MARQUETTE - The 11th annual Blueberry Festival is set to kick off Friday morning in downtown Marquette.
Hosted by the Downtown Development Authority, the festival runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will include food vendors, artists, demonstrations, live music and children's activities.
"The goal of the festival is to build a community event in the center of downtown," DDA Executive Director Mona Lang said. "One that really brings people together while showcasing our unique and local businesses."
Washington Street in downtown Marquette is full of shoppers during the 2011 Blueberry Festival. (Journal file photo)
A table full of blueberry is shown during the festival. This year’s event is set for Friday and will feature loads of blueberries as well as nearly 100 vendor booths, music, demonstrations and children’s activities. (Journal file photo)
Lang said the DDA begins planning nearly a year in advance for the festival, which will have 99 vendor booths lining the center of Washington Street this year.
The celebration will include a youth talent show, music in the downtown pocket park and a karate demonstration, while downtown businesses will offer "blue" specials to celebrate the day.
Lang said she is proud of what the festival has become over the years. There is a blueberry festival dance at Ringside Fitness, a blueberry golf outing hosted by Northern Michigan University, a blueberry pie contest at the Commons and a pie eating contest at Upfront and Company.
"The thing that's exciting is that other events have kind of come out of this, making it almost a whole blueberry weekend," Lang said. "It has become a real community event and it has become real popular."
The Eclettico String Quartet will play in the pocket park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the Lost Lake Effect Band will perform from 2 to 4 p.m.
Center stage, located at the corner of Washington and Front streets, will feature Union Suits, Jim & Ray, Les Ross Sr., Team Awesome, the Flat Broke Blues Band and Shotgun Kelli & The State 51 Band.
A number of downtown streets will be closed Friday to accommodate the event.
Beginning at 7 a.m., South Front Street from Spring Street to Washington Street will be closed, as will Washington from Third Street to Front. Main Street will also be closed to thru traffic between Third and Front.
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.