A place to rest for ‘Fest

HANCOCK – FinnFest USA 2013 is just two months away, and organizers are concerned there may not have been enough housing arranged for the thousands of visitors expected to come to the Keweenaw.

Charles Eshbach, FinnFest housing committee spokesman, said there is a wide range in the number of visitors expected for the event from 3,000 to 10,000.

“There’s all kinds of estimates about how many are coming,” he said.

There are 1,074 commercial beds available at area hotels, motels and cabins, Eshbach said. Some of those have already been rented for the week of June 16 to 23.

“Not everything’s been booked,” he said.

Michigan Technological university has offered 700 dorm rooms, and Finlandia University has offered 116 dorm rooms, for a total of 1,890 with the commercial rooms, Eshbach said.

FinnFest organizers would like to find at least 500 more beds for visitors, so Eshbach is making a public plea for people to “show their Keweenaw hospitality” to get those beds committed for June 16 to 23.

Eshbach said from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. on May 10, there will be a program on radio station WMPL to get listeners to offer their homes to FinnFest visitors.

“We need all we can get,” he said.

Eshbach said the Keweenaw Peninsula Chamber of Commerce is taking telephone calls from people who have space in their homes to offer to visitors. Chamber employees will fill out a form with questions about the name and location of those offering their homes, how much space they have, whether they will allow smoking, will children be allowed, and others. The chamber can be reached at 482-5240 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For other days and hours, call Heather at 370-1477.

The information from the questionnaires will be given to people who want rooms, Eshbach said, and those people will contact the people who have rooms.

“We’re strictly (confined to) putting the two together,” he said.