December 19, 2019. 118". Two more days until the first day of winter!#copperharbor #keweenawsnow #upperpeninsula #snowthermometer #winterfun #keweenawroads #driveslowinsnow #snow-mometer
If you walk into the Copper Harbor Visitor Center today, it would look nothing like it did during the summertime. Whether you stop in to seek information or to mail a package, you just might forget why you came at all once you feast your eyes on…
Don’t worry, the building didn’t blow up. Nobody has been harmed.
But all the Christmas lights that were rolled up and stuffed into boxes last spring have now sprung all over the entire post office/Welcome Center.
I will spare you the Full Nelson view of the room and just give you an idea of the chaos — I mean — progress with a couple pretend artistic shots.
Fake tree. Real lights. You know that wall!
Bulbs line the entire walkway.
Now, I wasn’t kidding when I said that this is progress. Two weeks from now most of these bulbs will be bursting with life out in the park. After all, that is their final destination.
Who does all this? Is there a Copper Harbor Christmas light committee? Do Santa’s elves fly down to drink eggnog and decorate the northern most town in Michigan?
No and no.
We have to give this guy credit: Donny Kilpela Jr.
A few years ago Don decided to put up lights in the park to spruce it up a bit. I mean, it’s so dark this time of year. He started getting donations and doing it mostly himself. People would come by to help here and there, and each year his main helpers are different.
Here’s Donny dictating the next move.
After a few years, he started using the community building to decorate the trees indoors where it’s warm and (when I stopped by today) Siberian orchestra music played energetically from an iPad.
It looks a little chaotic in there, I know. But that’s where the magic happens!
He even dimmed the lights and turned on one of his favorite trees, so you could have a sneak peek.
Kind of looks like the grand finale at the Copper Harbor fireworks show, doesn’t it?
Don articulated how he was going to get this tree through the door. So don’t you worry. He already knows where it’s going to go.
He also mentioned that you can be a part of this project!
What are you doing next Saturday, December 7th? Decorating trees at the Copper Harbor Community Building? Sweet! Come on by any time from 3-6pm. One of our lovely local ladies is making her famous chili. Don says you can dress for inside jobs or outside jobs. Whatever you prefer, he’ll have plenty of jobs for you!
And if you can’t make it in a week, make it here in two weeks. That’s the countdown to the big moment where all this hard work gets showcased: the lighting in the park!
It’s always worth it.
The big lighting happens during Winter Wonderfest on December 14th at 6pm sharp.
Tis the season. Let’s get jolly!
*This blog is written by resident author and writer, Amanda Wais
Yoopers of the Keweenaw are looking around at all this snow and saying, “What the heck? It’s only November!”
Of course, many people in the Midwest are saying the same thing. “It’s only November! What’s with all this snow… every single day for the last two weeks?”
The Keweenaw County Snowfall Report tells us that we’ve gotten 27 inches of snowfall since October, 2019. Approximately 9 inches have settled on the ground. In the harbor, it’s shaken out and condensed to a bit less than that, depending what bush you’re standing in.
Want to know the funny part? We had 27 inches fall by this time last year too! How did we all forget that? I don’t know.
Some people refuse to shovel because it might start to melt next week, if the weather report is correct.
Regardless of what might happen, the Keweenaw Country Road Commission has already been keeping the roads safe. One of their plows makes it all the way up to Copper Harbor before 7am every single morning that it snows.
There you have it.
We are not stranded here in the winter (except maybe an occasional day in the thick of it). The county plows know we’re here, and we are part of their routine. Thank you Keweenaw County Road Commission!
As for the 100 or so local residents who are still here for the winter, well, we are still here.
For the most part.
Many locals travel this time of year. To someplace warm, to see family, to take care of business in their hometown city — wherever. Just to somewhere because, as you know, there isn’t a whole lot going on.
People who live up here are often talented with hobbies and side hustles just for this reason… and this season. Yes, there’s enough to live and entertain yourself if you are creative and low-maintenance, but don’t expect a ton of external stimulation.
Unless you like to watch the morning light illuminate the horizon.
Or hear the wind in the trees.
Or look at driftwood ice sculptures.
Here you go. Here’s a shovel. Get to work. It hasn’t melted yet!