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The Keweenaw Star 'Blues Cruise'
Shakin' Up Marquette Harbors
Friday, August 31, 2007
By Michaeleen O’Sullivan, UPfirst feature writer
Photos by Michaeleen & Todd Carter, UPfirst staff photographers

Marquette, Michigan--Oh, what a weekend in Marquette!  The Marquette West Rotary Club's 24th Annual Seafood Festival last weekend at Lower Harbor's Mattson Park hosted thousands for Harbor cruises, nonstop music, and tasty seafood served up by friends and family to those lucky enough to be a part of life in the Upper Peninsula.

And for the special partygoers Friday night who reserved sold-out tickets, a rockin' and shakin' evening was had by all aboard Captain Funkey's Keweenaw Star Blues Cruise.  Sponsored by the Marquette Maritime Museum, the Blues Cruise featured Marquette's own beloved Flat Broke Blues Band.

And, as if that wasn't enough, the South Shore Fishing Derby, including organizer and participant Richard Burkman of Marquette, blasted off at 6:00 am Saturday morning with 70+ boats filled with anglers from all over the Midwest competing for $50,000 in prize-money.

Thousands gathered last Friday
at the 24th Annual Marquette West Rotary Club
Seafood Festival in Marquette's
Lower Harbor Mattson Park

During Friday night's 2-hour Blues Cruise aboard the Keweenaw Star, music was heard on beaches and docks of Marquette, according to Burkman.  While enjoying a beer with son Lee at the Seafood Festival Saturday afternoon after the Fishing Derby, Rich told me: "Oh, yeah, I know you had fun on that cruise.  I could hear the music from my boat at the Dockside the whole time you guys were out there last night."

Friday night's Blues Cruise was a captivating memory-maker, thanks to Captains Kraig, Fred, and Jason Funkey, owners of the Keweenaw Star and Keweenaw Excursions of Ahmeek. 

And Saturday's South Shore Fishing Derby made a lifetime memory for Rich Burkman and family.  Taking home 3rd place in the live catch category together with son Lee and friend Dave Schneider, Rich--a very generous Rich with all his prize money!--never stopped grinning at the Festival Saturday afternoon and early evening.

Other highlights of the sunny weekend included several narrated daytime Keweenaw Star cruises out to Presque Isle and back.

Flat Broke Blues Band setting up for last Friday's
9:00 pm 'Blues Cruise' on the Keweenaw Star

Friday's Blues Cruise evening began with a gorgeous view of the moon above serene waters over Marquette Harbor.  My husband, Todd, and I strolled along the Harbor on our way to the Festival beer tent, where we met a group of friends for the 9:00 pm 2-hour tour aboard the Keweenaw Star


A gorgeous moon and serene waters
in Marquette Harbor for the 'Blues Cruise'


Left:  Cory Burkman and Stacy Busch aboard The Keweenaw Star
Right: Tom "Args" Argetsinger, me, and Cory sitting on the deck
Just a few of us getting the 'Blues Cruise' started!

A enthralling silhouette of Marquette awaited us from the deck of the Keweenaw Star, and mirror-smooth waters sparkled with enchanting reflections of the city lights.

Marquette Harbor from the deck of the Keweenaw Star

Also very smooth, and shakin' up the Harbor, Flat Broke Blues Band kicked the party into high gear as soon as the Star left the dock.  The Band's playful sound overflowed not only the Keweenaw Star but the entire Harbor too.  Within minutes, Flat Broke, jamming like they really loved doing it, became partially obstructed by bobbing heads, waving bodies, and flinging arms.  A lovely entourage of self-described "Groupies" from Houghton piloted the flurry of family, friends and other fans.  All I could say for a few hours after the cruise was, "Oh, man, what a night!" 

It was a priceless experience, and as Args said more than once, "Well worth the 20 bucks!"

We have lots more pictures of the party, but sorry, the Blues Cruise show stops here for those who missed it.  As with all good parties, what happens on the cruise, stays on the cruise!

Movin' right on now to Saturday....

Left to right: Walt Lindala, Jimmy Cohen, Mark Johnson,
Lorrie Hayes, and Mikey Letts
Flat Broke Blues Band shakin' up the harbor
on Keweenaw Star Blues Cruise

Saturday's Seafood Festival started for me with a greeting from Lee and Richard celebrating their 3rd place Derby finish.  Lee told me they took off with the other anglers at 6:00 am and fished Lake Superior waters up to Presque Isle and back to Lower Harbor for over 10 hours, netting $350 for their six-pound salmon live catch.

Lee and Richard, celebrating with family and friends, joined Rich's wife, Cory, and son Eric.  Another Burkman son, 8-year-old Dustin, and I headed to The Keweenaw Star for a 6:00 pm cruise around Presque Isle and back.

Lee Burkman and Dad, Richard Burkman,
displaying 3rd place trophy
won by a 6-pound salmon live catch
in the South Shore Fishing Derby Saturday


Left:  Dustin Burkman, son of Richard and Cory Burkman and of Marquette,
meeting Captain Kraig Funkey of the Keweenaw Star for a day cruise in Marquette Harbor

Center and right from left to right:
Mitchell Labelle; Eric Hurst, son of Chuck and Leslie Hurst, owners of Cedar Hurst Lodge of Republic;
and Dustin in the Crow's Nest of the Keweenaw Star

A view of McCarty's Cove and Lighthouse from the Keweenaw Star deck

After the cruise, Dustin and I met up with his family.  Then my husband, Todd, joined us.  Rocking to Buzz Factor in the Park, we sat together at a picnic table near the beer tent with other downhill skiing buddies and ate delicious seafood dished up by Rotary volunteers.  Most of us tasted fresh fried shrimp, scallops, clams, and crab cakes with plenty of lemon wedges, shrimp sauce, and tartar.  Todd, a vegetarian for over 30 years, joined in on coleslaw, baked potato with butter and sour cream, cheesy biscuits, and peanut-butter cheesecake.  Dustin's favorite was the cotton candy he shared with Cory and me.

Last weekend's Marquette West Rotary Club's 24th Annual Seafood Festival succeeded in bringing fantastic Keweenaw Star Harbor cruises, great music, great seafood, and tons of fun for everyone to Marquette's Lower Harbor and beyond.  Tropical weather boosted the crowds to record numbers, with friends and family members, tourists and locals living it up UP-style during a spectacular Marquette festival weekend!

For more information about ...

Keweenaw Star and Keweenaw Excursions, visit keweenawexcursions.com, email Captain Kraig Funkey at kraig@pasty.com, or call 906.482.0884.

Flat Broke Blues Band, visit flatbrokebluesband.com

Cedar Hurst Lodge, visit Leslie and Chuck Hurst at cedarhurstlodge.com, or call 1.800.475.7501 or 906.250.7527.  Email Chuck and Leslie at info@cedarhurstlodge.com.


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