Yoopers Ride Free Days turns into festival

MUNISING–What qualifies someone born outside of the Upper Peninsula to become a yooper? Many locals have various requirements for newcomers to take on the name, but this weekend all you need is a local address on your I.D.

Pictured Rocks Cruises is offering its annual Yooper Ride Free Days this weekend. Upper Peninsula residents can take a free boat ride along the National Pictured Rocks Lakeshore, Saturday and Sunday upon showing a local address on a license. This week the Pictured Rocks Interpretive Center is also open for free admission.

“A lot of people in the Upper Peninsula never witnessed Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, I think it’s a first time event for them,” General Manager John Madigan said. “They love it especially if the weather is good. There is a great festival for families, this really turned into a family event. There’s music in the park, all kind of games for kids, there’s clowns, and all kind of exhibits. So it has turned into more than just a boat ride for Upper Peninsula residents.”

Last year the event sold out in the early afternoon with 3,000 locals participating in the tour. The Interpretive Center is new this season filled with the history of Alger county, mining, and human interest stories dating back to before Pictured Rocks was recognized nationally.