Concrete Canoe and the Fourth of July

Hello Parents,

A photo of the concrete canoe created by Michigan Tech's 2014 Concrete Canoe team. Photo courtesy of Brad Roberts.
A photo of the concrete canoe, Katsuo Maru, created by Michigan Tech’s 2014 Concrete Canoe team. Photo courtesy of Brad Roberts.

I hope you’re all having a great week! It’s been hot and humid here—which is unusual for Houghton summers—with temperatures rising as high as 102° over the past weekend! It’s been nice to enjoy this warm, sunny weather, and it’s supposed to stay nice here for the Fourth of July weekend.

It was pointed out to me in a recent email from a parent that the Michigan Tech Concrete Canoe team went to nationals last week at the University of Pittsburgh in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. In response, I’d like to write a short piece to congratulate the team and spread the word of the Concrete Canoe team.

The Michigan Tech Concrete Canoe Team is comprised of current undergraduate students that build a canoe out of concrete and participate in a regional competition consisting of:

1) Technical Paper
This professional paper outlines the engineering and design of the canoe, including the concrete mix proportions, design of the boat, construction methods, and everything else that went into creating the canoe.

2) Technical Presentation
The team must summarize the technical paper in a five-minute presentation in front of a board of judges.

A photo of Michigan Tech's the Four-Person Sprint race during the National Concrete Canoe Competition. Photo courtesy of Brad Roberts.
A photo of Michigan Tech’s canoe during the Four-Person Sprint race at the National Concrete Canoe Competition. Photo courtesy of Brad Roberts.

3) Race
The team must compete in the following five races: Two-person Women’s Sprint, Two-person Men’s Sprint, Two-person Women’s Endurance, Two-person Men’s Endurance, and Four-person Co-ed Sprint.

4) Final Product
The canoe is then judged based on appearance and adherence to the official rules of dimensions and components of the concrete mix.

The regional competition includes teams from universities such as Western Michigan University, Michigan State University, and over 200 other teams from across the nation. The top 10 teams from the regional competition then go on to compete at the national level.

Every year, the Michigan Tech team chooses a theme for the canoe that represents the team in an inspirational and creative way, and this theme is incorporated into the design of the canoe. The Concrete Canoe team works year-round during the academic year to design and build a well-engineered canoe; each member contributes over 3,000 hours of work to complete the final product!

This year, the Michigan Tech Concrete Canoe team finished 8th overall in the national competition with their canoe, Katsuo Maru! They deserve to be recognized and congratulated for all of their hard work! For more pictures of the 2014 National Concrete Canoe Competition (NCCC), feel free to visit this informative blog, written by Mr. Roberts, a parent himself. For more information about the National Concrete Canoe competition, please visit the official NCCC website.

Fourth of July
In addition to all the excitement from the Concrete Canoe results, coming up is the Fourth of July Weekend! As with most other towns, Independence Day is a big deal around here. We have parades, fireworks, and many other celebrations to commemorate the birth of our country. The most exciting and notable celebration is the fireworks show in Copper Harbor on the night of the Fourth at the waterfront of the Copper Harbor arena. The show starts at dusk, and usually lasts close to an hour. Residents from all over the northern Upper Peninsula gather and enjoy the extravagant display, while local food vendors offer elephant ears and hot dogs for patrons to enjoy.

In addition to the Copper Harbor fireworks, there will also be a fireworks show at the Village Park in Lake Linden on the night of July 3. These fireworks also begin at dusk. There will be live music, food, and refreshments in the park from 6:30–10:30 p.m. These fireworks are also an awesome display of lights and sounds for the residents of the Copper Country, and it’s convenient to have this show on July 3 so locals can enjoy two nights of fireworks. Both of these firework shows are free of charge.

In addition to the fireworks, there are also plenty of parades and festivities taking place to celebrate the Fourth of July:

There will be a parade at 9:30 a.m. with live music, activities, games, races, food, and refreshments at the Village Park in Lake Linden throughout the day. The children’s parade begins at 6:30 p.m., and there will be a street dance at the Lakes Lounge from 6–10 p.m. with live music.

There will be free horse-and-wagon rides at 6 p.m. and a street dance at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 3 in Dollar Bay. Snacks and refreshments will be available at the Fire Hall starting at 6:30 p.m. On Friday, July 4, the VFW Memorial Service will take place at 11 a.m. followed by a parade at noon. Children’s games will begin at 1:30 p.m. and Franz Family Ministries will perform at 2 p.m. at Pioneer Park. A snack and refreshment stand, pasty sale, and barbecue chicken cookout will begin at 10:30 a.m. on the Fourth.

There will also be a parade in Copper Harbor at 10 a.m. on the Fourth, followed by games, activities, and a cookout held by the Copper Harbor Volunteer Fire Department in the Township Park.

There will be a children’s parade at 10:30 a.m. on the Fourth in Mohawk at Allouez Township Park. There will be children’s games and snacks in the park from noon–2 p.m.

There will be a bicycle parade at 11 a.m. in Ahmeek, followed by activities and concessions at the Gabe Chopp Park throughout the day. There will be children’s games, a penny toss, watermelon eating contest, raffle drawing, bingo, food and refreshments, and live music.

There will be another parade in Gay at 2 p.m. with a bazaar/rummage sale/raffle/social hour at the Gay Community Hall from noon–4 p.m. The Gay Fire Department will also have hot dogs, refreshments, and a raffle on the Gay School grounds from noon–3 p.m.

As you can see, there are a lot of celebrations to commemorate Independence Day in the Copper Country. For more listings of Fourth of July celebrations, please visit the official website of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

That’s all for this week! I hope you all get a chance to enjoy some of the Fourth of July celebrations this weekend within your own communities. If you have any questions about the Concrete Canoe Competition or the local Fourth of July festivities, or if you would like to see more information on a specific topic, please feel free to email me at Have a happy Fourth of July Weekend!


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