Worries Go Up In Smoke At 51st Annual Alpenfest

“It feels good it's like a big relief their all gone. which is nice.”

Tonight many in Gaylord watched their worries go up in smoke.

The 51st Annual Aplenfest kicked off tonight and one of the festivals biggest draws is the Burning of the Boogg.

This event starts the festival in Gaylord each year and helps people let their worries go.

People write their worries on a piece of paper, put them in a large wooden snowman, and watch it all burn.

Joe Wambold, a long time festival goer, says “You put in your worries. So your worries are gone for the week and wouldn't it be great if we all could get rid of our worries at least for a week.”

That’s what this Alpenfest tradition is all about, being worry free and enjoying summer in Northern Michigan.

“Instead of being maybe in a valley were all up on a mountain top were hoping for the week of Alpenfest.”

Many like to keep what they write down a secret, but others were happy to share.

“School, boys, work, just the general stress.”

The Shembaugh sisters put their worries in the Boogg every year, and it’s something they always look forward to.

“It's a great way to bring everyone together to show that even though we come from different parts of the world different parts of the country we all can come together to put our worries in the Boog and all watch then go up in smoke.”

It’s a long-time tradition that the people of the Alpine Village are very proud of.

“In Switzerland they Burn a Boogg it's made of wool and it symbolizes the end of winter which being in Northern Michigan we relate to that but our Boog is made of wood and paper and for Alpenfest we do if for the beginning and it symbolizes that were getting rid of all of our troubles and anything that's bothering us and were just putting it aside for the festival so that's what it means.”

“As a long time member of the community it does it brings a smile to your face it really does.”

The Boogg and all those worries are gone.

But the fun is only beginning.

We'll have a crew in Gaylord for the rest of this week bringing you all that Alpenfest has to offer. 

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More than 50 years and counting for the Alpenfest in Gaylord.

And it always begins with the Burning of the Boogg.

The festival started a couple of minutes ago.

Everyone is writing down their troubles that will go up in smoke once the Boogg is lit.

The Burning of the Boogg is yearly tradition at the Alpenfest in Gaylord.

In Swiss tradition, it is a large snowman made of wool that is burned to signify the beginning of summer.

Here in Gaylord the Boogg has taken on a new meaning.

Festival goers will write their worries down on pieces of paper, put them in the Boogg, and then literally watch their worries go up in smoke. 

The Burning of the Boogg is one part of the festival that everyone loves to see

“It's just really amazing actually, after everything goes up in smoke it just tears everything really, really cool and people are a lot happier.”

Before the Boogg burns it will be part of a Lampion Parade, where people will walk with lanterns beside to Boogg before it’s burned.

We will have that full celebration tonight on 9 & 10 news at 11:00 p.m. 

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The 51st Annual Alpenfest officially starts in just about an hour.

But as you can see, Gaylord is already buzzing with excitement.

The celebration officially starts at 6:05 p.m.

And things will be happening tonight.

First up, the Annual Burning of the Boogg.

Where many are expected to turn up in downtown Gaylord to watch their worries go up in smoke.

It may be a rainy day to kick things off but that hasn't dampened spirits.

As you can see many have already flocked to the carnival rides and the Alpentrasse, getting ready for tonight's festivities.

In just one hour the courthouse bells will ring, inviting everyone downtown to celebrate, signifying the official start of the summer festival.

There is a lot going on tonight, the opening ceremony, crowning of the Alpenfest Queen and the Burning of the Boogg.

There are also multiple vendors, carnival rides and games here to get people in the spirit of Alpenfest.

Many say it’s a unique and special way to spend a week in Northern Michigan's Alpine Village.

“There isn't any place else you can go and have five days of fun for free and that's what we’re going to  do here and it's an exciting week because it's also like a family reunion and class reunion. It's a fun event downtown where they can see people that they haven't seen for years.”

We will have full coverage of the Boogg Burning tonight at 11:00 p.m. plus more on the legend behind it coming up at six.