MARQUETTE — Major portions of Washington Street closed down today thanks to a slew of people lining the streets for the big parade in town. Members of the Shriners family across the mid-west gathered for the Midwest Shrine Association 2016 Convention – its biggest event of the year that began near the Shopko in Marquette.

For many of those participating, it was their first time in the Upper Peninsula.

“We’re one of the units from St. Paul, Minnesota and we’re a big promoter of the Shrine Hospital,” said an excited Burt Rovner, President of the Mighty Mites.

His fellow Mighty Mites member, Gary Hoven explained, “This is the big one of the year, so you have different temples all over multi-states that do this. We’re proud to be in Marquette – first time in the city.”

A bevy of different Shrine units marched through the parade in their own unique way. Some participants were from nearby in Green Bay, some from Minnesota, and some from as far up North as Canada. Some of them rode through on horses, some on the back of pick-up trucks, and some on go-carts.

No matter where they were from or how they arrived, all on hand enjoyed an opportunity to connect with other units from across the Midwest. However, it wasn’t just about connecting in one city. It was also a celebration of the group’s excellent efforts in philanthropy.

The celebration will continue throughout the weekend.