EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
The Saturday night fireworks are one of the highlights of the Waterfront Festival in Menominee. This year was no exception.
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
The Saturday night fireworks are one of the highlights of the Waterfront Festival in Menominee. This year was no exception.
MENOMINEE — The tents have come down and the food is all gone, but residents from Menominee and the surrounding area still will have their memories of the fun-filled 31st annual Waterfront Festival this weekend.

The festival started Thursday evening and continued until Sunday afternoon. People gathered on 1st Street to enjoy the food, bring their children to the bounce houses and be entertained by events such as the firefighters’ waterball contest, fireworks, music and the parade.

“We really see this festival as a giant homecoming block party,” said Waterfront Festival Director Nancy Douglas prior to the event. “We know people choose to get married on this weekend and they choose to have family reunions on this weekend. We’re delighted to know we bring them back. It’s a busy, busy weekend in town.”

Among those people are Jami Twork and her family. She and her husband are originally from Menominee but have since moved to Green Bay.
She said they enjoyed coming back home and watching the annual parade on Sunday.

“We came to see the parade,” Twork said. “It was great — there was a lot of candy and a lot of good bands.”

After the parade, her family continued to enjoy the festival on 1st Street, which included bringing her children around to the bounce houses, slides and other children-themed entertainment.

“I do think that the kids’ activities have improved over the recent years,” Twork said. “They (her children) loved it, they wanted to stay, but we have to head home.”

Even by safety standards, Tom Gromala, public relations chairperson for the Emergency Rescue Squad, said the event went very smooth.

“From what I’ve heard, it has been a pretty quiet year,” he said from the first aid tent at the festival grounds. “This seems like a pretty well-rounded festival.”

On top of entertainment, there was a wide variety of food provided by the area’s non-profit organizations.

According to Darrell and Dennis Ethington, who were working at the Moose Lodge’s tent, this “was a real good year.”

The Moose Lodge provides the ever-popular elephant ears at the festival each year. This year, they sold approximately 2,500 of the sugar-coated pastry.

“It was one of my ideas, I guess because it was an easy thing to do,” Darrell said of when they started selling the elephant ears.

Dennis Ethington said the Moose Lodge has been involved with the Waterfront Festival since it was started 31 years ago. He said in the first few years, the didn’t have a tent but would sell hamburgers from a wagon they carted around the festival grounds.

Darrell Ethington added that they use the money raised each year to fund community service projects and to help donate money to the DAR Boys and Girls Club, among other youth-based groups.

“This year, the event went very well and very smoothly — the weather was wonderful,” he said.

According to Douglas, preparations for next year’s Waterfront Festival will begin as soon as September.