Meet the new fest, No sophomore slump for event

MARQUETTE – There are so many interesting, fun things that will be part of the Marquette Rotary West Harbor Fest 2013 weekend, event coordinator Gale LaJoye hardly knows which to talk about first.

Harbor Fest is marking its second year of existence.

“The first time was last year, with Project Pink,” LaJoye said, referring to the hugely successful concert by a Pink Floyd tribute band which headlined the inaugural Harbor Fest in 2012.

“There have been some changes in the festival, which used to be Seafood Fest,” he said. “When that first started, seafood was more a novelty around here. But that’s not the case any more.”

Instead, event organizers decided to alter the focus on the Marquette Rotary West fundraiser, which has distributed more than $600,000 to community causes since it began in the early 1980s.

Music and food will be centerpieces of the two-day festival, but myriad other activities also are part of what’s taking place.

As for the music, this year, Harbor Fest’s Friday night concert will be headlined by Highway 61 Revisited, a Bob Dylan tribute concert produced and performed by the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua of Bayfield, Wis.

Tickets are $20 at the gate, with children 12 and under admitted for $10 and family passes (two adults, two children) at $45.

The Black Rocks House Band, based out of the Black Rocks Brewery in Marquette, will serve as the opening act from 6:30 to 8 p.m., with the Dylan tribute spectacular starting at 8 p.m.

Prior to the start of Friday’s music, the Marquette Breakfast Rotary Youth Benefit Dinner: Farm to Fork is planned, with tickets sold for $15. Only 250 Fish to Fork tickets will be available, with the meal including a traditional Lake Superior fish boil or a chicken filet along with potatoes, salad, dessert and a soft drink. Beer and wine will be available for an additional charge.

Those wishing to purchase dinner tickets should note they are also required to purchase concert tickets.

“We are going to have a great Friday night concert,” LaJoye said.

And the outstanding music will continue Saturday, Aug. 24.

“As the title and lyrics from one of Drive’s original songs says ‘get up out of your seat’,” LaJoye said. “Saturday night, we are going to dance, dance, dance.”

Local rock band Drive is the opening main-stage act for Aug. 24’s musical offerings on what is being called Family Fun Day and Reunion Night, with no admission charge for a full day of activities.

Drive will play from 6-8 p.m. Aug. 24, with the reunion of Marquette legends Walrus starting at 8 p.m. and Tret Fure – a noted singer-songwriter who’s a Marquette native – joining in the musical fun as Walrus’ special guest.

The music is the cherry on the top of an all-day Saturday sundae of fun. The long list of activities is part of the shifting emphasis of the festival.

“The focus of the festival is now on Lake Superior, on boating, on experiencing what’s here in Marquette,” he said. “Boat building and boat restoration are of interest to our community. We wanted to make this a showcase like other groups do for classic cars.”

On Aug. 24, classic cars, too, will be on display, but boats will be a main thrust of what’s in store for festival participants during the day.

Wooden water craft will be on display; free demonstrations on boat building and paddling styles, among other topics, will be offered; children’s hands-on workshops will take place; and noted singer, songwriter and tall ship captain Tom Kastle will take to the stage from 1 to 3 p.m.

In addition, there will be food vendors; a craft beer and wine tent; and artist booths.

“Then, it’s going to be a reunion evening,” LaJoye said. “It’s going to be really fun. We will have a dance floor and some great musicians will be taking to the stage.

“I’ve already heard from people from Florida, from California, who are coming back home to Marquette for this,” he said. “That’s something we are going to try to build on, to make this a reunion for people who already love Marquette and a chance for other people to get to know this amazing place.

“And all the profits go back to the community, so what could be better?”

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