Unusual Michigan Festivals to Put on Your Summer Bucket List

Michigan is home to a number of “off the beaten path” festivals you won’t find anywhere else.  From Elvisfest to Cheeseburger fest, and everything in-between, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy. Here are just a few of the most unique Michigan festivals to add to your summer bucket list. For more, visit michigan.org/events.

lumberjackJack Pine Lumberjack Show
May 16 – September 1, Mackinaw City
Come cheer the Lumberjacks in this fast paced competition of chopping, chain-sawing, pole climbing, logrolling and more. You’ll see turn of the century skills of the lumberjack in action!

Train Expo 2014
June 20-22, Owosso
See the very best in steam locomotives from all over the U.S. as well as vintage WWII airplanes and some of the finest in automobiles from across the generations, all in Owosso! A giant midway, an auto race and the history of transportation will be available for the family to see, ride, and experience for this unforgettable weekend.

Marquette Mountain Mud
June 21, Marquette
Enjoy natural river showers via snow guns, river crossings, a huge mound of snow to climb, a giant slippery slide, plenty of other challenging  obstacles, and fresh mud to run and crawl through.  Enjoy a scenic chairlift ride to the top of Marquette Mountain, then complete your chosen 4-mile or 2-mile race to the finish line at the chalet. The courses will lead you through a set of switchbacks and various obstacles along your 550 foot descent  to the finish!

PIC SHOWS: FROM SHOOT: Chough bakery, Padstow.Michigan Pasty Fest
June 28, Calumet
Celebrate the Keweenaw’s “Pasty” history with a parade, children’s games, a pasty sale, live music and dancing with the Pasty Bake-Off for the coveted Copper Pasty Award. Event held at Agassiz Park.

Cedar Polka Fest
July 3-6, Cedar
Held yearly in Cedar, Michigan, under the big tent on the tennis courts. Highlights include a parade on Saturday at noon, softball tournament, a polka mass and polka under the big, big tent with the big names of polka.

Michigan ElvisFest
July 11-12, Ypsilanti
The Annual Michigan ElvisFest brings the best of Michigan’s Elvis impersonators together!  It’s just around the corner – Friday, July 11 and Saturday, July 12.

Maker-Faire-Detroit

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Maker Faire Detroit
July 26-27, The Henry Ford
Tinker, hack and mingle with over 400 makers during the ultimate festival of invention and creativity at the world’s original Maker mecca. You won’t believe your eyes!

Fish Sandwich Festival
August 1 -3, Bay Port, MI
Fresh fish sandwiches are the stars of the show during this festival! Free entertainment, parade, classic car show, bingo, kid’s games, raffles. Check out website link for full event schedule.

Michigan Pirate Festival
August 4-10, Grand Haven
Michigan Pirate Festival’s 8th year in western Michigan is this August 4-10, 2014, in Grand Haven. This year’s event will include pirate hunters, re-enactors, literary and fantasy characters, encampments, and pirates from more eras than ever before. Come out and see for yourself what the excitement is all about!

Rubber Ducky Festival
August 16, Bellaire
See two-thousand rubber ducks race down the Intermediate River! Also, visit the Arts and Craft show at Duckling Park on Broad Street with kids games, sidewalk sales and parade.

005The US-127 National Yard Sale
August 7-10, Hudson, MI
Dubbed the “World’s Largest Yard Sale”, this unique festival spans across five states!  Starting in Gadsden, Alabama and ending just north of Hudson, this national event is something bargain hunters can’t afford to miss (pun intended).

 Cheeseburger in Caseville
August 8-17, Caseville, MI
This family-oriented, 10-day event offers daily music, homemade boat races, parades, classic car shows, and more!  Not to mention the many different varieties of cheeseburgers you can enjoy as you spend time on the shore of picturesque Lake Huron.  Purchase your Cheeseburger Button to get into all of the events for the entire 10 days!

If you’re a cheeseburger fanatic, this festival is the one for you. If you’re more of a barbecue lover, be sure to check out Caseville’s Country Rib Stock Festival happening June 27 – 29th!

Blueberry-Festival-2012-043-1024x768Montrose Blueberry Festival
August 14-17, Montrose, MI
The Montrose Blueberry Festival is a weekend full of fun for the whole family!  Come enjoy delicious blueberry pancakes and pies while you sit back, relax, and watch the parade go by. This annual festival includes a flea market, carnival, 5k/8k road race, and much more.  Make your way to Montrose for a weekend you won’t forget!

For more celebrations dedicated to the blueberry, head out to Marquette’s Blueberry Festival on July 25th or the National Blueberry Festival in South Haven August 7th-10th!

Edmore Potato Festival
August 22-24, Edmore, MI
Celebrate all things ‘potato’ with a farmer’s market, parade,  rodeo, fireworks and more!

If you’re looking for more quirky and unique Michigan festivals throughout the year, be sure to keep the Trenary Outhouse Races or Potterville’s Gizzardfest on your radar!

Do you know of any other unique festivals happening around the state this summer? 

 

Pure Michigan July 2014 Events Roundup

July is just around the corner! With busy summer schedules in full swing, it’s never too early to start planning your visit to one of Michigan’s many summertime events. From art festivals and outdoor concerts to beach-side events and more, there’s something for everyone to do and see next month in Pure Michigan.

Below is a roundup of some of the many events going on around the state in July. Visit michigan.org for a complete listing of Michigan events.

Week of July 1-July 8

BalloonsBattle Creek Field of Flight Air Show & Balloon Festival
July 2-July 6, Battle Creek
Hot-Air Balloons, Full-Fledged Air Show with a Twilight & Night Air Show w/PYRO, Children’s Day, Funland Amusement Carnival, Balloon Illumes, Food, A&C, Commercial & Novelty Vendors line the Midway, Center Stage Entertainment & Music…and More!

 

Lakeshore Art Festival
July 4-July 5, Lakeshore
For decades, art has been a driving force in downtown Muskegon. The Lakeshore Art Festival continues that tradition with a unique blend of arts, crafts, music, food, and fun along the scenic shoreline. The Lakeshore Art Festival features hundreds of artists and crafters, a Children’s Lane, a food area including a Michigan Food Market, and street performers. Join us the first Friday and Saturday in July to celebrate art, culture, shopping, entertainment, and food!

Blue Water Sandfest
July 4-July 6, Port Huron
Blue Water SandFest will host a Master sand sculpting competition along the beaches of Lake Huron. The event will also feature a Pro-Am “State Championship” competition. You don’t want to miss this spectacular display of unbelievable works of art made from sand and water.

Oakland County Fair
July 4-July 13, Davisburg
The 2014 Oakland County Fair will be July 4 to July 13, 2014. Big Rock Amusements will provide the midway. Fireworks show will be on July 4 and promises to be bigger and better than ever before!

CherryFestNational Cherry Festival
July 5-July 12, Traverse City
Remember the sights, sounds, and smells of a summer celebration in your hometown when you were a kid? It probably had music shows, sporting events, marching bands, pie-eating contests and a midway. The National Cherry Festival’s 120 events include all of the above and more! Free air shows over the Bay, colorful parades, music shows, and lots of luscious cherries prepared every way you can imagine will be found all week long on Traverse City’s beautiful Lake Michigan shores.

Common Ground Music Festival
July 7-July 13, Lansing
Common Ground Music Festival takes place annually in downtown Lansing, along the banks of the Grand River in Adado Riverfront Park. This annual celebration features an outstanding lineup of musical acts, focusing on top-level, national and regional music performers of many genres including contemporary and classic rock, alternative, country, hip hop, R&B and more. With an attractive, intimate venue, state of the art production and a comprehensive array of patron amenities, the Festival is the premier outdoor music event of the summer in the mid-Michigan region.

Week of July 9-July 16

32nd Annual Metro Detroit Youth Day
July 9, Detroit- Belle Isle
Metro Detroit Youth Day is an annual event which draws more than 37,000 youngsters and 1,600 volunteers. There are 320 organizational sponsors of this event, and more than 310 business sponsors. Sports celebrities and government officials address the attendees. Colloge Row featuring 14 universities are present to talk with the youngsters.Awards are given to outstanding community leaders who deal with youth. Youth will have a variety of games, contests, sports clinics, entertainment, a Metro Detroit Youth Day Youth Idol Contest, plus a free lunch at noon. The event is 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. We give out 65 college scholarships at the event and honor students for academic achievement and community service. Media are invited to attend.

Wyandotte Street Art Fair
July 9-July 12, Wyandotte
The Wyandotte Street Art Fair, is now in its 52nd year. There are approximately 300 artists and craftspeople participating. Twenty-five food and beverage concessions provide a wide variety of delicious cuisine to satisfy all visitors. Area merchants convert sidewalks into a giant outdoor market featuring once-a-year values of quality merchandise.

BoatsBlue Water Fest/Mackinac Race
July 10-July 12, Port Huron
This sailing tradition is one of the largest freshwater sailing events in the world and has grown into Port Huron’s greatest summer celebration! Sailboats begin gathering in the harbor in the days prior to the race. On Saturday, the race from Port Huron to Mackinac Island begins! Along with the boats, the weekend is filled with music concerts, family activities and more!

Auburn Cornfest
July 10-July 13, Auburn
The Auburn Cornfest is held yearly in July at Auburn City Park, just off of US-10. We have nightly entertainment, casino tents, rides, a parade on Sunday and more family events. This event is sponsored by AIM (Auburn Improvement Management), Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce and the Auburn Jaycees.

American Polish Festival and Craft Show
July 11-July 13, Sterling Heights
We are pleased to announce our 35th Annual American Polish Festival and Craft Show, July 11-13, 2014, on the grounds of The American Polish Century Club, 33204 Maple Lane, Sterling Heights, MI (14 Mile and Hoover).  Our Festival will feature live band performances, Polish Dance Ensabmbles, Polish and American food, Polish and American Beer, refreshments, inflatables for the kids and the 2014 outdoor craft show.  Visit our website at www.americanpolishfestival.com or email us at americanpolishfestival@yahoo.com with any questions.

Art in The Park
July 11-July 13
In its more than 30 year history. Plymouth Art in the Park has grown to be the single largest art fair in Michigan. Held every year in July, this three-day event assembles over 450 artists from all over the country. Which display their work to nearly 300,000 attendees. This art, music, and food extravaganza was voted one of the “Gems of The Great Lakes” by AAA Magazine. In 2009 Art in the Park was ranked 5th in the nation by Sunshine Artist magazine in the classic and contemporary craft show category.

Week of July 17-July 23

Hydroplane“Quake on the Lake” featuring the National Hydroplane Championships
July 18-July 20 Waterford/White Lake Twp
Annual “Quake on the Lake” featuring the National Hydroplane Championships. Don’t miss Oakland County’s greatest summertime happening…the Annual Celebration of the “Quake on the Lake!” Witness all the thrills and spills on the water of over 100 North American Hydroplane boat race teams competing in a water sports event on the fastest one-mile race course in the country! On the land, enjoy all the action from the sandy shores of Pontiac Lake in Waterford/White Lake Township with loads of fun for all ages including the national musical recording artists headlining the stage on Saturday evening, exhibits of all kinds, food, games and more! Best of all, proceeds benefit the Rainbow Connection, making wishes come true for Michigan’s terminally ill children as well as other local grass root initiatives.

Jackson Hot Air Jubilee
July 18-July 20, Jackson
Hot Air Jubilee, July 18-20, 2014. 25+ hot air balloons will fill the skies over Jackson. Balloons launch Fri. evening, Sat. morning and evening and Sun. morning in Ella Sharp Park. Balloon night glows Fri. and Sat. evening. Other activities include arts & craft show, car show, unique Kid’s Kingdom, antique tractor display, wild animal show, live entertainment, food and much more family fun. Check out www.hotairjubiliee.com.

Marlette’s Dog Days of Summer Festival
July 18-July 20, Marlette
Annual Country Fair Days is a family friendly environment with a grand parade, children’s games and prizes, craft show, quilt show, car show, 3 on 3 basketball tournament, softball tournament, hospitality tent, live bands food vendors and firework show.

MI Bier Celebration
July 19, Frankenmuth
The Michigan Beer Celebration is organized by Charity Celebration, a non-profit 501.c.3 entity, with Frankenmuth Brewery as major sponsor. The event is organized to raise money for various local charities and introduce and feature Michigan and Regional Craft Breweries. The event is held inside the Harvey Kern Pavilion and also includes live entertainment and food.

Charlevoix Venetian Festival
July 19-July 26, Charlevoix
What began in 1930 as a candle lit boat parade in Charlevoix’s picturesque harbor, has become an eight day celebration of family and community pride. With both national and local music acts performing in three waterfront parks, a Kid’s Day, fifteen athletic tournaments, two nights of world class fireworks and the acclaimed Venetian boat parade, there is something for everyone at the Charlevoix Venetian Festival held the fourth week of each July in “Charlevoix the Beautiful”.

Crosstown Kids Triathlon 2014
July 20, Howell
The Crosstown Kids Triathlon held each year at the Howell Area Aquatic Center was created to foster a healthy lifestyle and a sense of accomplishment for kids ages 7-14.  Each triathlete will swim, bike and run to complete the competition and no experience is necessary   This is a fantastic opportunity for children to participate in an enjoyable, low-key athletic event that emphasizes health, self-esteem, self-confidence and fun in a safe, family-friendly environment-the emphasis is on completion, not on competition.

Week of July 23-July 31

Sterlingfest Art & Music Fair
July 24-July 26, Sterling Heights
Detroit News Reader’s BEST! Summer Festival – Arts & Crafts – Children’s Activities – Family Entertainment Stage – Jazz & Blues Stage – Evening Concerts – Studs ‘n’ Sounds Stage – Restaurant Row – Family Midway –

Munger Potato Festival
July 24-July 27, Munger
A SPUDtacular event for the entire family. Free parking, free admittance to the grounds, free potatoes given away daily. Potato King and Queen contest, potato display, potato brats along with Bingo and Vegas tents, live music daily in refreshment tent, parade, demolition derby, figure 8 racing derby and much more. Proceeds go toward Recreation and Parks projects in Munger and Merritt Townships in Bay County. The potato and ag tourism makes our community grow from 1642 residents to approximately 25,000 for the four fun-filled days. –

CoastGuardGrand Haven Coast Guard Festival
July 25-August 3, Grand Haven
The Coast Guard Festival is a patriotic celebration honoring the men and women of the United States Coast Guard. Highlights include Two Parades, Musical Entertainment, Carnival, Coast Guard Community Picnic, National Memorial Service, Children’s Activities, Scholarship Competition, Car Show, Street Dance, Sponsor Booths, Arts & Crafts, Ship Tours, Senior Day and Fireworks.  High ranking Coast Guard dignitaries, enlisted and retired personnel from across the country are among nearly 350,000 people attending this ten-day event.

Farwell Annual Lumberjack Festival
July 26-July 27, Farwell
The Farwell Lumberjack Festival is a two day fun filled weekend, held the last weekend in July.  We have “free Lumberjack Show”, 5K run, Craft/Vendor Show, Chainsaw Carvers and a Chainsaw Carving Auction following the end of the carving competition. Plus our Carvers are encouraged to bring finished pieces with them to display and sell. A Car and Truck Show, Greased Pig Contest (Children), Chainsaw Speed Cutting Competition, enter right up until the last minute.  Live Entertainment, Tug of War, Barrel Train Rides, Face Painting, Chili Cook-off, Hay Rides, Chicken Chucking, Pie Eating, Horseshoes, Ice Cream Social, Skillet Toss, Haystack Treasure Hunt, Street Dance, lots of Kids Games & Activities and much more. 

Eastern Michigan State Fair
July 29-August 2, Imlay City
Make your way to Imlay City for the annual Eastern Michigan State Fair!  You can enjoy bull and bronco rides, semi-truck pulls, superman motocross, alligator encounters, and much more.  A 4-H livestock auction will also be part of the fun as Imlay City hosts one of the state’s largest fairs.

Which July events do you plan to attend?

Nine Things You Might Not Have Known About The Soo Locks

Engineer’s Weekend in Sault Ste. Marie is June 27 – 28, 2014. This last weekend in June has something for everyone, including boat races, spectacular vistas and the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the great Soo Locks.

Photo courtesy of Sault Ste. Marie Convention and Visitor's Bureau

Photo courtesy of Sault Ste. Marie Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

Check out these nine interesting facts about the Soo Locks to inspire your visit from Sault Ste. Marie Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. A man-made marvel and the busiest lock system in the world, by cargo tonnage, yes the Soo Locks! On average, between seven and ten thousand ships come through the locks during the shipping season each year.  Built in 1855, these locks connect Lake Superior to Lake Huron and beyond.  We have repeat visitors every season; they call themselves Boat Nerds, that watch ships from all over the world use this free lock system.  Now here are some facts about the locking system and the St. Mary’s River. $500.4 Billion value attributed to the iron ore shipped through the Soo Locks each year. An average of 80 million tons of cargo moves through them each year. 7,000 passages each year – Crews at the Soo Locks complete these lockages during the 42- week- long navigations season. They are open 24 hours a day.  Can you take your personal boat through the locks? Yes, as long as you have permission from the lockmaster. 2,342 miles- ships from all over the world visit this port as the locks are a part of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, which connects Duluth, Minnesota to the Atlantic! 22 Million gallons of water to lift a boat. The locks are powered by gravity itself!  Water moves in and out of the lock chambers by just opening and closing valves. 1000 foot boats- There are 13-1000 footers on the Great Lakes, and the largest boat that comes through the Soo Locks is the Paul R. Tregurtha, coming in at 1013 feet which is larger than three football fields! The first vessels on the great lakes were 40 foot-long canoes.

Mikel B Classen

Photo courtesy of Mikel B Classen via Sault Ste. Marie CVB

9 hours between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, it takes a freighter about nine hours to pass through the St. Mary’s River system 21 foot drop- A thick layer of bedrock holds back the waters of Lake Superior where it joins the St. Mary’s River. This drop prevented boats from passing through. This reddish sandstone lines most of Lake Superior southern shores and is about 1000 feet-thick.   The Fairbanks Scale Company, which is still in business today, built the first permanent lock, State Lock. 3-4 cents per ton- From 1855 to 1881, this was the toll, but today it is free. The propeller in Soo Locks Park is from a steamer named the Independence, which exploded just northwest of today’s locks.  One crewman is said to have survived a trip down the rapids on a hay bale from the ship. Now that you know more about the Soo Locks, come and visit us during Engineer’s Weekend, when you can go into the locks and get up close and personal with this engineering marvel!  Engineer’s Day is always the last Friday in June, which is June 27th this year. See what Engineer’s Weekend is all about in the video below.  Have you been to the Soo Locks? Tell us about your experience!