Baseball season is back! For those who can’t make it to Comerica Park in Detroit, Jake Cagle of The Awesome Mitten has rounded up a list of places to enjoy a Tigers game in other parts of the state.
It’s April, and Opening Day is upon us. Around the country, ballparks are coming alive with the sounds of summer. Here in Michigan, we welcome back the chance to see our Detroit Tigers try and repeat as American League Champions, with the hopes that maybe they can take home the World Series trophy this year.
The Major League Baseball season consists of 162 games played in around 180 days. Of these games, half are played on a team’s home field. For Tigers fans, this means there are 81 chances to spend a summer afternoon or evening at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit. For all but the most hardcore of fans, there are just too many games to see all of them in person. Most people don’t have the money or time. Many don’t live close enough to make the nearly everyday trip down to the ballpark. So what’s a loyal Tigers lover to do?
Luckily, every game is scheduled to be broadcast on TV this season. That means you can catch Verlander, Cabrera, Fielder, and the rest of the crew in full high definition, complete with the always entertaining commentary by Mario Impemba and Rod “I See You” Allen, anywhere there’s a cable box. So we asked some of our writers at The Awesome Mitten, if you can’t make it to Comerica Park, where are you going to catch a Tigers’ game?
Here’s my answer…
Since I moved in to my cable-less apartment two years ago, watching a Tigers’ game usually means walking the mile into Grand Rapids’ Eastown neighborhood to go to Mulligan’s Pub. Whenever someone tags along, the first thing they notice is that Mulligan’s is not a sports bar. It’s dark, rough around the edges, and every square inch of the place isn’t covered in TVs. That’s okay with me; if I wanted a sports bar—and the subsequent feeling that I suffer from ADHD—I would go to a chain restaurant. Instead, I go to Mulligan’s because it’s a neighborhood bar with cheap beer and no B.S. If I’m going to have to sit and listen to someone babble about how “Ramon Santiago should be an everyday player,” it better be from someone who has seen nearly every game this season. I can tolerate nonsense from a regular much easier than from some guy who has only seen three games this season and “just came here for the hot wings.” So come this summer, where will you find me most evenings? I’ll be down at Mulligan’s, drinking a beer, watching the Tigers, and listening to some guy tell me “We paid too much for Fielder!” with a smile on my face.
Nick Nerbonne (@nicknerbonne) says…
Beer and baseball go hand-in-hand, so when I get together with friends to watch the Tigers in Traverse City, my go-to spot is 7 Monks Taproom. The folks at 7 Monks are big supporters of Michigan sports teams, so the Tigers are always on at least one of the flat screen TVs above the bar, or others near the booths and tables if you have a bigger group.
But make no mistake, 7 Monks is all about the beer. The ever-changing lineup of craft brews on 7 Monks’ 45+ taps (and plenty more in bottles) offers selections from throughout Michigan and beyond, keeping even the most diehard craft beer enthusiast happy. The atmosphere is low-key and friendly, and the conversation often centers around the latest release from Bell’s, Short’s, or Founders as much as it does Justin Verlander’s latest outing. If you enjoy a good beer while watching a ballgame, this downtown TC favorite is a home run.
John Kalmar (@johnkalmar) says…
I like to think of myself as an old soul. I enjoy sporting cardigans, yelling at the neighbor kids to get off my lawn and listening to baseball on the radio (only two of those are true). So when it comes to the question of “Where’s your favorite place to watch a Tigers game?” I’m going to throw a curveball here (topical, am I right?) and say my backyard with a trusty transistor radio by my side.
My preference of radio over TV for most Tigers games really took place last summer while I was working nights at newspaper. I could easily pull up the radio stream of the games and listen to it in the background while I worked my nights away as a newsie. It became such a daily routine for me to listen them and shut off the outside world at night that I began to refer to Tigers’ radio broadcasters Dan Dickerson and Jim Price as my only friends that summer (I’m half joking). There truly is something romantic and timeless about listening to a ballgame on the radio. No high definition images, slow-mo replays or flashy graphics (I really am making myself look like an old curmudgeon): it’s just you and the broadcaster. So this summer, you can find me in my lawn chair with a bottle of Oberon, listening to Jim Price discuss the art of pitching and hearing Dan Dickerson instruct me to “watch it fly” after each Tigers homerun.
Kristin Coppens (@kristinmcoppens) says…
What better place to watch the Tigers games than at a brewery dedicated to the very team? In Grand Rapids, The Mitten Brewing Co. has hit a home run as it took the best aspects of a sports bar and turned it into a neighborhood craft brewery located on Grand Rapids’ West Side. With only a few TVs, the Mitten Brewing Co. is a nice alternative to a chain restaurant and sports bar.
My favorite part of The Mitten Brewing Co. is their ability to spin simplicity into ingenuity. Each classic craft beer style has been modified by the owners’ and brewers’ personal innovation—like the ’84 Double IPA and the Peanuts and Cracker Jack Porter. The brewery also serves homemade gourmet pizzas and breadsticks on their menu. A true example of ‘don’t mess with a good thing,’ The Mitten Brewing Co. revolves around pizza, craft beer, baseball, and a local, neighborhood feel. What more could you ask for?
Come join me to cheer on our Navy and Orange, grab a beer, and throw some peanuts on the floor at The Mitten Brewing Co. Go Tigers!
Kati Bethuy (@MrsKayTeeBee) says…
Every summer, I would try my hardest to get tickets for Tigers games. Sometimes, though, I just couldn’t afford it. So what’s the next best thing? Going over to Hockeytown and taking in the game from their roof. From up there you can see into Comerica Park and hear the bats crack with every hit. Listen to the roar of the crowd and get sucked into all the energy oozing out of the park all while enjoying an ice cold beer and some delicious food, much better and cheaper than the stuff served in the park. If you want to feel like you’re part of the game but you lack the tickets to get in, Hockeytown is where it’s at.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy a Tigers’ game? Share in the comments section below!
Jake Cagle (@jake_cagle) is a feature writer for The Awesome Mitten. Born in Adrian, Michigan, Jake currently resides in Grand Rapids. He graduated from Grand Valley State University. Jake’s work has also been featured on MittenBrew.com and Visit Detroit Blog.
Festifools – happening on April 7th – is Ann Arbor’s homage to April Fools Day: an annual street parade featuring towering papier-mâché creations and various other hijinks. Today, photographer Benjamin Weatherston gives us a sneak peek at what we can expect at this fun event.
There are few experiences like spending time in the Festifools studio. If you’re not gazing up at the giant papier-mâché puppets hanging from the rafters, you’re marveling at the fine details going into the new creations. I quickly noticed that observation was not so simple a task anymore. Where else can you appreciate a panda king wearing golden shackles while standing next to a giraffe guitar? Have you ever seen a Tyranorexicsaurus (from the late Starveaceous Period) or played Where’s Waldo in real life?
It’s amazing to watch dedicated artists bring paper and glue to life. Almost as amazing as watching ordinary people become dedicated artists. But a 7-year tradition (by definition) doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t come about by the work of a single person. I got the wonderfool opportunity to look behind the scenes of how the entire city of Ann Arbor really comes together to cultivate this inspiring public art display known as “Michigan’s Mardi Gras.”
I first heard of FestiFools a few years ago when I saw the most amazing photos by Myra Klarman. She captured something that I had never seen and didn’t know was going on right down the street. I think it’s safe to say that many people learned about it through Myra’s images and Ann Arbor is lucky to have such a talented and well-connected photographer.
Mark Tucker welcomes the students back from winter break while I stand on a staircase overlooking the studio. His students design and build every sort of creation you will find in the studio. History major James Nadel told me, “A lot of the work that I do in class is theoretical. I write long papers that take a lot of time and effort, but rarely is the product anything more tangible than an intricate idea. In Festifools, I am actually creating something physical. What starts as a vague idea will become a monument; something that I can feel, see and experience. It is as though my imagination, my idea, is slowly invading the territory of reality. Seeing that process happen right before my eyes has been remarkable.”
The process isn’t magical or mysterious, it’s the same stuff I did in elementary school art class. Lumps of clay on this table, cardboard scraps over there. Bamboo in this barrell,PVC in that one. The magic is that the studio is an environment where ideas are nurtured and encouraged to grow. But don’t let the whimsy distract you from the craftsmanship taking place. A group of students discuss how to paint skin and another consults Mark on wrist joint construction. While there is an impression of “messy artist studio” it is very well organized considering the dozens of student and volunteer workers that are constantly using it. It’s definitely not a museum, everything is meant to be used.
In the midst of all this color and texture I find some very plain white mini-sculptures. Most Ann Arbor residents instantly recognize them as luminaries. One of the coolest things about Festifools is that it’s not just a single parade and Fool Moon is the dark side of the weekend experience. But don’t let that scare you because the only thing dark about Fool Moon is the night sky. The Friday night before Festifools has quickly become cherished in the hearts of Ann Arbor families as parents watch their children’s faces light up at the sight of hundreds of glowing fish, turtles, and lollipops on display. Families even enjoy spending time together making them with the help of the luminary kits that are sold to help support the event. For $20 you get everything you need to create your own piece of art and join in the twilight festivities including wire, paper, templates, and LED lights. Please check out this video from last year! This year will even include musical performances and might start getting people in the mood for the Ann Arbor Summer Festival.
Jon Carlson and Greg Lobdell own Grizzly Peak Brewing Company and are a huge reason why Festifools is possible. As part of their sponsorship Grizzly Peak makes a unique craft beer every year just for the weekend called Fool Brew. I got to meet Greg on a photo shoot in the brewery and was extremely impressed by his quiet and humble support. It was obvious that he loves Ann Arbor and the reward for such generosity in pure Fool form was a drink with Sarah Palin and Salvadore Dali. Greg said, “I am thankful that events like FestiFools and FoolMoon happen in our community. It is so darn cool to see families getting together to be part of these events. They are two of the best Ann Arbor events, and I am already looking forward to making luminaries with my kids. I mean, families love being fools together!” Jon simply said, “I love this event and the craziness of it all!”
The board couldn’t be happier with the partnership said producer Shary Brown. “It’s a fooltabulous partnership which helps the Fools with a lot of the nitty gritty event stuff, food, and FoolBrew which frees us to do the creative and community bits and pieces. It goes back to the beginning when they said, ’We’re in’ before we even got to explain the whole thing. All we could say is, ‘Wow, you really get it.’ Magic!”
When I asked Mark and Shary if I could get a picture of the WonderFool Productions board of directors I was hoping not to get a formal conference room shot. Their response was, “Can you come to the party Saturday night?” Fool House is a donor event that helps connect the philanthropic community members with their inner fool. I was able to get the board members together and was pleasantly surprised to see the likes of Harry Potter and President Obama. To say that FestiFools has community support is an obvious understatement once you spend an evening talking to the attendees at the Fool House fundraising party. The place was packed with people focused on how to help make each year bigger and better than the last.
There are only so many things that a local government can do for a street parade and the city of Ann Arbor with mayor, John Hieftje, has shown that there’s more to regulatory support than just approving permits. I met Mayor Hieftje at the Fool House donor event and knew right away that he believed in the mission of Festifools. He invited me to the next city council meeting for a little foolish display. Every year Mark and the students make a mask of the mayor and include him in the parade. At this particular meeting he wanted to promote the event by inviting the “Mâché-yor” to sit in his place and create a bit of theater.
Clague Middle School is an active participant in Festifools. This year, Ms. Pentzien’s art students are creating papier-mâché puppets for the show and even working on a drum line performance. I immediately noticed a giant owl when I first walked in the room but, again it’s all about the details, I was informed that it was a zombie professor owl. Complete with monocle, top hat, and exposed rib cage. I got to see sketches of designs done weeks earlier sitting next to the piece under construction. The students just don’t start cutting, stapling, and painting. Ms. Pentzien encourages thoughtful planning and collaboration. Out in the hall an extremely large snake is coming together and the kids get to become impromptu engineers as they troubleshoot the rigidity of PVC frames and brainstorm how to carry it while playing their instruments.
For the last two weeks I’ve been watching the entire city of Ann Arbor come together to support this very unique display of public art. But what is most unique is the interactivity and willingness to open it up to everyone. Please visit their website at www.festifools.org for more information.
And if anyone is interested in spreading the foolish good cheer in their hometown, Mark and crew are very eager to share their knowledge and experiences. But before you start slinging paper and glue, make sure you get here April 5th-7th to see it for yourself.
Benjamin Weatherston is a commercial/editorial photographer in Ann Arbor, MI. He is the owner of Photo Studio Group and the photographer and photo editor for The Ann magazine. See his work at www.benjaminweatherston.com.
St. Patrick’s Day is coming up this Sunday, and Michiganders sure know how to celebrate this Irish holiday! For those looking for things to do, here’s a roundup from Jake Cagle and Brian Murray of The Awesome Mitten of just some of the many celebrations happening around the state.
When the Irish came to America, they brought their customs, traditions, and pride. Today, over 34.7 million Americans claim Irish ancestry according to the 2010 U.S. census — seven times the current population of modern day Ireland. With so many people to celebrate their heritage, it is no surprise that Saint Patrick’s Day has been co-opted from a religious feast day into a celebration of all things Irish. Here in Michigan, we have a wide variety of great ways to celebrate the Emerald Isle. Read about some of the best below.
Irish on Ionia
Ionia Street, from Oakes to Weston, Grand Rapids
Saturday, March 16, 7a.m. – 10p.m.
Tickets $10, VIP $55
Brought to you by McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon, Irish on Ionia is an open-air festival in downtown Grand Rapids. You’ll have to leave the kids at home for this one, but the 21+ crowd is guaranteed a great time. The day kicks off at 7 in the morning with McFadden’s “Kegs and Eggs” breakfast buffet. If you show up late, never fear: the pinnacle of Grand Rapids street cuisine, Stoner Tacos, will be there to satisfy any hunger. You won’t be able to swing a cat without hitting something good to drink, either. Green beer will be going for $3 a cup, while Guinness and craft beers will run you $5. For just ten bucks you can buy a commemorative Irish on Ionia cup that you can fill for the same price as the other, smaller drinks.
But there’s more to Irish on Ionia than food and drink. A local Irish folk group with punk rock flair, The Waxies, will be there to play some traditional tunes. If they’re not your thing, stick around for The Crane Wives. You can also catch the Shamrock, Paper, Scissors tournament or the live circus performers. With all that going on, it’s no wonder the party goes all day.
Grand Ledge Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and Celebration
Downtown Grand Ledge
Friday and Saturday, March 15 and 16, various times
There’s plenty to do in Grand Ledge this year; so much, in fact, that they’ve split events between two days. On Friday evening at 6:00pm, the Glen Erin Bagpipe Band will be putting on their Saint Patrick’s Day concert at the Grand Ledge Opera House. The show wraps up around 11a.m., and it’s important to run home and get some sleep because it picks right back up in the morning. There’s an Irish stew contest at the Cole-Briggs American Legion Post, where the public is welcome to come in and vote for their favorite. While you’re digesting, you can take in the parade at 2p.m., then head back to the Opera House for the Goderich Drum and Bagpipe Band and some traditional Irish dance.
The 59th Annual Bay City Saint Patrick’s Day Parade
The corner of Center and Park Avenues, Bay City
Sunday, March 17, 2p.m.
Bay City kicked off this tradition with a bang in 1955. Over ten thousand people came together to watch marching bands, floats, and the St. Patrick’s Day Queen make their way to city hall. Each year the Queen is chosen from a list of young Irish ladies, selected based on personal interviews and a Miss America-style pageant. The winner gets to ride on the biggest and baddest float in town, and also receives a tidy scholarship. Join Parade Marshall Kelly Reed and carry on this awesome tradition.
Saint Patrick’s at The Curragh
73 E. 8th Street, Holland
Saturday and Sunday, March 16 and 17, 9a.m.
No price listed
The Curragh is an Irish pub in Holland, and they’re bringing you all the music you could want and more. This is another one of those 21+ events, but it’s a great chance to sit in a classic pub setting, drink your fill, and listen to some great Irish folk tunes. Bands include Peat in the Creel, AnDro, Millish, and a few more great choices. For the full list, just click the link at the head of this section. Breakfast starts at 9 each day, with music starting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday.
18th Annual Official Unofficial Traverse City St. Patrick’s Day Pub Walk
Downtown Traverse City
Friday, March 15, Noon
A Traverse City tradition, this downtown pub crawl hits up 10 pubs in 10 hours. While walking from pub to pub, you can enjoy traditional Irish music played by members of Grand Traverse Pipes & Drums (this event is not organized, sponsored, or sanctioned by the Grand Traverse Pipes & Drums, hence the “unofficial” tag). Walkers can join or stay behind at any stop along the way, ensuring a nice variety of attendees.
St. Patty’s Small Plates Wine Tasting
716 S. Kalamazoo St. Paw Paw, MI 49079
Saturday, March 16, 3-5 p.m.
$12 for wine club members, $15 for non-members
For those who are looking to celebrate the holiday in a low-key manner, St. Julian Winery hosts a three plate dinner and wine tasting event at their Paw Paw winery Saturday March 16. Spend the afternoon at one of the oldest wineries in the state, enjoying Irish-themed dishes and terrific wine pairings. There is limited seating, and reservations must be made by calling 1-800-732-6002.
Port Huron Pub Crawl 2013
Downtown Port Huron
Saturday, March 16, 1-7 p.m.
$10 in advance at Blue Water Area Convention & Visitors Bureau or participating pubs
$15 day of at transfer point on Quay Street or participating pubs
Those in the Port Huron area looking to celebrate the Irish at as many bars as possible should look no further than the Port Huron Pub Crawl. Pub Crawl attendees wear wristbands which entitle them to free party bus rides that shuttle between 20 downtown bars. Enjoy the best of Port Huron safely; discounted hotel packages are also available.
Of course there are many more great things to do in Michigan for St. Patrick’s Day. If you’re looking for other ideas, visit michigan.org. No matter what you do, be sure to celebrate safely and responsibly!
Jake Cagle is a feature writer for The Awesome Mitten. Born in Adrian, Michigan, Jake currently resides in Grand Rapids. He graduated from Grand Valley State University. Jake’s work has also been featured on MittenBrew.com and Visit Detroit Blog.
Brian Murray lives in Grand Rapids and is a feature writer at The Awesome Mitten. He also writes reviews of music and comic books for destroythecyb.org.
Looking for something fun to do with family and friends this month? Consider heading to Krazy Daze at Boyne Highlands on March 16th! From live bands and wild costumes to ski races and events geared just for kids, Krazy Daze offers something for everyone. To learn more, we spoke with Erin Ernst, Director of Communications for BOYNE.
A: I am the Director of Communications for BOYNE, which is comprised of Boyne Highlands Resort, Boyne Mountain Resort, The Inn at Bay Harbor – A Renaissance Golf Resort, Bay Harbor Golf Club, Boyne Country Sports and Boyne Realty. Each is a member of the Boyne Resorts family of resorts and attractions.
Q: For those who aren’t familiar, what is Krazy Daze?
A: Krazy Daze takes place Saturday, March 16 and is a full day celebration of spring skiing, kids fun, and a variety of on-hill races for all ages.
Q: What types of family activities will be going on at Krazy Daze?
A: Family activities include on-hill race events like a Jump Competition, The Krazy Cup and Silly Slalom, plus the always popular, Ski Over the Pond, and face painting and inflatables set-up at the base of the slopes for kids to enjoy.
Q: Are there any other events going on this month at the Mountain or Highlands?
A: March is packed full of fun! The springtime offers bluebird days, sunshine, warmer temperatures, softer snow and loads of fun events. Our March line-up includes a new Kids’ Festival Weekend at Boyne Mountain on March 8-10; the 4th Annual Brew-Ski Festival at Boyne Highlands on March 9; Krazy Daze at Boyne Highlands on March 16 and Carnival Weekend at Boyne Mountain, March 15-17; followed by Easter Weekend and a whole line-up of fun for Spring Break at Boyne Mountain. Spring Breakers will be able to enjoy great skiing, plus all the adventures of Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark and family entertainment like Zipline Adventure Tours, wagon rides, story time, family movies, bonfires and s’mores, and more.
Q: There is much more to do than just ski and snowboard for visitors to Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands. What other activities at the resorts or in the area do you recommend?
A: Yes, there sure is! Zipline Adventures are great fun. We offer two options at the resorts – the Zipline Adventure Tour is a two-and-a-half hour guided tour of multiple lines (8 lines at Boyne Highlands and 9 lines at Boyne Mountain) that start at the top of the slopes and zipline back to the base area, and Twin Zip Rides, which are a double zipline that you can ride and race against friends and family. Boyne Highlands has the longest single zipline in Michigan at 1,350 feet long. Both Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain offer spa experiences, and as well as cross country skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, and horse-drawn wagon rides. Boyne Mountain Resort is also home to Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark, Avalanche Bay. At 88,000 square feet, the park features water fun for all ages including five waterslides, a shallow children’s pool, a wet climbing wall, an activity pool to shoot hoops, a lazy river for floating, two hot tubs, the interactive Splasherhorn Mountain, a surf simulator, mega arcade, eateries and more. Also, with Boyne Highlands located in Harbor Springs and Boyne Mountain nearby Boyne City, both resorts are also situated near distinctive towns that offer great shopping, eateries and that also host a number of special events.
Q: When is the last day to hit the slopes this year?
A: Skiing conditions have been fantastic and with the quantity of snow we have and the long-range weather forecast, we expect our ski season at Boyne Mountain to run into mid-April. The final day of skiing and snowboarding at Boyne Highlands is Sunday, March 24.
Q: Where can people go to learn more about Krazy Daze?
A: To learn more about Krazy Daze or any of the other events and activities at Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain, visit www.BOYNE.com or call 800.GO.BOYNE (462.6963).
Erin Ernst is the Director of Communications for BOYNE and has worked in the resort industry for over ten years specializing in public relations, communications and marketing. Ernst serves as a board member of several travel and tourism organizations including the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, West Michigan Tourist Association, Great Lakes Winter Trails Council and North American Snowsports Journalist Association.