Out to Lunch planned Thursday

From left, Bruce Royal, (bass), Sue Kronick (guitar/fiddle), and Joe Kronick (mandolin/fiddle). Dale Reichert (banjo/dobro) is not pictured.

IRON MOUNTAIN — Hand Picked Bluegrass, from Tomahawk, Wis., kicks off this year’s Out to Lunch season Thursday.

“They’ve been on our stage a few times in the past and we’re thrilled to welcome them back. Out To Lunch is fun, and lively, and this group just seemed like a great way to start out the summer,” say organizers. “Even if you think bluegrass isn’t your thing, you’ll find yourself tapping your foot and you’ll be sad when they’re done.”

The Hand Picked Bluegrass Band is a high energy acoustic group playing everything from the traditional “high lonesome sound” of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys to the exciting sound of today’s progressive bluegrass bands — as well as their own original music.

Hand Picked delivers a show of stellar picking and powerful vocal arrangements. HPBB is currently working on their 5th CD and looks forward to its release this summer. For more info: www.handpickedbluegrass.net.

Out to Lunch is beginning its 16th year and is still held at the same downtown location at the corner of E. Hughitt and Iron Mountain Streets, by the library

“Although we’ve grown and we have a new stage and new sound system, we haven’t changed our basic principles. Our mission is to bring people to our beautiful downtown area to enjoy a variety of top-notch music (free) and to not ask anything in return. Our audience is typically around 400 people, and we’ve had requests to allow soliciting. We will always refuse because we believe people just need a break from their daily lives. I think people understand what we’re trying to do, and they appreciate it,” explains Pat Nicometo, Out to Lunch chairman.

The program is funded in part by DDA. In addition, 10 local businesses each sponsor a weekly concert. “We are very grateful to these businesses.” say organizers. “Without their help, it wouldn’t be possible to offer such high quality entertainment every week.” Grandma’s Garden, located on Vulcan Street, is the sponsor this week. They have an impressive selection of beautiful annuals, perennials, and trees. Jim’s Music is the Season Sponsor for Out to Lunch and also assists with audio.

The 50/50 raffle has been very popular and helps pay expenses. For just a $1 ticket, participants in the raffle could win two great prizes per week, in addition to half the pot, which averages around $200. Prizes this week are: a beautiful hanging flower basket from Grandma’s Garden, and a $10 gift certificate from Moose Jackson.

Out to Lunch starts at 11:45 and ends at 1:15 and goes through Aug. 16. Local food vendors offer a good variety of summertime favorites and beverages, or you can bring your own. Some benches are provided, but most people bring lawn chairs.

In the event of rain, the performance (and vendors) move to the Braumart Theater, located at 106 E. B St., Iron Mountain.

Announcer Mike Carr brings his great radio voice and professional skills to the event and keeps things moving along smoothly. Craig Recla and Greg Hunt manage sound for the weekly performances using a state of the art iPad-controlled system. “With such a large area, our sound was always tricky in the past,” explains Pat Nicometo. “Now we can tweak it to perfection on the iPad, whether you’re in the front row, or sitting across the street by the library. The new setup is nothing short of amazing and we’re really happy we made the investment.”

This year, Out to Lunch volunteers are working with organizers from Music in the Park, which is in Norway from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays as well.

Next Thursday, see Local Brew at Out to Lunch, sponsored by First Bank. (formerly Northern Michigan Bank) and the popular local group, Norton and Chartier is at Music in the Park, Norway, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

If you’re interested in volunteering with the Out to Lunch program, please call Pat Nicometo at 906-396-7322, Amber Pipp (treasurer) at 906-774-8534 or Isaac Micheau (secretary) at 774-8530. For more info: www.DowntownIronMountain.com/Out-To-Lunch. If you can help with Norway’s “Music In the Park” program, call Carol Sundstrom at 906-221-3702.