Beat The Heat in the Mitten State with These Summer Activities

After our record-breaking winter, we’re not complaining about warmer temperatures! But when the long mid-summer days get muggy and humid, here are five ways to beat the heat in the Mitten State courtesy of The Awesome Mitten.

Ray's ice Cream - Photo courtesy of The Awesome Mitten

Ray’s ice Cream – Photo courtesy of The Awesome Mitten

Michigan summers are many things. Predictable, however, does not make the list. One day may be a beautiful 75 and sunny, and the next a sweltering 95 and muggy. Though the former is obviously preferable, there are plenty of awesome activities in Michigan to get you through the latter. Here are a few of my favorite ways to beat the heat in the mitten:

In light of the fact that it’s National Ice Cream Month, and since (inarguably) one of the best ways to beat the heat is with a cold, tasty treat, first on the list is ice cream.

Without a doubt, my first choice for ice cream in Michigan is the MSU Dairy Store. Though I worked at Coldstone Creamery for more than a year while living in East Lansing, I still made near weekly stops at the Dairy Store for a cone or a shake. If you haven’t been, make your way to East Lansing and stop in for a scoop of Michigan State Sesquicentennial Swirl post-haste. (Though I’m actually a fan of the more traditional Mint Chocolate Chip, myself.)

Photo courtesy of The Awesome Mitten

Photo courtesy of The Awesome Mitten

Now that I’ve left East Lansing for metro-Detroit, I’ve had to find new locales to get my ice cream fix. Luckily, a short one mile walk from my apartment in Royal Oak is the delicious Ray’s Ice Cream. A staple in the area for more than 50 years, Ray’s consistently tops lists of best ice cream parlors in metro-Detroit. Before I wrap up the ice cream shout out’s, I also have to mention Treat Dreams in Ferndale, whose unique and creative flavors I first had and became enamored of at BRU Fest 2013 and have been enjoying ever since.

Possibly the most popular way to beat the heat in Michigan is to head to any number of the gorgeous lakes in the mitten state. Oft-overlooked, however, is the Detroit waterfront. Beautiful Belle Isle Beach is always a great option for just laying out and working on your tan, but you can also take a ride down the waterslide, walk the trails, or (if the weather takes a turn for the worse) check out the wildlife at the Belle Isle Aquarium.

And Belle Isle Beach isn’t the only place to enjoy Detroit’s riverside; Chene Park Amphitheater is another great way to experience the waterfront in the Motor City. With the ever-popular Jazz Series, as well as many other awesome summer performances, Chene Park is a great way to enjoy some tunes while basking in the breeze from the river.

Photo courtesy of The Awesome Mitten

Photo courtesy of The Awesome Mitten

Speaking of the river, Riverside Kayak Connection has events such as the Detroit Eastside Canal Tour that offer a unique and adventurous way to explore the Motor City. (Don’t worry, novice kayakers, Riverside Kayak Connection has classes and events for all skill levels!)

And when the weather is just too unbearably scorching to enjoy the great outdoors, my personal favorite way to beat the heat indoors is with a few delicious Michigan craft beers. Obviously, everyone clamors for Oberon long before summer (“Oberon Day” was way back in March this year), but there are plenty of other delicious brews that have my mouth watering come summer. On my list are Atwater Brewery’s Dirty Blonde, Kuhnhenn Brewing Co’s Simcoe Silly, and Short’s Brewing Company’s Soft Parade (admittedly a year-round favorite of mine).

Since this list obviously doesn’t cover all of the ways to get through the hot days of a Michigan summer (and, as you may have noticed, it is somewhat biased to the metro-Detroit area), I would love to know: what are some of your favorite ways to beat the heat in Michigan?

HS PhotoHayley Serr writes for The Awesome Mitten and works for Vectorform, a Royal Oak-based interactive design company. Born and raised in metro-Detroit, this Spartan alumna relishes any opportunity to share all of the wonderful things there are to do in Michigan. Hayley loves spending time with her family, cooking, and, of course, any opportunity to explore all the fun there is to be had in the mitten!

 

 

Ten Can’t Miss Events at the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival

Grand Haven‘s Coast Guard Festival kicks off on July 25th! Today, guest blogger Stefanie Herder from Visit Grand Haven describes ten can’t miss events at the ten-day festival.

Coast Guard Ship - Photo Credit Ed Post

Photo courtesy of Ed Post

The Coast Guard Festival unofficially began in 1924 as a Coast Guard personal-only picnic, which included rowing competitions for service members stationed in Grand Haven. Over the past 90 years, the festival has become a premier event in Michigan with an annual attendance of more than 350,000 people including the nation’s highest-ranking Coast Guard dignitaries from Washington D.C. Because of the city’s the long history with the Coast Guard, Grand Haven was named the official ‘Coast Guard City USA’ by the United States Congress on November 13, 1998. Needless to say, the Coast Guard Festival is a pretty big deal for us Grand Haven folks.

This year’s Coast Guard Festival is July 25th – August 3rd and it’s sure to be the biggest and best yet! So in honor of the 10 day festival, here are the 10 Can’t Miss Events of the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival:

Coast Guard Festival Run
There is no secret to why over a thousand runners choose to participate in the annual Coast Guard Run. The race route is challenging but picturesque complete with stunning views of Lake Michigan and the famous Grand Haven pier and lighthouse. It even convinced this very non-runner to put on some running sneakers and participate in the event for the past two years.  The view is a well-deserved reward after having to scale the notorious hills on Grand Avenue.

Kids Parade
Shortly after the completion of the Coast Guard Run, families start claiming their spots in anticipation of the annual Kids Parade. Families, children’s groups, marching bands, and more are invited to take part of this community event. My little tradition for the past couple years has been to run the Coast Guard Run, have my favorite breakfast dish at the Dee-Lite in downtown Grand Haven, and then watch the parade. The perfect way to start a Saturday if I do say so myself!

Coast Guard Festival Community Picnic
Just like the first Coast Guard Community Picnic in 1924, this is a time for the community and Coast Guard personnel to celebrate the USCG’s long history in the Grand Haven area. The public is welcome to enjoy food, games, and music at Coast Guard Park in Ferrysburg.

Ship Arrivals & Ship Tours
The USCGC Hollyhock, USCGC Bristol Bay, and USCGC Biscayne Bay are set to sail into Grand Haven’s port. Everyone in town lines the Grand Haven boardwalk and pier to welcome the ships to the festival. I love walking down from our office to watch the ships parade down the river channel and back before they dock at Escanaba Park.  After the ships arrival, the public is welcome to come aboard for free tours presented by the ship’s crew throughout the remainder of the week.

Photo courtesy of Ed Post

Photo courtesy of Ed Post

Downtown Carnival
Downtown Grand Haven’s Washington Avenue transforms into a carnival midway complete with rides, games, and the sweet, sweet smells of elephant ears. In this unique setting visitors are entertained by carnival goers from street side patios of downtown eateries as the bright carnival rides light up the evening sky.

Street Dance
This event has long been a favorite to both locals and visitors during the annual festival. A block of Washington Street in downtown Grand Haven is closed for the evening so we can do as the event name promises – dance in the street! This year’s entertainment is provided by The Gents who will fill the street with your favorite rock and roll classics. With the carnival midway and historic downtown as your backdrop, get ready to dance the night away!

Craft Fair
The Coast Guard Craft Fair is one of the most popular craft fairs in Michigan with over 170 crafters from around the state and nation. During this two day show, Grand Haven’s Central Park is transformed in to an outdoor market filled with original, handcrafted goods. There’s always something new and unique to see at the Craft Fair.

National Memorial Service

Photo courtesy of Ed Post

Photo courtesy of Ed Post

At the heart of the Coast Guard Festival is the National Memorial Service held at Escanaba Park along Grand Haven’s waterfront. During this moving tribute the attention is focused on the brave members of the United States Coast Guard, particularly those who have “passed over the bar” in the past year.

Grand Parade
The Coast Guard Grand Parade is one of the largest and most popular parades in the state of Michigan. Nearly 100,000 people line the streets of downtown Grand Haven to show their appreciation for the men and women who serve in the United States Coast Guard as well as celebrate “Coast Guard City, USA”. In this 2-hour parade you’ll see marching bands, clowns, military units, Coast Guard dignitaries, local sports teams, colorful floats, and much more. I’m a HUGE parade lover and this one does not disappoint.

Photo courtesy of Ed Post

Photo courtesy of Ed Post

Fireworks Extravaganza
The Coast Guard Festival Fireworks are a 74 year old community tradition and one of the hallmarks of the annual festival. This fireworks display is known as one of the best in the state of Michigan and continues to get bigger and better each year. The show takes place after the completion of a special Coast Guard Festival edition of the Musical Fountain along Grand Haven’s waterfront. Paired with the carnival lights, large crowd, and music – it’s a magical scene.

Check out Coast Guard Festival in action in the video below!

 

 

 

Have you been to Grand Haven’s Coast Guard Festival? Tell us about your experience! 

Stefanie Herder Bio Pic - Photo Credit Marci CisnerosStefanie Herder is the Customer Service Coordinator for the Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. She was born and raised in the Grand Haven area and graduated from Grand Valley State University with a degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management in 2006. Stefanie and her husband, Josh, enjoy taking full advantage of the four seasons Michigan has to offer including fishing, hiking, camping, snowshoeing, kayaking, golfing, and snowboarding.

 

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.