawanowin Country Club.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401.