Chamber Director's Blog

Fair & Fall

Come to the Gogebic County Fair, Ironwood, MI, 24-27 August!  Upon entering the Exposition Building you will find (down by the 4-H Ice Cream booth) the "Gogebic County Chambers of Commerce" booth.  Whereupon if you stop in, you can meet your's truly, the writer, as well as some folks from some of our other cooperating Chambers:  Wakefield, Lake Gogebic, and Watersmeet.   We will have a full collection of area maps, brochures, some discount cards, business cards, & even phone books!   The Fair marks the end of "summertime" U.P. Nort here, and already Fall Color inspectors are out and about, making observations and predictions.   Stop in at the booth--be glad to see everyone at the Fair!

"Fair" Weather for First Friday

It's August already!  Imagine that!  All the elves are just returning from summer break and getting the toy factories started up again--there is not much time if you are going to have all the things ready to pack into the sleigh.  Yet, for those of us down south here in the U.P., August is not only a reminder of things to come, but one of the best months to celebrate all the good things that occur when the weather at last is warm and the days are still long.  This Friday, August 4th, is the Downtown Ironwood Development Authority 's First Friday in August.  Starting at 3:30 with the Depot Park Farmer's Market, and continuing on until at least 8:00 with other events--including live outdoor music, shopping, eating, drinking, & just hanging out in beautiful downtown Ironwood.  Many downtown merchants will be open late, and the Depot Chamber Office and Historical Society will have open house from 6:00 to 8:00. This First Friday in August will be a great time to meet, greet, shop, and eat!    Looking ahead, August 24-27 marks the Gogebic County Fair at the Fairgrounds (just off U.S. 2) in Ironwood.   This year's Fair will feature a host of new events and opportunities to participate across a whole range of activities.  Our Chamber will have a booth in the Exposition building and I hope to see many of our friends there!  Stop in, pick up some free maps and guides, and meet your neighbors!

Summer Focus - Festival Ironwood

The 4th of July is now receeding in the rear view mirror, and the heart of Summer has a last reached us (we hope!).  July 19-22 marks Festival Ironwood, which is held downtown in Depot park.   The schedule is now posted here on the webpage under Events--Festival Ironwood.   As the orders have now been placed for 4 sunny days in a row without rain, we can be sure that this year's Festival Ironwood will be an outstandingly good time!  As you look over the event schedule, you will note that while some things appear to be similar to last year, it is likely that certain events will be larger in scope.  Already over 50 craft vendors have registered for the Saturday Craft Show!   The Chamber of Commerce Dart Tournament has a greater cash prize for the winners this year, and 4 rather than 3 boards will be on present to await the winning throws.  Likewise the Bean Bag toss, which was such a hit last year, is being expanded with more bean bags and target boxes.   All in all, this should be a grand four days of stuff to see, stuff to listen to, stuff to eat, and stuff to do--very fitting for this 25th Anniversary Year of Festival Ironwood.   The Chamber office in the Depot will be open Wednesday through Saturday, and staffing for the Historical Side of the Depot will also expand so that folks who perhaps have never seen the mining displays can stop in and visit them.   

Summer Focus

The 4th of July is now receeding in the rear view mirror, and the heart of Summer has a last reached us (we hope!).  July 19-22 marks Festival Ironwood, which is held downtown in Depot park.   The schedule is now posted here on the webpage under Events--Festival Ironwood.   As the orders have now been placed for 4 sunny days in a row without rain, we can be sure that this year's Festival Ironwood will be an outstandingly good time!  As you look over the event schedule, you will note that while some things appear to be similar to last year, it is likely that certain events will be larger in scope.  Already over 50 craft vendors have registered for the Saturday Craft Show!   The Chamber of Commerce Dart Tournament has a greater cash prize for the winners this year, and 4 rather than 3 boards will be on present to await the winning throws.  Likewise the Bean Bag toss, which was such a hit last year, is being expanded with more bean bags and target boxes.   All in all, this should be a grand four days of stuff to see, stuff to listen to, stuff to eat, and stuff to do--very fitting for this 25th Anniversary Year of Festival Ironwood.   The Chamber office in the Depot will be open Wednesday through Saturday, and staffing for the Historical Side of the Depot will also expand so that folks who perhaps have never seen the mining displays can stop in and visit them.   

"The Season" has started!

An early morning shower has just now ceased here at the Chamber office in the Historic Ironwood Depot--the first rain after several glorious days of SUN.  The Ironwood Area Historical Society volunteer guides are back in action at the Depot, where they staff it Monday through Friday from noon to 4:00 p.m. and on Saturday mornings.  Already traveling folks from MN, lower MI, WI, IL, MT, and other spots have stopped in for maps, local Chamber member information, and to tour the museum.  A new History guide this year is Ed Lakner, retired IHS teacher, who has a fount of local knowledge!  Stop in and say hi to Ed on Wednesdays!    Email notice just came in this morning that the U.P. Cruising Motorcycle Guide for the entire U.P. is now in press and distribution to our office will be very soon.  The Ironwood Chamber of Commerce did a 1/2 page ad in this year's edition, highlighting 6 "don't miss" Ironwood attractions.  Thousands of bikers criss-cross the U.P. every summer, and this guide, with its excellent maps (arranged East to West) is a wonderful travel helpmate (even for non-bikers!).   One of our Ironwood attractions (since 1964) has been the Hiawatha statue.  This past week I applied (yes, I did it myself with some computer help from Al and Tabetha) for a project grant from the Michigan Arts and Cultural Affairs office.  Of course, I don't know if we will get a grant award from them, but I did apply.  Currently, Hiawatha has about $14K in his restoration account, but the bid for complete repair and restoration came in at $24K--so any and all help to get to that number is needed (gofundme.com/Hiawatha2016)!   Lastly, for those of you who follow this blog, late June/early July will see the overhaul of this website homepage.  It is hoped that new features, new layout, and direct streaming links to our Facebook page (now with 1,190 friends!) will help improve our outreach and make for easier knowledge transmission.   Chamber member Al Estola, (Al's Computers) will be implementing the technical adjustments with content/visuals input ideas from our Board of Directors and members.   More than ever before it seems that travelers utilize that phone in their pocket for information and travel tips.  Have a more friendly and attractive homepage will allow us to better serve these folks.  Within about a week I should have the 2017 Festival Ironwood Calendar of Events up.  At the committee meeting last week, it looks like all the pieces are just about in place for an outstanding 25th Anniversary Festival Ironwood (July 19-22) at Depot Park, Downtown Ironwood.