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Out to Lunch kicks off concert series Thursday in downtown IM

OUT TO LUNCH will launch its 18th year of providing free summertime concerts in downtown Iron Mountain beginning Thursday. The first band scheduled to play is Safe Sax featuring Michael Prusinsky. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — Pushing through the barriers thrown its way this year, Out to Lunch on Thursday will launch its program of providing free concerts to downtown Iron Mountain for its 18th year in a row.

While some additional changes will be needed due to COVID-19, the popular music program will take place on Thursdays from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. through Aug. 13 at the Magee Johnson Park, on the corner of Hughitt and Iron Mountain streets across from the main Dickinson County Library.

Thursday’s performance will be by Safe Sax, featuring Michael Prusinsky.

In spite of the program getting a late start, organizers believe each concert will continue to provide art and culture to the community.

“We know that it’s going to be different this year,” said Amber Pipp, DDA program director, “but we still thought it was important to bring such an amazing and uplifting program to downtown. We didn’t want our community to lose that bit of hope.”

Safe Sax, featuring Michael Prusinsky, will perform at Out to Lunch on Thursday in downtown Iron Mountain. From left are Steve Seitz on drums, Prusinsky on saxophone, Carman Nickerson on vocals and Kostia Efimov on keys.

With new regulations by the governor and the state, the OTL Committee asks that attendees practice social distancing during the program. Some limited seating will be available on hand-painted benches, but those attending are encouraged to bring lawn and folding chairs.

This year, onsite food sales will include Crispigna’s, a vendor since the very beginning; Jean Kay’s Pasties; and Dulce Nulla Gourmet Desserts.

Crispigna’s will offer free ordering service and ability to pay by phone, with a separate pick-up-only spot. Call 906-774-0266 for more information.

Jean Kay’s is a new addition to the program this summer, offering pasties, as is Dulce Nulla, the Downtown Development Authority’s newly awarded “Business Idea Contest” winner.

Dulce Nulla soon will have a bakery at 415 Stephenson Ave. in downtown Iron Mountain. For now, it is happy to provide gluten- and dairy-free dessert options to the Out to Lunch program.

Fred I.M., with its grilled entrees and summertime favorites, once again will participate in the popular downtown program as well.

Attendees also are encouraged to bring a lunch to the event or order from other downtown restaurants.

Out to Lunch concerts are presented by Friends of the Downtown Development Association and its sponsor for 2020, the Tourism Association of the Dickinson County Area. TADCA, founded in 1987, is an integral part of the local community. As part of the Michigan Tourism Act, TADCA is able to collect an assessment from lodgers who stay in the county and use this funding for marketing county tourism assets and provide marketing funding for local events and organizations, such as Brew Fest, Italian Fest, Tour de Dickinson, the Pine Mountain Ski Jumps and the Out to Lunch program. In addition, concerts are individually sponsored by a local business.

Unlike previous years, Out to Lunch and Norway’s Music in the Park will not share a concert schedule, as Norway’s programs have been canceled for the 2020 season.

But both groups continue to collaborate and share resources. To limit exposure and keep both volunteers and attendees safe, no raffle programs will take place this year, though patrons are encouraged to continue to support the OTL program through donations so it can remain free to the public and return for its full 2021 season.

In addition, giveaways still will take place on the OTL Facebook page, where people can be entered to win a giveaway from the weekly sponsor. Go to the OTL Facebook page each week to find more information on how to enter for weekly giveaways.

Due to current regulations, the Braumart Theatre can’t be used as in the past, so concerts will be canceled due to inclement weather.

Information on cancellations will be posted to the OTL Facebook page, and will also be announced on the radio. Organizers still are finalizing details of the full schedule, which will be released soon on the group’s Facebook page and in the Daily News.

Erickson Jewelers is the sponsor of the Safe Sax concert Thursday.

“It’s such a great way to build community,” said Sherri Erickson, co-owner of Erickson Jewelers. “It brings so many people together and celebrates our downtown area. We really do feel strongly about supporting Out to Lunch and making sure it continues.”

Mike Carr once again will keep the afternoon running smoothly each week. Sound engineer Greg Hunt will use the iPad-controlled sound system that was purchased by Out to Lunch a couple years ago.

For more information, go online to www.DowntownIronMountain.com/Out-To-Lunch, or the Out to Lunch Facebook page at facebook.com/ironmountainouttolunch. To volunteer or donate to Out to Lunch, call Amber Pipp at 906-774-8534.

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