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      Iron Mountain celebrates fall with annual festival

      It's known as a celebration of fall, but it sure felt a lot more like winter Saturday in Iron Mountain.

      While sporadic bursts of sleet had festival-goers seeking shelter, Harvest on Hughitt still managed to draw a thousand people to the city's downtown area.

      "We still had a nice turnout today," said Jonathan Ringel, Manager of the Iron Mountain Downtown Development Authority. "I think the vendors are more impacted with the cold weather today, and the's very difficult to keep things down when you're in an outside setting."

      When the sun returned, so did the festivities, which featured live music, games for the kids, and shopping for the adults.

      "We really use events like Harvest on Hughitt as a great way to promote our downtown revitalization," Ringel said. "It's great for the community, it's good to see things going, it's helpful to our downtown businesses, and it really drives that community spirit which is what we're all about."

      About 10 merchants up and down Hughitt Street participated in the harvest celebration, but the event's origins belong to one in particular: Cuisine Art.

      Debbie Gursky started the festival 20 years ago, soon after she opened Cuisine Art.

      "I just came up with this catchy slogan, Harvest on Hughitt, and it started out very small, few vendors, caramel apples, fall things," said Gursky. "It started out very simple, but it has become quite an event."

      Two decades later, Gursky has high praise for her successor.

      "Jonathan, our Main Street Coordinator, is great," Gursky remarked. "He's very vibrant, full of energy and excitement, and he gets people involved, and so we're really glad to have him here. As a merchant, it really helps because he gets some of the merchants involved in volunteering as well as just some of the community people."

      The Downtown Development Authority will hold a post festival wrap up and will begin planning for next year's celebration.