Five Tips for Attending Ann Arbor’s Art Fair

The Ann Arbor Art Fair hits downtown Ann Arbor this July 16th-19th. With the work of 1,000 artists on display, there is a lot of ground to cover if you want to see it all! Today, Maricat Eggenberger provides some helpful tips for navigating the fair. 

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Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

This July 16-19, the Ann Arbor downtown will be transformed with over 1,000 juried artists featuring their artwork from all over the country. If you have ever attended the Ann Arbor Fair, you understand the diversity of art work represented and the lively atmosphere of Ann Arbor’s downtown and campus streets.  If you haven’t attended before, we hope you’ll make a trip to see what the Ann Arbor Art Fair is all about. We’ve crafted a list of our top 5 insider tips for before and during your visit to the Ann Arbor Art Fair, one of the largest outdoor art fairs in the United States.

Getting to the Fair & Parking: Parking for the Art Fair is very easy and inexpensive if you choose to use the Park and Ride Options available. Simply park at Huron High School, Maple Village Shopping Center, Pioneer High School or Briarwood Mall.  There are shuttles that will take you right downtown to the fair! For more information on the pick-up locations and ticket costs, check out the Art Fair Parking and Shuttle page.  Getting to Ann Arbor during the next few months may be met with navigational challenges if you don’t plan ahead. Orange construction barrels can be seen along most area roads indicating lane closures, and in some cases complex detours. Our local news outlet, the Ann Arbor News, has been doing an excellent job of keeping us up-to-date, but you can also check out Michigan’s Department of Transportation site for a detailed map including current and future construction plans.

Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Navigating the Fair: The best way to navigate the fair is to make sure you are armed with an Art Fair map.  Maps can be found on the Art Fair website. In addition, Art Fair guides are available at all welcome booths found throughout the fair.

Engage with the Fair: This year you have the opportunity to engage with the fair through Social Media!  Follow the Fair on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and then through your engagement you could be the winner of some great Art Fair throwback gear! Use the hashtag #ArtFairTBT when sharing your old photos from your trips to the Art Fair to enter. During your visit be sure to share your photos of your awesome art finds, delicious dining excursions and fun adventures using the hashtags #AnnArborArtFair and #VisitAnnArbor!

Ann Arbor Art Fair - Social MediaExperience the Art Fair Entertainment: In addition to the streets of booths to enjoy, the Art Fair also has live entertainment scheduled for during and after fair hours! Also, don’t forget to check out the Cooling Misting Station and the Art Activity Zones!  For more details on the musical performances and fun activities, check out the full schedule.

Plan Ahead: July in Ann Arbor can reach high temperatures, plan ahead with water bottles, cool and light clothing and watch the forecast for chances of rain.

Maricat EggenbergerMaricat Eggenberger is the Communications Manager for the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. She’s a proud Michigander that loves traveling, anything eco-friendly and the little adventures in life.

Two New Ways Boyne Mountain Offers Big Summer Adventure

Snow-capped hills have turned to lush hiking and biking trails, scenic golf views and more at Boyne Mountain Resort! Today, guest blogger Erin Ernst tells us about a few new ways to experience Boyne Mountain Resort this season.

Kayak Adventures on the Boyne River

Kayak Adventures on the Boyne River

Summertime in northern Michigan is all about the allure of natural surroundings and if you like a bit of adventure with your time in the great outdoors, then Boyne Mountain Resort is the place for you!  In addition to plentiful activities like golfing, fishing, horseback trail rides, Zipline Adventures, beach fun, chairlift rides, disc golf, hiking, and paintball, you’ll also discover two new summer excursions – Kayak Adventures and guided mountain biking trips.

The resort recently partnered with Boyne River Adventures to offer guests convenient access to the Boyne River, located just a mile from the resort.  Roundtrip transportation and kayak rental with paddles and flotation jackets make this trip as easy as the breeze on the water.  Departures are offered daily at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. from Boyne Mountain’s Adventure Center.  Kayakers are first given an overview of the river’s landscape, and then launched for an enjoyable five-mile float on the prized river.

Guided Mountain Biking at Boyne Mountain Resort

Guided Mountain Biking at Boyne Mountain Resort

A moderate understanding of kayaking and paddling is best as some maneuvering (just enough to get your heart racing!) is necessary.  The river quickly rewards you for your efforts with a leisurely float for the second half of the trip before flowing into beautiful Lake Charlevoix.  The Boyne River is cherished for its high-quality fresh water that supports great biodiversity, and winds its way deep through the woods where the natural scenery is pristine.

At the end of the approximately two-hour trip, kayakers are picked up in Boyne City and transported back to Boyne Mountain Resort.  Each trip accommodates up to 10 guests.  Rates are $40 per person for a single kayak or $75 for a tandem kayak.

Summer visitors can now also explore Boyne Mountain Resort’s expansive network of mountain biking trails with a guide.  Based on your biking ability, a guide tours the most suitable trails during an hour and a half expedition with up to four guests.  Boyne Mountain boasts an impressive 32.5 miles of trails, including a paved loop with panoramic views of the Boyne Valley, or for more experienced riders, natural wide open two-tracks and technical single-tracks.  Bring your own bike, or rent a ride from Boyne Mountain.  Departures are available daily at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and the cost is just $20 per person.

The Big Couloir at Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark

The Big Couloir at Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark

When you need some time away from the sun, adventure can also be found indoors at Avalanche Bay.  The mega indoor waterpark is the largest in Michigan, and its newest attraction has adventurists giddy with excitement.  Beginning in a launch capsule, The Big Couloir features a trap door that drops away and propels riders into an enclosed tunnel traveling at G-force speeds up to 38-feet per second round a 360-degree loop before finishing with a splash.  This ride is a pure adrenaline rush that will leave you wanting to ride it again and again!

So whichever adventure calls you, find it this summer at Boyne Mountain Resort.

For Kayak Adventure and guided mountain biking reservations, call 231.549.7256.  For more information on all of Boyne Mountain’s summertime fun, visit boynemountain.com.

Erin Ernst is the Director of Communications for BOYNE, owner and operator of Boyne Highlands Resort, Boyne Mountain Resort, The Inn at Bay Harbor – A Renaissance Golf Resort, Boyne Country Sports, and Boyne Realty.  She is a Michigan native who loves recreation and the outdoors, and has worked in the resort and tourism industry for over ten years.  She is also a board member with the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau and West Michigan Tourist Association.

What Not to Miss at the Traverse City Film Festival and National Cherry Festival this July

Summer is festival time in Michigan, and July brings two really big ones to Traverse City: the National Cherry Festival and the Traverse City Film Festival. Everyone has their favorite events, and guest blogger Mike Norton of Traverse City Tourism offers his own personal preferences.

I’m not normally a crowd person — but there are times when I will gladly hang out with thousands of other people.

Ball games, for instance. Oh, and the Junior Royale Parade at the National Cherry Festival.

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Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Now in its 88th year, the Cherry Festival (July 5-12) is Traverse City’s signature event, drawing as many as 500,000 attendees from around the country. And although some of my friends like to huff and puff about how long it lasts and how it snarls up traffic, most of us have events that we never miss if we can help it. I mean, with more than 150 family-friendly activities (air shows, fireworks, parades, games, races, midway rides, demonstrations, banquets and nightly outdoor concerts) it’s hard to avoid having a favorite.

For some, it’s the stunning airshow over Grand Traverse Bay, especially in years like this one when the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels will be the headliners. Even before the Festival officially gets underway, they’ll be giving us a Fourth of July treat, and for the next two days there’ll be free shows in the sky. Some folks will also be excited that this year the  Detroit Red Wings will be holding their annual development camp in Traverse City during Cherry Festival week.

Others love the nightly concerts down along the beach. This year’s lineup includes Collective Soul, Here Come the Mummies, the Bihlman Bros., the Gin Blossoms, George Thorogood & The Destroyers, the Under the Sun Tour (Sugar Ray, Smashmouth, Blues Traveler, and Uncle Kracker), Justin Moore, and Tommy James & The Shondells.

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Everybody has favorites: the marching band competitions, the food tastings, the fireworks, the midway rides, the excursions out to working cherry farms – after all, the Cherry Festival is still our way of celebrating Traverse City’s role as “America’s Cherry Capital.” And for many folks, the Big Event is the huge Cherry Royale Parade held on Saturday afternoon, the last day of the festival – an enormous procession of floats, bands, marching units, clowns and grinning politicians that draws 50,000 spectators each year.

But my favorite parade is a smaller affair, one that takes place on Thursday evening. The Junior Royale Parade is for kids – in fact, someone told me that it may be the largest all-kid parade in the country. Hundreds of youngsters make their way down the Traverse City streets, marching along, steering their decorated bikes and trikes, leading their reluctant pets, riding on their lovingly constructed school floats or dozing in their baby buggies.

Maybe it’s the early evening atmosphere, so cool and dreamy and filled with just-after-dinner contentment. Maybe it’s the earnest wholesomeness of the whole adventure. But when I’m sitting at the curb during the Junior Royale watching those kids go by, I feel a connection to a sweeter, less frantic time and place. I remember the sights, sounds and smells of summer celebrations when I was a kid – the kind of memories I hope my own kids have, the kind of memories that we should hold on to.

The other thing I’ve always loved about the Cherry Festival is that most of it’s available to ordinary working people. Everything is located within walking distance, and since almost all the events are free, it offers more than a week of affordable family fun. I think that’s one reason why it’s been listed among USA Today’s top ten festivals for several years running.

Traverse City Film Festival – July 29th – August 3rd

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Founded in 2005, the Traverse City Film Festival has been able to lure movie buffs away from the beaches and golf courses with an outstanding selection of independent, foreign, and documentary films, as well as premieres, parties, panel discussions and lectures about the world of film.

Most events are held near downtown — at the vintage State Theatre, the brand-new Bijou by the Bay theatre in Clinch Park, the City Opera House, and the Old Town Playhouse – but there are also free family movies shown each night on a huge inflatable outdoor screen at Open Space Park , on the shore of West Grand Traverse Bay. (Guess what – my favorite part!)

If you’re any type of a movie-watcher, most of these will be films you’ve already seen – probably more than once. But that’s not the point. It’s really about watching a movie while sitting on a blanket on the grass, surrounded by other folks. In fact, to keep the whole thing community-based, the Film Festival folks routinely ask participants what films they’d like to see on the big Friday night movie. This year, it’ll be “Star Wars.” Other free films this year are “Jaws,” “Jurassic Park,” “Casablanca,” “The Goonies,” and “The Wizard of Oz.”

The Film Festival is a “weatherproof” summer event that allows participants to sample from a broad menu of film screenings and other events at any time of day or evening. Since most of the events are concentrated in Traverse City’s compact downtown area, there’s a multitude of shopping and dining options close at hand. (Plus, there’s the added thrill of meeting up with a movie star or two out on the street during Festival Week!)

Other than the nightly films on the grass at the Open Space, most events during the Film Festival aren’t free – but they’re not unreasonably priced, either. Regular movies are $10, and sneak previews are $15. Around here we like to say that it “brings a little Hollywood to Traverse City!”

IMG_2782 copy - CopyMike Norton spent 25 years as newspaper writer and columnist before starting a second career as media relations manager at Traverse City Tourism. An avid cyclist, kayaker and hiker, he lives in the village of Old Mission.