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Summer Festivals Around the Mitten

June 1, 2017

With a touch of all four seasons and its diverse landscape and culture, Michigan is home to an endless number of great activities. Summer is filled with festivals that pop up all over and, whether it’s art, music, film, or food and drink that spark your interest, Michigan has it all. Adding at least one of these events to your summer to-do list will make for an unforgettable experience.

Around Town:

  • June 1-11: Cinetopia International Film Festival, Ann Arbor/Detroit: Dramas, comedies and documentaries from some of the world’s best film festivals selected exclusively for Michiganders. Single movie tickets are $12 each and “four-pack” tickets are sold for $42 per person. cinetopiafestival.org
  • June 4: Taste of Ann Arbor: According to Maura Thomson, executive director of Main Street Area Association, this festival will feature 40 restaurants and live entertainment from 11a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets for “tastes” are sold in $1 increments and nothing costs more than $4. mainstreetannarbor.org
  • June 9-July 2: Ann Arbor Summer Festival: “The festival’s 34th season will run six nights each week, starting at 5 p.m. There are two concurrent programs, one indoor and one outdoor,” says Amy Nesbitt, executive and artistic director of Ann Arbor Summer Festival. “The indoor Mainstage series includes ticketed performances of world-class music, dance, circus and comedy. The outdoor program, Top of the Park, offers nearly 90 admission-free concerts, 13 blockbuster movies by moonlight, open-air spectacles from around the world and much more!” a2sf.org
  • June 23-25: Detroit River Days: Head to Detroit’s beautiful waterfront for jet-skiing demonstrations, zip lining, boat tours, sand sculptures and more. Admission is $3 before 3 p.m. and $5 after; the festival is free on Friday between 11 a.m.-5 p.m. riverdays.com
  • July 7-8: Michigan Elvisfest: Located in Ypsilanti, it’s a chance to slip on your “Blue Suede Shoes” and get “All Shook Up” as 10 award-winning, professional Elvis tribute artists perform. A two-day ticket pass is $40 per person; Friday night only is $20 and Saturday is $30. mielvisfest.com
  • July 7-9: Plymouth Art in the Park: Work from more than 400 artists from across the U.S. and Canada will be on display. Artwork includes paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, fine glass, woodwork, mixed media, photography and folk art, and will be available for purchase. artinthepark.com
  • July 21-22: 20th Annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival: “This is a big year for the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Festival,” says Dianna Stampfler, publicist for the Michigan Brewers Guild. “We expect over 100 breweries and 1,000 beers as we celebrate the organization’s history.” At Ypsilanti’s Depot Town. Purchase tickets in advance at $40 for Friday and $45 on Saturday. mibeer.com/summer-festival
  • July 21-23: Faster Horses: Camp out for this three-day country music festival in Brooklyn, featuring Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Brett Eldredge and many more. fasterhorsesfestival.com
  • Aug. 26-27: Wine Trail Chili Challenge: The stakes are high! Sample chili and wine from the nine wineries located on the Pioneer Wine Trail and then choose a winner. Located in Jackson, tickets are $35 each. pioneerwinetrail.com

 Up North Happenings:

  • June 1-19: Heritage Coast Sail Days, East Tawas: Learn to sail and enjoy the view in the waters of Tawas Bay. Tickets begin at $20. hcsaildays.com

June 3: Charlevoix Craft Beer Festival: It’s a celebration of Michigan Craft Beer in gorgeous, water-side Charlevoix. Tickets are $10 at the gate, which includes two tasting tickets. visitcharlevoix.com/Charlevoix-Craft-Beer-Festival

  • June 10: Leland Food and Wine Festival: Beautiful Lake Michigan views aren’t the only incredible thing this festival has to offer. Come sample local, award-winning wines from 12 Leelanau Peninsula wineries. Adult tickets are $15 in advance and $25 at the gate. lelandmi.com/events/wine-food-festival
  • June 10-11: Pictured Rocks Days: This family festival works with Pictured Rocks Cruises to create an unforgettable event. “While people are waiting for their cruise, they can enjoy the festival,” says Kathy Reynolds from the Alger County Chamber. “We have something for all ages including bands, nature shows, food vendors and booths.” The festival is held at Bayshore Park in downtown Munising. exploremunising.com
  • June 24: Northern Michigan Winefest: Previously the Traverse City Wine and Art Festival. 3-9 p.m. Tickets range from $33-$35. miwinefest.com
  • July 1-2: West Shore Art Fair: According to Sheila Preston, event coordinator, “This event has placed in the top 100 of Sunshine Magazine’s 200 Best Fine Art and Fine Craft Shows two years in a row. The funds raised are used to provide quality programming, events and educational opportunities for the community.” Hosted by the Ludington Area Art Center and held in Rotary Park. ludingtonartscouncil.org/fairs/WSAF/WSAF_home
  • July 1-8: National Cherry Festival: Traverse City is America’s cherry capital. This eight-day festival features rides, parades, air shows, races, concerts and, of course, cherry-filled eats and a National Cherry Queen. cherryfestival.org
  • July 7-8: Boyne Thunder Poker Run: “The Boyne Thunder event is fantastic for Charlevoix and our surrounding communities. The bustle and atmosphere of the Boyne Thunder boats paired with the Charlevoix Art and Craft Show during the same weekend provides for such a unique experience. You really need to be in Charlevoix on Saturday and Boyne City on Friday to experience this event,” said Amanda Wilkin, executive director of Visit Charlevoix. boynethunder.com
  • July 7-9: Blissfest Music Festival: Held in Harbor Springs, it showcases many different styles of music and dance, including bluegrass, blues, zydeco, Celtic, folk, jazz, Latin and ethnic. Ticket prices vary. blissfest.org
  • July 25-30: Traverse City Film Festival: Join filmmakers from around the world as you lose yourself in classic movies while overlooking Grand Traverse Bay. Ticket prices vary. traversecityfilmfest.org

 West Side Fun:

  • June 22-July 2: Electric Forest: Deep within the forests of Rothbury is a festival unlike any other. Thousands from all over the world gather together in music and art. Electric Forest also donates funds to keep music in Michigan Public Schools. electricforestfestival.com
  • June 24-25: Grand Haven Art Festival: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. grandhavenchamber.org/
  • June 29-July 4: Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival, Battle Creek: bcballoons.com
  • July 3-4: Muskegon Rockstock: Scenic Heritage Landing showcases Muskegon’s local music scene paired with great food and craft beer. “This festival appeals to families with a variety of musical genres and the Independence Day fireworks are great fun for the entire community,” says Bob Lukens, director of Visit Muskegon.

Musical talents include the Crazy Babies, the After Effect, Spike the Media and the Echoes of Pink Floyd. A portion of the proceeds will benefit a nonprofit organization committed to helping children and young adults with special needs by giving them an opportunity to play sports and participate in community events.

  • Aug. 10-13: National Blueberry Festival: “Entering its 54th year, the National Blueberry Festival continues to celebrate all things blueberry. It’s also a great opportunity to educate our community and guests on the agricultural and economic importance of the blueberry industry. Over 50,000 visitors flock to South Haven to enjoy this weekend,” says Rosalie Plechaty, director. blueberryfestival.com
  • Aug. 19: Moose Fest: Country radio station 107.9 FM hosts this free live music festival at Heritage Landing in Muskegon. michigan.org/event/moose-fest-2017
  • Aug. 19: Rubber Ducky Festival: Bellaire is hosting its 30th annual Rubber Ducky Festival this summer. “It is a quarter-mile race where 2,000 yellow ducks are dumped into the Intermediate River after Bellaire’s largest parade of the year,” says Rachel Krino, Bellaire Chamber. “Visitors can buy a $5 race ticket that corresponds to the number on a rubber duck and ducks finishing in the ‘Top 27’ win a cash prize.” She says the race began with a couple hundred ducks and an effort by Ray Mills, Bellaire Chamber of Commerce, to “bring people in” in 1987. bellairechamber.com/rubber-ducky-festival-55
  • Aug. 25-27: Shoreline Jazz Festival, Muskegon: visitmuskegon.org/event/shoreline-jazz-festival NS


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