Hiawatha!

MARQUETTE – Susan Divine expects there may be some three-generation family attendees at this year’s Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival.

That’s because this year is the 35th annual festival and Divine, the executive director of the Hiawatha Music Cooperative, said some folks have been coming to the event since it started all those years back.

“We’re going to have a photo display in the information tent and I think people will get a kick out of seeing themselves from all those years ago,” Divine said. “Some of the adults might see photos of themselves as children. Some people were children when they first started to go to see the festival.

“A lof of people who ave been going since the start are now bringing their grandchildren,” she said. “This truly is a multi-generational event.”

This year’s edition of Hiawatha is set for July 19-21 at Tourist Park in Marquette and organizers are thrilled one aspect of the park has returned: The swimming beach.

“We’ve had people say to us that the beach is the best babysitter in the comments we’ve gotten from parents,” said Chuck Ganzert, chairman of the Hiawatha music committee. “The beach was always one of the great things before the Silver Lake basin blew out (in 2003). The parents love the children’s area, but sometimes it was great for a parent or two to take a group of kids down to the beach, where there are lifeguards, to sit and talk while the kids play. The other parents could go off and have other festival fun.

“When the beach was gone, what could they do,” he said. “Having the beach back makes the park at lot more attractive. The campers enjoyed the lake. They missed it.

“Now we’re back to being a lake festival again,” Ganzert said.

Divine said a special anniversary event is in its planning stages.

“We’re doing a campsite decorating contest,” she said. “We’re going to be asking campers to pick a favorite year, band, or general era and decorate their campsite to go with that theme.”

The Hiawatha board of directors will walk around the park to judge campsites on the festival’s final day. The winner will receive a yet-to-be-determined prize.

“With the anniversary, we’re also celebrating the fact that the lake and the beach are back. We are so very happy about that,” Divine said.

The 35th Hiawatha Festival kicks off with a Get Acquainted Dance at 7 p.m. Friday, July 19, with sets by Craver, Hicks, Watson & Newberry; the Royal Garden Trio; and Bonsoir Catin.

A full schedule music and activities starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 20 and will continue through 10 p.m. Sunday, July 21.

Workshops each day will include a mix of local and main stage performers. Also on the docket will be a Children’s Area with music and crafts; special activities for teens on Saturday night; and a variety of food vendors.

Another festival tradition is the Artists in the Round art and craft show and sale, coordinated by the Oasis Gallery in Marquette. Added this year is a Youth Artists Corner where young people ages 717 can sell their handiwork.

To learn more about the festival or to order tickets online, visit the Hiawatha Music Co-op website at www.hiawathamusic.org.

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