Food Fest draws large crowd

Marquette’s Elwood Mattson Lower Harbor Park was full of people Thursday as they sampled food at the International Food Festival.

Area restaurants set up booths for patrons to try different types of food, including pasties, ice cream and tacos.

The Marquette County Exchange Club has been putting on the event for the past 26 years, and is one of their biggest fundraisers of the year.

“Our primary mission is the prevention of child abuse, and to promote patriotism in youth and we thought the Fourth of July is the perfect way to do that,” Marquette County Exchange Board Member Mary Ritter said.  “We passed out flags at the beginning of the parade.”

“The vendors get eighty percent of the profits they make, and the rest of the money goes to charities in the area.”

The Food Fest also had live bands and children’s activities that allowed people to stay outside and enjoy the warm weather.

“It’s like a big party in the park with all your neighbors and friends,” Ritter said.  “I get to see people I haven’t seen all year, and it’s a great way to meet people that you haven’t seen in a long time, or even people you don’t know.  It seems like everyone is always having a good time.”

The Exchange Club raises around $50,000 from the Food Fest to donate to area charities.