Chamber Director's Blog

"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.

The Forces Awaken!

Although seasonal in temperature (i.e., chilly) the sun is out ths Monday (5/8/17) and all around the Ironwood Area Chamber of Commerce world there are signs of action and adventure ahead!  (Disneyish, but true).   This week will see the first Ironwood/Wakefield joint Chamber Business Box Lunch at noon (Wakefield Municipal Building) with a presentation by Chris Whitburn on "Google Advertising for Small Businesses."  Tonight (Monday the 8th), the Festival Ironwood organizing committee will meet at  the Ironwood American Legion (basement of the Memorial Building) at 7:00--all are welcome to attend as we work to finalize this year's calendar of events.   Have an interest in Ironwood History?  You can help "dust off" that interest by stopping over to the Depot tomorrow (Tuesday the 9th) at 10:00 for the yearly Historical Society Work Bee where Ironwood History will in fact be dusted off and made ready for the new season of museum visitors.  Better yet, consider joining the Society--only $15 membership and all the artifacts you can dust!   Chamber member renewals were sent out last Friday for those whose memberships were due for renewal.   The office looks forward to their return!   Also--new members over the past two weeks include:  Bale Watch and Clock (newly relocated to Lake Street--Grand Reopening on Saturday, 20 May, at 10:00 am); Black River Valley Pub (on Black River Road), and Zak's Realty (downtown Ironwood).   Ironwood Carnegie Library (Chamber member) is having their Spring Book Sale, Saturday, 13 May at the Memorial Building Auditorium--stop in and pick up some new summer deck-chair reading!   Lastly--The Ironwood City Wide Rummage Sale is set for Saturday, 3 June.  As of today, I have not one returned registration form.   You can download them from this website (events--city wide rummage sale).   DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION is Friday, 26 May.   Much going on all over town--flowers are up, yards are getting raked, and renewal is in the air!