Parade of Nations: The World Comes to the Keweenaw

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

Students from more than 60 countries proudly display their flags during the annual Parade of Nations.
Students from more than 60 countries proudly display their flags during the annual Parade of Nations.

Chinese dragons, African drums, music, dancing, flags held high—it’s Parade of Nations time in the Keweenaw.

The annual Parade of Nations and multicultural festival returns for the 24th year on Saturday, Sept. 14.  Starting at 11 a.m., students and community members will march and ride on floats in the colorful parade from Hancock across the Portage Lift Bridge to Houghton. They’ll wend their way to the Dee Stadium, where a multicultural festival will feature foods from many countries, crafts and entertainment.

The Parade of Nations is a celebration of ethnic diversity in the Keweenaw.  It traditionally draws thousands of visitors from all over Michigan and nearby states. 

The theme this year is Global Variation in One Location. 

“With all that is happening in the world today, I love that our community can set aside a day to celebrate peace and reflect on what difference and variation really means to us in Houghton and our sister city, Hancock," said Thy Yang, director of international programs and services at Michigan Technological University. 

Food booths will sell cuisine from 16 countries, including Moroccan and—for the first time—Turkish food.  A children’s booth will be doing face painting. Children can also enjoy free pony rides outside the stadium.  Art created by elementary school children in the community will be on display at the Dee.

Performances on stage at the Dee this year will include a Kung Fu demonstration by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, the Copper Country Cloggers, the Kivajat Finnish Dancers, dance and music by the Indian Students Association, the Michigan Tech Dance Team, singer Karen Colbert and singer/songwriter Jan Arnold.  

The Parade Marshal will be Houghton City Manager Scott MacInnes .

The parade and multicultural festival are free and open to the public. Parade of Nations is organized and supported by Michigan Tech, Finlandia University, the cities of Houghton and Hancock, and businesses and organizations throughout the Keweenaw.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.