NEGAUNEE, MI – 12/16/2014 – Just two weeks after the Negaunee Invitational Tournament was indefinitely canceled, Negaunee residents are now losing another long-standing tradition. The 2015 Heikki Lunta festival has been canceled. The Negaunee Irontown Association had this to say on their website:
“The Negaunee Irontown Association announces that the 2015 Heikki Lunta Festival will be cancelled. The event featured an ice fishing tournament, fireworks, and a community bonfire. The 2015 celebration, originally slated for January 17th, would have marked the festival’s 20th anniversary.
The Negaunee Irontown Association Board made a decision based on a lack of funding to purchase fireworks due to the rising costs associated with putting on this type of event. The local businesses who generously agreed to sponsor the event will be contacted in the coming weeks by Irontown staff. Starting in 2015 the Irontown Board will be focusing their efforts towards Pioneer Days, the scholarship fund and the annual Tree Lighting. The Irontown board is urging everyone’s support for these community events whether it is in the form of donations, sponsorships, supporter cards or volunteers to put on these quality events in the future.
As a 23-year resident who grew up here, it feel like another piece of me has just been removed. The fishing tournament, snowmobile races, fireworks, and that bonfire were always something to look forward to. One of my oldest memories I have is my father carrying me on his shoulders down to Teal Lake to watch the fireworks. To this day, I can see my classmate Luke VanLandschoot standing next to me while the two of us pretended Negaunee was under attack during the booming sounds over Teal. Or standing outside of Lakeview Gymnasium with 30 other kids who were taking a break from “open gym” to get a glimpse of the fire and the show they put on.
I’m only 23 years old, so I’m not very wise, but it does make me realize that my grandparent’s generation may be done having the ability to put these events on, and that my parent’s generation doesn’t have the numbers to do it either, whether by lack of interest or people leaving the area. It really is time for the 20 & 30 year olds to step up and do their part so that our sons and daughters can have the same great experiences that stick with you into adulthood. I’m not trying to come off as preachy either. I’m not saying you have to dedicate all of your free time to doing this, but any donation helps. Volunteering at Pioneer Days helps. All little things add up into the fantastic events that make being a resident of Negaunee, MI special.