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Local News / Entertainment

Saturday, 28 May, 2011 9:12 PM

Blue Water Fest brings Waves of Fun as it returns to downtown Port Huron during Boat Week, July 21 - 23

E & A returns as presenting sponsor, steps up with Free Parking for festival guests

Photo credit: Marx, Layne & Co.

Festival Producer Jon Witz announces the return of the Blue Water Fest in Port Huron, Mich. during a press conference on May 25, 2011.

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PORT HURON, Mich. — The Blue Water Fest “with fun provided by E & A Credit Union” returns to downtown Port Huron this year and will attract visitors to the Black River and Huron Avenue area for three days, July 21 – 23, 2011. The highly anticipated summer festival will build on momentum from last year, combining a magnificent display of boats with a fabulous festival of music, food and fun on the river within an updated footprint. Port Huron Mayor Pauline Repp says, “We are thrilled to have the Blue Water Fest return to downtown Port Huron and are especially grateful for the support of E & A Credit Union as our presenting sponsor as well as Earl Smith Distributing and the Soaring Eagle Casino. The festivities extending into Saturday help to build on the tradition of the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race, which has been a Michigan rite of summer since 1925. The added attraction of the festival is a great way to continue to showcase what the city of Port Huron has to offer in terms of entertainment, art and cuisine, long after the boats leave. We are certain that the benefit brought by this event to our city and this region will continue to be tremendous.”

The 2011 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race was founded by Bavyiew Yacht Club of Detroit in 1925. The race has been run for 86 years - with 2011 marking the 87th sailing of the regatta.

COMMUNITY-CENTERED FESTIVAL LAYOUT
Organizers are introducing an updated festival footprint centered on Huron Avenue and downtown Port Huron north of the Black River. This new layout will encourage attendees to visit and engage with downtown Port Huron businesses.

“The business community has graciously reached out to us with feedback and we have listened,” explains Jon Witz, producer of Blue Water Fest and the annual Arts, Beats & Eatssummer fair in Royal Oak. “Since the impact on local businesses and the hospitality area is incredibly important to us, we have shifted the central focus of the festival to Huron Avenue, north of the Black River. The new layout is sure to draw festivalgoers into the heart of downtown Port Huron and encourage them to visit local businesses. Along with the festival’s incredible selection of tastes, sounds and activities for everyone in the family, the new layout will certainly give Port Huron businesses the opportunity to do what they do best: attracting and building relationships with new customers.”

The updated layout also will take up less room along the Black River and will allow local boaters access to areas they have traditionally used for Saturday evening’s festivities.

EXPANDED ART FAIR PART OF NEW COMMUNITY FOCUSED LAYOUT
The juried Blue Water Art Fair is being held July 22 - 23 in conjunction with the Blue Water Fest and is sponsored by the City of Port Huron. In keeping with the new community focused layout, the Art Fair will move to Huron Avenue and is sure to draw the thousands of art browsers into the heart of downtown Port Huron’s local business district throughout the festival. During the Art Fair, the work of 60 local and national artists – expanded from 45 last year - will be on display and for sale with works in a variety of media, including painting, sculpting, crafts, pottery and clothing.

ENTRANCE DONATIONS HELP FIGHT HUNGER
Blue Water Fest is teaming up with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and local nonprofit Bridges to help fight hunger and deliver food to those in the Port Huron area who are in need. This year, visitors to the Blue Water Fest will need to bring a nonperishable canned food item or $1 to gain entrance to the festival. Sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, each donation and entrance fee collected at the gates of the festival benefits Bridges and its food distribution program in Port Huron.

A corps of volunteers will be available in rotating shifts throughout the festival to collect these donations. Festival attendees definitely will receive a great return for their generosity, with so many events and entertainment acts to enjoy.

FREE PARKING CREATES GREAT VALUE
While guests might have to drum up a can of food to attend, they will certainly receive a great break on parking as guests will have the option to park for free at more than a dozen city and county lots throughout downtown with a combined capacity of more than 1,200 parking spaces.

“E & A is excited to offer guests an opportunity to park for free and we know it will allow families to have more money to spend on food and rides for the kids,” said Scott Babin, Chief Marketing Officer for E & A Credit Union. “We also expect that it might help lower the rate at other lots and make the entire event even more affordable for the weekend.”

Parking will be offered on a first come, first serve basis and will be available in the following city lots: Andrew Murphy Lot (on Bard St. between Erie and Superior), McMorran Lot (south of McMorran Boulevard between Erie and Superior), as well as a number of other city and county lots, including the Municipal Office Center, County Courthouse and County Library Grand River lots on Merchant Street between Grand River Avenue and Bard Street. Two additional free city lots will be located south of the Black River.

NEW HOURS, SIDEWALK SALE BY LOCAL BUSINESSES
The 2011 Blue Water Fest will be open between 4 – 11 p.m. on Thursday, July 21 and between 11 a.m. and midnight on Saturday and Sunday, July 22 and 23.

Before the festival opens, on Thursday, local businesses along Huron Avenue will host a sidewalk sale between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., showcasing their goods and services. Visitors can be swept away in the charm of nautical-themed jewelry, fine soaps, illustrious art and charming cafes.

FAMILY FRIENDLY EVENTS FOR ALL DAYS
The 2011 Blue Water Fest will make a splash with ongoing fun for the whole family, including a variety of entertainment, the Blue Water Art Fair, a kid’s stage and an expanded carnival. The Blue Water Fest carnival by McDonagh’s Amusements will be bigger this year, with more rides and entertainment for every member of the family. Additionally, the kid’s stage will return with entertainment dedicated for kids, including magicians, storytellers, puppet shows and musical acts.

The ever-popular Hair Show from Salon Pizazz will take to the streets again during the festival, bringing a dazzling array of live mannequins showcasing the latest fashions and hairstyles. This year’s Hair Show will take place all three days of the festival and will provide an astounding display of live art.

FUN CONTINUES THROUGH SATURDAY
Just as last year, the 2011 Blue Water Fest will include major activities through Saturday evening. After the sailboats leave the Black River to get in position for the race, powerboats will arrive prepared for a party called Margaritaville. After the sailboatstake off, complimentary boat space will be available to power boats and other craft.

The Port Huron Lighted Boat Parade will take place on Saturday evening, July 23, led by the Port Huron Power Squadron. The Squadron’s Cdr Dennis M. Raetzel, AP, explains, “Last year’s Parade was such a joy to watch that we are excited to end this year’s festival in the same spectacular fashion. The Black River alight with a beautiful array of decorated boats will be yet another memorable experiencefrom this year’s festival for attendees and participants alike.”

ENTERTAINMENT FOR ONE AND ALL
With more than 100,000 visitors expected, the Blue Water Fest will feature non-stop entertainment,activities and special events. Included will be a wide variety of national and local music talent on four stages; a juried fine art fair; a kids’ stage; an expanded carnival of exciting rides; an outstanding display of sailboats; as well as delectable culinary offerings from some of the region’s most renowned restaurants and caterers. More than 50 bands representing various musical genres and national and local talent will perform on stage.

“The return of Blue Water Festival is spectacular news for the Port Huron area. The vibrant local atmosphere and entertainment make us proud to be a part of the event,” says Janice C. Rose, president and CEO of E & A Credit Union. “The festival is a prime example of one of our core values: ‘Work is important, but life is too short not to have fun.’ While the festival is a lot of work, that work pays off and is so much fun. This festival helps drive the economy of Port Huron andtouches the lives of many of our members in the community. Volunteers and business owners came out in droves to support the expanded event last year and because of this, we are certain that the festival will be a huge success again this year.”

Sponsors of the Blue Water Fest include: E&A Credit Union; the City of Port Huron; Soaring Eagle Casino; Bayview Yacht Club; Bell’s Beer; MetroPCS; Brown Forman; BW Transit; Cawood Auto; Birmingham Cosmetics; Earl Smith Distributing; Gordon Food Service; Hudsonville Ice Cream; Domtar; Pepsi; Comcast and The Detroit Pistons.

More information is available at www.TheBlueWaterFest.com.

Held July 21-23, 2011, Blue Water Fest is downtown Port Huron’s preview celebration of the Bayview Mackinac Race. The three-day festival will be open from 4 p.m. – 11 p.m. on Thursday and 11 a.m. – Midnight Friday and Saturday. For additional public information, visit www.TheBlueWaterFest.com, or call 248.334.4600

Source: Marx Layne & Co.

 

Map courtesy of Marx Layne & Co.

Click here for a larger, printable version of the Blue Water Fest map. (PDF)

 

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