Here’s a look at the runners as they lined up to take part in last year’s annual NorthReach Waterfront Festival Run. The four-day Waterfront Festival will kick off Aug. 1 with the run scheduled for Aug. 3. The festival at Great Lakes Memorial Park in Menominee is in its 31st year. <br> Special to the EagleHerald
Here’s a look at the runners as they lined up to take part in last year’s annual NorthReach Waterfront Festival Run. The four-day Waterfront Festival will kick off Aug. 1 with the run scheduled for Aug. 3. The festival at Great Lakes Memorial Park in Menominee is in its 31st year.
Special to the EagleHerald
MENOMINEE - Rock the Island. Check. Fourth of July celebration. Check. Logging & Heritage Festival. Check. The 100 Miler sailboat race. Check. The Brown Trout Derby. July 27-28. The Waterfront Festival. Aug. 1-4.

Festivals, celebrations and events are popping up so fast you can hardly catch your breath from one before making plans for another. Nancy Douglas is at the helm of this year's Waterfront Festival, the same place she's been for most of the 31 years the event has been held.

"I'm not getting any younger but I've got a great crew that comes back year after year and they know their jobs," said the veteran festival director. "They're just great people to work with."

As always, it would be nearly impossible to name all the volunteers and organizations responsible for the success of the big gig by the bay. Needless to say it is a community event put on by the community for the community. After so many years with so many return volunteers, the nitty-gritty of setting up runs like clockwork.

"We have all the big pieces in place. It's just following up on the details," explained Douglas. "There are always devils in the details but so far things are going really smooth. Last year we changed Sunday up a bit to have the band concert in the park and we're keeping that again this year. It'll look a lot like last year, just different players and a few surprises."

Just what those "surprises" are, Douglas wouldn't say. But she did confirm there were going to be six drum and bugle corps in the parade on Aug. 4 and that the fireworks crew would have a special tribute to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of Menominee County.

From early in its history the Waterfront Festival has been a drawing card from family and class reunions and now more and more weddings are taking place around the four day event. The biggest problem some people have is finding a hotel room in the area.

For those who have never attended the festival before, one of the biggest selling points is that there is no admission charged. However, if you want to purchase an alcoholic beverage, you will have to get a wristband. Menominee city and auxiliary police keep a close watch to make sure people don't stray from the fenced in area with their adult beverages but there haven't been many if any problems in the history of the event. Virtually the entire Great Lakes Memorial Park is fenced in, offering plenty of room to walk around, visit with friends and enjoy music or any of the dozens of food booths on the grounds.

Local non-profit groups operate the food booths as a way to raise money for their various charitable causes throughout the year.

"We're party central here," said Douglas. "These are great communities and I think it's just terrific that we stop and celebrate a few times during the summer."

Another unsung hero behind the scenes of the festival is entertainment chairman Jim Callow.

"Jim always comes up with a great mix of local and regional talent and he has outdone himself this year," said Douglas. "From local reunions of some of the areas greatest musicians on Thursday night to returning bands from the Fox Valley and beyond there will be something for everyone."

On the web
www.menomineewaterfrontfestival.org