The parking lot on the corner of East Hughitt Street and Iron Mountain Street in downtown Iron Mountain was filled with people of all ages for the weekly Out to Lunch concert on July 11.
Attendees toting lawn chairs spread out onto the grass, and even to the sidewalk on the other side of the street while Mark Young and Bill Morrison began their first set on the stage.
Amber Pipp, the event coordinator for the Iron Mountain Downtown Development Authority and treasurer of Out to Lunch, is helping to run the event this year. She said it might not always look like a large crowd because of how spread out the seating area is, but the concert had almost 500 attendees which she hopes means word of the concerts is spreading.
“This is our biggest crowd this year,” Pipp said. “It’s pretty early in the season, so to see almost 500 is exciting.”
Growth is also seen by attendance from non-locals. Mary Sylvester said she is from out of town and attended Out to Lunch because it was too cold to be on the water so she was looking for something else to do.
“It was great. The food was good, and the music was great,” she said.
This is the 17th year of Out to Lunch. The concerts are free and held from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. every Thursday during the summer on the downtown stage. Each week a different local band plays and a different organization or business sponsors.
In addition to music, there is a raffle for prizes, a 50-50 raffle, free WiFi, a craft area for kids set up by the Dickinson County Library and local food vendor tents from Crispigna’s Italian Market, Bubba’s Bistro and Organic Grounds Coffeehouse.
Out to Lunch is its own nonprofit organization, separate from the Iron Mountain DDA. However, this year is a “transition year” where the DDA is helping to run the concerts because the people currently running Out to Lunch are ready to retire, and they will likely be passing control of the concerts over to the DDA next year, said Pipp.
“Out to Lunch is actually a separate 501c3 nonprofit,” Pipp said. “But the DDA, being it’s our downtown stage and it’s a downtown event, is helping to manage and operate the event this year.”
The band on July 11 was originally scheduled as the Cadillacs, however they cancelled due to health issues, and the duo Young and Morrison stepped up to preform along with some guest appearances by Scott Johnson.
“We’re definitely behind (Out to Lunch),”
Young said. “We think it’s a great thing to keep going in downtown, a cultural event. We’d like to see more things happening.”
Young and Morrison are locals who occasionally preform together, and are consistently a part of Out to Lunch. Morrison is part of another duo called MOJO who played Out to Lunch on July 18, and Young is a part of the Out to Lunch committee.
“I think I’ve done (Out to Lunch) every year since it started, and Bill’s done most of them,” said Young.
To see the full summer Out to Lunch schedule visit the DDA website. Bands interested in playing at Out to Lunch or any other DDA event can also go to the DDA website and click on the “get involved” tab under events to fill out an entertainment application.