Everywhere you went in Alpena on the Fourth of July there were smiling faces and a sense of excitement. From the time contestants began working on their sand sculptures, to the parade, Maritime Festival and fireworks show, people took full advantage of the holiday celebration and the comfortable weather the day offered.
Daniel Wertoff said he watched the parade and then made his way to the Maritime Festival. He said after that he was attending a cookout with family and friends on Long Lake before coming back into town for the fireworks. He said there are so many things to do it is hard to take them all in and still spend time with loved ones.
"It would be nice to be able to be in two or three different spots at one time because there is no way we are going to be able to do everything in one day," Wertoff said. "We are having a lot of fun, but after being on our feet since this morning it is going to be nice to sit and relax at the cottage for a while. We are going to be back for the fireworks and then I'm sure by the time we get back to the cottage we will be ready for bed."
The annual cardboard regatta race in the Thunder Bay River has become one of the most popular events on Independence Day. Thousands of people lined the river and stood on the bridge to watch the the homemade water crafts compete against one another.
Jeremiah Crumb, his wife and two sons were visiting Michigan from Santa Ana, Calif., and went on the glass-bottom boat tour. They missed the earlier events, but did get a good seat for the races and of the tall ship Peacemaker, which was docked in the river.
He said was impressed with the celebration being putting on and was looking forward to spending the day at the beach. He said he also planned to watch the fireworks. He said this was his family's first visit to northern Michigan and he is impressed.
"This is sort of a small town compared to Los Angeles, but there are people everywhere and they all seem to be having a good time," Crumb said. "We arrived in Alpena last night and are spending the day and then we are going to Mackinaw Saturday. Alpena is gorgeous and the trip here was beautiful. There are so many lakes and rivers it is sort of breathtaking. I love it."
Roxanne Thompson was walking around Starlite Beach looking at the sand sculptures and getting some sun. She said her husband had to work, but that she didn't want to sit at home all day be herself, so decided to see the art and read a book in the shade. Thompson said after she was done at the beach she was going to go home, do some chores and call it a night.
"There is a lot going on and it all sounds fun, but I have some things to do at home and have to go back to work tomorrow," Thompson said. "My husband is off tomorrow, so maybe we will go to the fireworks in Presque Isle tomorrow night."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com.