We can’t ignore spring

It’s April, and here we are, heeding warnings of another snow storm. I admit I’m a victim of pretending spring has sprung because of the tantalizing warm weather for the past week, but I know I can’t get my hopes up for a while.

Even if things aren’t going to thaw anytime soon, that doesn’t stop determined Yoopers from continuing on with spring activities.

Residents of the Upper Peninsula seem to push through the cold with unrivaled optimism. Eight months of winter might scare many people away, but residents here endure it, knowing there’s four months of fishing, softball, long weekends at the lake, double-scoop ice cream cones, fiery orange sunsets and much more to look forward to.

So, while Mother Nature is unable to make up her mind, the West End community has, and it has decided to focus on spring. The coming months are full of activities to enjoy, whether you’ll need to wear a jacket and boots or not.

Bell Hospital is hosting the Sixth Annual Women’s Health Expo from 8:30-11:30 a.m. April 12 Bell Hospital. The event will not be canceled due to inclement weather.

The Old Gossard-Pioneer Square building is having a Spring Fling Open Market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 12. The businesses inside are sponsoring a sale extravaganza featuring homemade bread, holiday candy, oils and vinegars, quilts, soaps, weavings, cards, dolls, clothing and jewelry.

The Western Marquette County Health Foundation is partnering with the YMCA of Marquette County to present the area’s only indoor bike race on May 3: the Head to Head Bike Race, previously known as the Bell Bike Race. The event will utilize the new West-End YMCA facility in Negaunee, which was formerly the downtown Range Bank building. Visit the Head to Head Bike Race Facebook page to learn more.

Art enthusiasts will look forward to two major art events happening in May: The Artist Stroll and Mining the Arts Festival. The Artist Stroll takes place May 17 through May 31 throughout the West End. This event showcases local artists and pairs them with a business, which will “adopt” a specific artist and display their art. Businesses donate wall and floor space where the public can visit and view the displayed art. Contact Stacey Willey at Globe Printing or Renee Michaud at the Nook and Cranny Art Studio for more information.

May 24-25 marks the first Mining the Arts event, taking place in Republic at Munson Park. The festival includes two days of food, fun and talent.

Artists, artisans, and crafters will have the unique opportunity to showcase their work with the backdrop of the historic Republic Mine. Vendor applications for this event are available at the Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Area Chamber of Commerce office, or by contacting Stacy with the Republic Arts Council.

Warm weather thoughts at the chamber are not lost, either.

The Sportsman’s Triathlon, Townwide Rummage Sale, Party in the Park and Northern Lights Rave Run 5K and Kids’ 1K are all on our agenda.

I also want to mention that the GINCC is pulling together its 2014 Cabins and Cottages listing. The list is a compilation of area cabins, cottages, and vacation homes available to rent for visitors travelling to Marquette County. Property listings include a description of the facility, location, dates of operation and cost to rent.

If you are interested in listing your property, call the GINCC office at 486-1111.

Stay connected with the GINCC on Facebook, check out our website, or stop in to the office to stay informed and support this great West End community.

Editor’s note: Ashley Geist is the Marketing and Communications manager of the Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Area Chamber of Commerce