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Bridge Fest - Cancelled due to COVID-19

Mid Jun - Ray Kestner Waterfront Park

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 15, 2020

HOUGHTON, MI — As organizers of the Bridgefest Celebration, we have been closely monitoring the ever-evolving COVID-19 crisis. Based on the high degree of uncertainty about what the coming months will hold; and in the best interest of the general public, our volunteers, vendors, and the groups that are involved, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this summer’s 33rd Annual Bridgefest Celebration (scheduled for June 18th-21st, 2020).

This is the time of year when Bridgefest organizers would typically be making critical decisions about programming and purchasing, and be pursuing financial, in-kind, and volunteer support from local individuals, businesses, and nonprofit groups. During this public health crisis, when our entire community is under such an intense strain, it does not seem feasible, or even conscionable, to request such commitments. “This was one of the most difficult decisions the Chamber and the Board have had to make in a very long time,” says Mary Myers, Board President of the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce. “Knowing the history and tradition behind the Bridgefest Celebration, I can assure you this decision was not made lightly or without extensive conversation amongst the Board. However, the health and safety of the community are much more important to us. We will be back in 2021, and it will be bigger, it will be better than ever.”

We understand there are local nonprofits, vendors, and groups that rely on Bridgefest for funds to support their activities. Taking into account the costs of food, equipment, and the impossibility of knowing how the COVID-19 crisis might impact attendance, we didn’t feel that we could plan a successful event that would support these groups. We considered postponing Bridgefest for a later date this year. But with so many questions about the timeline for the COVID-19 crisis, that is not feasible at the moment. “While we are disappointed at the thought of kicking off summer without this traditional event, we feel that moving forward with the given uncertainty would be a risk to our community, volunteers, vendors, and guests,” says Tara Arens, Manager of the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce. “We also want to make sure we can provide the support our local business community needs at this time. Bridgefest will be back, and we will aspire to make it better than ever. For now, we will focus on our local businesses to make sure they return stronger than before.”

While Bridgefest may not take place, we are looking into hosting a community-wide event when conditions allow, to help reboot our local business economy. We’ll provide more details as an event takes shape. Please reach out to the Chamber at info@keweenaw.org if you’re interested in getting involved.

The Keweenaw Chamber supports over 330 members and is the host of the Bridgefest Celebration. We strongly encourage our many supporters and community to find ways to continue to support these wonderful organizations and businesses in the months ahead. We will be back for Bridgefest 2021, June 17-20th!

General description:
Celebrate the anniversary of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, right here in Houghton-Hancock area in the U.P.

Bridgefest was organized to celebrate the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, which officially opened in 1959. The Bridge is a vital link between the communities of Houghton and Hancock, and is a gateway to the rest of the historic Keweenaw Peninsula. Lake Superior Magazine and LakeSuperior.com named Bridgefest as "Best Festival" in its 2016 Best of the Lake Awards.For additional information, email us bridgefest@up.net.

The weekend celebration includes a wide range of events including outdoor concerts, sporting events, and the annual Bridgefest parade and Jon Davis Memorial Fireworks. The waterfront is a scenic venue in which to browse exhibits from local artisans, as well as a place to grab a quick snack in between the many activities. Sponsored by the Keweenaw Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Bridgefest provides a variety of delicious foods and beverages in the Ray Kestner Waterfront Park on Friday and Saturday. To learn more about the history of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, you can visit the City of Houghton's Historic Tour online or browse the City of Hancock's history.

1100 East Lakeshore Drive, Houghton, MI 49931


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Franklin Square Inn
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Super 8
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Houghton, MI 49931
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