Hiawatha Music Festival takes the stage Friday

The Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival is about to return to Marquette for its 36th year. The festival comes back to Tourist Park this Friday and runs through Sunday.

The main performance stage was being set up in the park earlier this week. The nearby Tourist Park Dam was rebuilt in late 2012 and the beach itself reopened last year. Organizers were glad to have it back, but they think the beach will be used more this time than a year ago.

“Hiawatha loves having the water back at the festival and at Tourist Park,” Hiawatha Music Co-Op executive director Susan Divine said. “It’s just a beautiful setting. Unfortunately, the weather was a little cooler last year, and this weekend looks very, very good for swimming, so I think the festival-goers will enjoy the beach a little bit more than they did last year.”

Organizers are once again holding a campsite decorating contest this year. Judges will pick a winner Sunday night who will receive a camping tag for next year’s festival.

“One of the great things about Hiawatha is that we’re an eclectic festival, so there’ll be people in a variety of different styles of music,” Hiawatha Music Co-Op music committee chair Chuck Ganzert said. “There are so many festivals that maybe only focus on one. We focus on many.”

The time frame for buying tickets in advance ended last week. A ticket office at the gate will open at 8 a.m. on Friday, and the gate itself will open at noon. A single-day ticket costs $50, and a full-weekend ticket is $80.