Celebrating our independence

COPPER?COUNTRY?-All around the Copper Country communities will celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks, cookouts and more. In Gay, the Fourth of July means one thing.

It’s parade time.

“There’s a lot of local flavor,” said Sherman Township Supervisor Rob Middlemis-Brown. “People put elaborate and sometimes very strange floats in, people dress up and kids put their bicycles in the parade. It’s a pretty funny parade.”

The parade begins around 2 p.m. Friday in the community of Gay. While there will be firetrucks and people tossing candy for the kids like in most parades, the Gay parade offers something a bit different as well.

“It’s pretty much a very open parade and anyone can put a float in it,” Middlemas-Brown said.

There is no need to sign up ahead of time or even to have float, people can just walk in the parade, Middlemas-Brown said. One year, he recalled, a group riding motorcycles was unaware the parade would be starting when they decided to ride through Gay. Instead of going around, they just became part of the line-up. Each year brings interesting floats as well, which can be informative or just silly.

“There’ve been floats that have been about events that went on in Gay during the mining era with lumberjacks, miners or a ghost,” Middlemas-Brown said. “Last year there was a float dedicated entirely to the red solo cups you use for draught beers, I think that was a favorite last year.”

In addition to the parade the local fire department holds an annual fundraiser cookout while the women’s auxiliary hosts a bazaar at the community hall.

“It’s a big sale with antiques, clothing, china and all kinds of things,” he said.

This year there is a new, fully-functioning park in town with a pavilion, water fountains and restrooms which is adjacent to the historic Gay School. The school, which is owned and being restored by the Keweenaw Historical Society, will be open all day for free tours. Guests can see a classroom which has been restored to what it was like in the 1930s, weaving looms and photographs and documentation of historic Gay. They may even find the answers to looming questions about the town.

“They can even read the sign in the park and find out why the town is called Gay,” Middlemas-Brown said.

Anyone is invited to come join the parade and festivities. The bazaar and cookout will begin at noon and Middlemas-Brown predicts that the fun will last late into the afternoon.

“It’s a fun day for the family to come out,” he said. “Everyone’s welcome to come out – please join us and it’s the annual fundraiser for the fire department so we’d love for anyone to come out and join us on Lake Superior in Gay.”

Other festivities around the Copper Country include:

Ahmeek’s Fourth of July activities begin with a bicycle parade at 11 a.m. There will be children’s games, a penny toss, watermelon eating contest, raffle drawing, bingo, food and refreshments and live music.

Dollar Bay will be starting the celebration on July 3 with free horse & wagon rides at 6:30 p.m. and a street dance at 7:30 pm. Snacks and refreshments will be available at the fire hall starting at 6:30. On July 4 the VFW Memorial Service takes place at 11 am followed by the parade at noon. Children’s games will begin at 1:30 pm behind the fire hall and the Franz Family Ministries will perform at 2 pm at Pioneer Park. The snack & refreshment stand, the pasty sale and the chicken BBQ all begin at 10:30.

The Village of Lake Linden will have their fireworks display on Tuesday, July 3 at dusk in the village park. Live music, food and refreshments will be available in the park from 6:30 to 10:30 pm. On Wednesday, July 4 there will be a parade at 9:30 am with live music, activities, games, races, food & refreshments at the Park throughout the day. The Children’s Parade begins at 6:30 and there will be a street dance at the Lakes Lounge from 6 to 10 pm with live music.

The VFW Post 6165 in South Range will sponsor a wide variety of Fourth of July activities including a Flag raising ceremony at the community building at 11:30 a.m., Keweenaw Brewing Company tours and sampling from noon until 2 p.m., a parade from 3 to 5 p.m. and fireworks at dusk at Veteran’s Memorial Park. There will also be prizes for parade entries of $150 for first place, $100 for second place, $75 for third place, and $200 for most patriotic.

For more information visit or contact your local township office.