ALPENA - Continuing with tradition, the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary once again will provide a nautical spin on Fourth of July activities. The 12th annual Maritime Festival will take place Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, 500 W. Fletcher St., with an array of activities for young and old alike. The all-day community event is free.
Live entertainment will be held from 12-5 p.m., beginning with Genot Winter Elk Picor's family show at noon and again at 3 p.m. filled with dances, songs and story-telling. The ever-popular folk group Song of the Lakes will be returning with Celtic and Scandinavian-style performances complete with Michigan maritime history at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. The 5 p.m. show will also feature a National Hand Jive Competition. Acoustic duo Hipps-n-Ricco will play at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
According to festival Director Jean Bauer, the glass-bottom boat Lady Michigan will be hitting the water a couple times throughout the day for public tours of surrounding shipwrecks, and the sea cadet training boat Pride of Michigan will be docked behind the sanctuary for tours as well. The Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum will return for the second year, offering kids science-based educational and fun activities, Bauer said. Jim Miller, an outdoor enthusiast well known for his hand-carved birch bark canoes, will be on hand at the heritage center for a live demonstration. Project Lakewell, a living history program that tells stories of voyageurs' place in maritime history and in fur trading, will appear at this year's event again.
The second annual Thunder Bay Cardboat Boat Regatta will be held midway through the festival. From 12-2 p.m., boat builders will be setting up and fine-tuning their uniquely crafted cardboard vessels before check-in deadline at 2 p.m., when each team will be reviewed by judges. Then at 2:30 p.m., the boat races begin on the Thunder Bay River.
"We have had more community support and sponsors than we ever had before, which is good," said Bauer, who has been involved as an event chair along with Alpena Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Deb Pardike for many years. Sanctuary Media and Outreach Coordinator Stephanie Gandulla also has had a hand in coordinating the festival.
Kids' games and activities throughout the day include face painting, a water slide, remotely operated underwater vehicle demonstration, crafts, and prizes. The small boat workshop will be available to peruse, food vendors including local whitefish will be offered, and the heritage center's shipwreck century exhibits will be open all day.
What: 12th annual Maritime Festival
When: Wednesday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, 500 W. Fletcher St., Alpena
* Free admission
Schedule of Entertainment
12 p.m. Genot Picor
1 p.m. Song of the Lakes
2 p.m. Hipps-n-Ricco
3 p.m. Genot Picor
4 p.m. Hipps-n-Ricco
5 p.m. Song of the Lakes, National Hand Jive Competition
For more information, visit thunderbay.noaa.gov or contact Bauer at 356-8805 ext. 13 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jessica Nikolich can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 354-3111 ext. 343.