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Munising hosts new festival

September 29, 2012
By RENEE PRUSI - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - Music will be an important part of the first ever Rocktoberfest, a celebration planned for Friday, Oct. 5 in Munising.

"Family fun, rock bands, polka music, wiener dog racing, pumpkin carving, seasonal beers on tap and German-style food headline this event," said Scott Kusmirek, one of the event's organizers.

Rocktoberfest, presented by the Munising Visitors Bureau and Munising Moose Lodge, includes free admission, with the gates opening at 3 p.m. Events are going to take place in the Moose Lodge parking lot at the corner of Lynn Street and Munising Avenue.

Article Photos

"A percentage of the proceeds will benefit a local Alger County charity as well as supporting community projects throughout the county," Kusmirek said.

The bands set to perform for Rocktoberfest are Flitch, Stumble Out, Wicker (featuring Heather McNally), Gator & the River Boys and Nudge. The live music will start at 5 p.m. and continue until 11:30 p.m., with tons of other activities part of the day of fun.

"The day begins at 3 p.m. with the ceremonial tapping of the keg, followed by the ever-famous wiener dog race," Kusmirek said. Pre-registration is encouraged for the wiener dog race, he added.

Fact Box

The lineup:

Here's a list of the bands playing at



Based in Marquette County, Nudge includes Danzo McCracken, Bob Libick, Tim Prisk and Scott Kusmirek. The rockers are working on an original music EP.

Gator & The River Boys

A country rock band featuring Gene "The Gator" Ely, Paco Hines, Perry Haines and Kusmirek.


A group of teens from Trenary including Mark "D" Heinonen, Joseph "McShagger" Heinonen and Karl Heinonen who play alternative rock.

Stumble out

Robin Leach and Randy White, who play funky blues and rock.


A rock band put together by Kenny McNally of Munising, featuring Heather McNally.

Other family fun will include games for the kids, bounce houses and a costume contest. People are encouraged to wear the traditional lederhosen of the German-Bavarian peoples for that part of the festivities.

The event concludes at 11:30 p.m., but for adults, an after-party is set at The Log Jam in Munising starting at midnight.

For Kusmirek, a Munising native who's played in nationally known bands like The Gin Blossoms and Bit O'Jane, Rocktoberfest allows him to bring together the affection he holds for his hometown, his musical background and some fresh ideas.

"I got the idea from when I was on tour with The Gin Blossoms," Kusmirek said. "We performed at so many October festivals around the country from small towns to major cities ... and I always said Munising would make a great place to have some of the events."

Kusmirek is hoping Rocktoberfest will become a tradition in the community.

"We are starting out small but have great intentions of growing the event every year," he said. "The Munising Visitors Bureau was looking for some ideas for family fun events in the the Munising area. This is the first thing I came up with. We are looking to have the event every year and grow it into a bigger band lineup.

"I only had 29 days to pull this one off ... but next year I will have more time and a bigger budget."

The Munising area remains a hidden jewel to many Upper Peninsula residents, Kusmirek said. Rocktoberfest may lure some of those who haven't visited before to the lovely town along the Lake Superior shore.

"This event is to celebrate the fall colors, local beer, music and family fun," Kusmirek said. "The fall colors in the Munising area are amazing. I hope people are able to come to check them out."

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is



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