Hiawatha Countdown, Part 1

This week is a busy one at Marquette’s Tourist Park as the 32nd annual Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival is coming up this weekend.

All this week, here on ABC 10 News Now, we’ll look at the festival and how it comes together each year.

Tonight, a history lesson of sorts.

The festival was first held in 1978, after about a dozen music fans from the central U.P. attended something similar downstate.

When the group began organizing Hiawatha, the main goal was to bring affordable traditional music to the area.

That holds true today.

If you can’t afford to get into an event, your volunteer work will earn you a ticket!

In the festival’s early years, it was staged in Munising, then in Champion.

It moved to Marquette’s Tourist park in 1984.

Hiawatha is more than just a following of concert–goers.

In 1992, Hiawatha won the Governor’s Outstanding Arts Organization award.

The group has funded several music projects at area senior centers and schools.

And Hiawatha members have collaborated with other musical organizations in the area, including NMU’s Public Radio 90, which has broadcast segments of the festival for over 20 years.

From a small group of a dozen to more than 600 current members, Hiawatha has, in and of itself, become a tradition.

And it continues to be a show of volunteer force.

400 volunteers are needed during festival weekend.

Tomorrow night, you’ll meet one of those volunteers as we continue the countdown to this year’s festival.