What is Bridgefest?


Bridgefest was organized to celebrate the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, which officially opened in 1959. The Bridge is a vital link between the communities of Houghton and Hancock, and is a gateway to the rest of the historic Keweenaw Peninsula.

The bridge officially opened for traffic in 1959, and was formally dedicated with a large celebration on June 25, 1960. Marching bands and troop columns paraded across the bridge, and the jet tankers and fighters flew over the structure.

Lake Superior Magazine and LakeSuperior.com named Bridgefest as “Best Festival” in its 2016 Best of the Lake Awards.

The weekend celebration includes a wide range of events including outdoor concerts, sporting events, and the annual Bridgefest parade and Jon Davis Memorial Fireworks. The waterfront is a scenic venue in which to browse exhibits from local artisans, as well as a place to grab a quick snack in between the many activities.

Sponsored by the Keweenaw Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Bridgefest provides a variety of delicious foods and beverages in the Ray Kestner Waterfront Park on Friday and Saturday.

To learn more about the history of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, you can visit the City of Houghton’s Historic Tour online or browse the City of Hancock’s history.

Mission Statement

The mission of Bridgefest is to present a family-friendly weekend celebration of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge and the communities that it connects. Bridgefest is celebrated annually Fathers Day weekend. It kicks off the first week of summer and tourist season! Bridgefest provides live entertainment, food booths, craft vendors, a community parade, fireworks, classic car show, a 5K fun run, kids games and more – all friendly, family fun activities that enrich the cultural, economic and social vitality of the region.  


Bridgefest celebrates the Portage Lake Lift Bridge — a vital link between the twin cities of Houghton/Hancock and serves as the gateway to historic Keweenaw Peninsula. This annual event is hosted by the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce and provides a fun and unique experience for “kids of all ages.” The Chamber encourages community businesses, organizations, youth groups, etc. to get involved and host an event within Bridgefest — it’s a great way to get involved in our community