The 4th of July kicks off tourist season here on the Keweenaw Peninsula, and as we discovered today, it's hard to find a secluded spot when everyone is out and about (more on that in a future Fun in the Sun submission!). But it still isn't so crowded that a front row seat for fireworks is out of the question. Here's what happens up here the first few days of July.
There are parades, a fish toss, fireworks, more parades, and more today. @upchickadee and I went for a long paddle instead, kayaking from Great Sand Bay to Eagle Harbor, Michigan. The round trip was about three hours. More on that soon. But what was cool during that excursion was looking down at my phone as we got near the beach, asking me if I wanted to continue using cellular service outside of the United States. Apparently, just barely, we can pick up a slight signal from across the water in Thunder Bay, Ontario. It made me remember to wish our Canadian friends a happy (belated) Canada Day. Once we’re north of Calumet up here, Thunder Bay radio stations become an easy catch, and CBC television is on our local cable system.
July 3rd was the big day for Lake Linden’s fireworks. There are two other fireworks shows on the peninsula on the 4th (probably more, as I think Baraga does a show, but I know South Range and Copper Harbor do a nice job; the latter is an especially impressive show, all the moreso because I know the people setting them off quite well). Lake Linden, instead, sets theirs up for the third. Lake Linden’s a town of only about one thousand people, but that more than quadruples, at least, this night.
What’s amazing about this show is that there’s plenty of room to stretch out. Most fireworks shows I remember growing up in Chicago were just a sea of blankets on the ground. Here, everyone had plenty of room, and the only notable bit of congestion is the traffic afterwards. The show wasn’t overly long, but it is quite impressive. Especially since we can all get so close to it.
Today (as I write this), the 4th, means I’m off from work, but I have to work tomorrow, so I’m not doing any of the late fireworks shows. It’s almost 10pm right now, and it’s still far too light out. They usually get going between 10.30 and 11. Copper Harbor would be my show of choice, but that would mean getting home no sooner than 2am.
But that’s getting ahead of things a bit. This morning, Lake Linden had a parade and games and all sorts of stuff that’s great for families. South Range, a community just south of Houghton, does a nice job with this as well. Out in Gay, Michigan, there’s a famous parade, as well as the fish toss. Really. There’s a lottery to get to do this. Not my thing; I’m a vegetarian, and if I’m not going to eat a creature, I’m sure not going to toss it. But I think they blindfold you and spin you around a whole bunch before you throw. Last year a 10-year old who wasn’t paying attention got clocked in the head by a salmon. He was okay.
The afternoon is kind of for everyone to do their own thing. We finished paddling around 6pm, and dinner seemed to be in order. We went to the Hut, a roadside diner in Kearsarge. It’s one of our favorite places, and the french fries are amazing. They were quite busy, and their air conditioning wasn’t working. Considering how many windows they have and how most of them were facing the sun, it was hot. That just means more beverages to get through.
So now, it’s a two month sprint until September, our busy tourist season, which traditionally ends for my friends and I with the Copper Harbor Trails Festival, a mountain bike race and other assorted nonsense on one of the three best mountain bike trail systems in the world. Seriously. They’re that epic. Let me know if your’e coming and I’ll show you around!
I hope your July festivals are equally fun. I’ll get a Fun in the Sun article up this weekend with our amazing kayak adventure from today. Soak in the sun, northern hemisphere!