NLA to host first event since reopening

ALPENA – Action is about to pick up at Northern Lights Arena. After several months of inactivity due to energy upgrades made by Alpena County, NLA has ice in place and will host its first event this weekend.

Beginning Friday the arena will host the Strother Archery Extravaganza. The event will run through the weekend and conclude on Sunday. It will feature events that range from open shooting, shooting competition, as well as educational programs. There also will be an event called archery tag, which according to NLA Manager Meg Richey, is a lot like paintball, without the welts. Richey said arena staff and Northern Lights Arena-Community, the new arena management group, are excited about the arena being open again and for the weekend event.

“I don’t think there has really been anything like this in Alpena before so there is some buzz being generated from it,” Richey said. “We have been busy getting organized and prepared. We are also very appreciative of the volunteers and the board for helping the staff bring this all together.”

The archery event will be held outside, weather permitting, but inside the arena Richey and her team have been busy getting the arena ready for the skating season. She said rink one has ice on it and there has been some skating activity on it, but it is going to be a while before the second sheet is put in place. She said there are several other events scheduled that will take place on rink two.

“This has to be an all-purpose facility and we want to attract people from out of the area, as well as from Alpena,” Richey said. “We have AWWL wrestling coming on Sept. 21 and the Traverse City Toxic Cherries will be competing in a roller derby event on Sept. 29. We have really hit the ground running and we are excited about these events. It is definitely aggressive to have all of these events in September, but we’re going to be prepared and organized and this is going to excite the community.”

Some of the ice events on the schedule includes scrimmage involving the Lake Superior State hockey team, games from the new junior hockey team the Street Cats and open skating. She said one of the goals NLA-C has is to keep the ice and non-ice schedule as full as possible. Richey said there are a lot of ideas being tossed around now, she hopes become a reality in the near future.

“We are trying to maximize the traffic into this place, so we might do things like bring back the rodeo, host concerts and there has been talk about the circus, as well as a beer and wine festival,” Richey said. “Beer and wine festivals are very popular on the other side of the state and I think something like that will go over well in Alpena.”

This weekend’s event is free and food and drinks will be available at the concession stand. She said a complete schedule and tickets for upcoming events can be received at

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689.