Pure Michigan September 2014 Events Roundup

September will soon be upon us, and with it, the sights, sounds and smells of fall. From great events like Grand Rapid’s ArtPrize to the ever popular Grand Haven Salmon Festival, there is something for everyone to enjoy in the month of September. 

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

Week of September 1-7

Arts, Beats & Eats
August 29-September 1, Royal OakArtsBeatsandEats
Oakland County’s premier entertainment festival which draws nearly 400,000 people to experience more than 200 juried art exhibitors, 50 restaurants and 200 performances on 10 stages downtown Royal Oak. 5K/10K and Zumbathon events on the morning of August 30 presented by Priority Health.  Admission fee for festival and events..

Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk
September 1, Saint Ignace
Join thousands of walkers and make the 5-mile trek across the Mighty Mackinac Bridge! Walkers can begin walking at 7am and can start up until 11am. The annual trek across the 5-mile long Mackinac Bridge occurs on Labor Day, the only day of the year pedestrians are allowed on the bridge. Walkers begin in St. Ignace at the north end of the Bridge and walk south. The walk is one-way, and bus transportation is available to return you to St. Ignace until 2:30pm. You can also park your vehicle in the parking lot of the Little Bear East Arena and be shuttled to and from the start line for the bridge walk. For additional information, visit the website link.

Hispanic Festival
September 5-6, Grand Rapids
Join the celebration of the Hispanic cultures with continuous entertainment for all ages, delicious food from many regions, beverage tent, a mercado featuring traditional and artisan wares, a 3v3 Futsal tournament (Saturday), and children’s crafts and activities.

The Super Run
September 6, Ann Arbor
The Super Run is a super hero themed family friendly fun run coming to Ann Arbor! There will be activities, giveaways, and lots of fun! Each participant receives Super Hero Swag with their registration including a Super Run cape, Super Run silicone bracelet and temporary tattoo.

Selfridge Air Show
September 6-7, Harrison Township Blue Angels
The highest-flying free show in the Motor City returns to the skies of Macomb County this September. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels, led by Clinton Township native Commander Tom Frosch, will headline the 2014 Selfridge open house and Air Show at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan, Saturday and Sunday, September 6-7. The show will feature a wide assortment of military aircraft and equipment displays, along with a number of civilian acrobatic aerial performances. Admission to the show on the military base is free and the parking is free.

Week of September 8-14

Motown Summer Cruise
September 10, Detroit
Savor the sweet sounds of Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Jackson 5, The Temptations, The Four Tops, and Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, here in the city where it all happened! Dance the night away while enjoying classic cuisine and cocktails as we cruise between the Detroit and Windsor skylines. Join our crew this summer for an absolutely unique Detroit experience. Event will be featuring the KGB Motown Review.

Beerfest at the Ballpark
September 12, Lansing
The fall festival will be held on Jackson Field at Thomas M Cooley Law School Stadium under the stadium lights. Attendees will have the opportunity to taste more than 250 craft beers, ciders, and meads from over 50 Michigan breweries all while enjoying the ballpark’s atmosphere. The festival will feature live music. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door and include entry, a logoed tasting glass, and 10 tasting tickets. Special VIP Tickets may be purchased for $40 in advance and include early entry to the festival at 5pm, a logoed tasting glass, and 15 tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets will be available for purchase on the day of the event. A $10 designated driver ticket may also be purchased.

Grand Haven Salmon Festivalsalmonfestival
September 12-14, Grand Haven
The 11th Annual Grand Haven Salmon Festival features live jazz music; Michigan tasting pavilion (ID required for wine/beer tasting) featuring Michigan’s top wineries and grape stomping; gourmet salmon cook-off contest; fall harvest beer & entertainment pavilion; downtown merchant market; fine art fair on the waterfront; Big King Salmon fishing contest with weigh-in/awards ceremony; mouth-watering food and beverage treats at the Fresh Catch Fish Boil; Grand Haven historic displays through the Tri-Cities Museum; hands-on children’s nature-themed arts & crafts activities; and educational, environment-focused exhibits, displays, workshops—and more!

Dirty Dash
September 13, Mount Morris
The Dirty dash is a mud-run obstacle course where a military boot-camp meets your inner five-year-old’s fantasy and subsequently converts boy to man and then man to swine. You’ll need endurance to trudge up mountains of sludge, courage to overcome uncompromising obstacles, a complete lack of shame to wallow in pits of mud, and a smile to show through at the end! Go solo or with some of your dirtiest, filthiest, and uncouth friends.

Harbor Springs Fall Cycling Classic
September 13, Harbor Springs
For over 20 years this ride has been a favorite of cyclists from all over the state. The semiannual tour, held in spring and fall, has three distance routes to choose from (20 miles, 44 miles, or 60 miles), great refreshment stops, and a great lunch at the finish. Registration and admission fee required. Weekend lodging packages are available.

Week of September 15-21

Frankenmuth Oktoberfest 2014
September 18-21, Frankenmuth
Head to Frankenmuth for the annual Oktoberfest celebration! A fun and memorable German festival with a large wooden dance floor for dancing and demonstrations. Great food, drinks, and souvenirs. Located in the Harvey Kern Pavilion in Heritage Park.

Toyota Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year Championship
September 18-21, Escanaba
The culmination of the Bassmaster Elite Series season, this tournament will determine the 2014 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year. Surrounded by a full slate of fan activities, from daily takeoffs and weigh-ins to Bassmaster Elite Series Expo.

Old Town BluesFest
September 19-20, Lansing
The Old Town BluesFest is a two-day free music festival that brings national, regional, and local acts to an audience of roughly 7,000 people from across Michigan and nearby states. The Old Town BluesFest takes place in the streets of Old Town Lansing, at the intersection of Turner St. and E. Grand River Avenue. Lansing Metro Marinas will be giving half-hour tours of the Grand River on Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Porcupine Mountains Trail Run – Half Marathon & 5K
September 20, Silver City
The Porcupine Mountains are one of the largest tracts of wilderness east of the Mississippi River. The Porcupine Mountains overlook Lake Superior, the largest fresh water lake on Earth. The coastline is remote and rugged. The marathon course includes some of the most remarkable single track in the idwest and takes runners past tranquil and remote Mirror Lake and along the classic Escarpment Trail where you can almost reach out and touch soaring hawks as you overlook Lake of the Clouds. This event completes a trio of deeply inspiring trail marathon hosted by Great Lakes Endurance (Waugoshance, Grand Island, and Porcupine Mountains) offering runners the best of what Michigan and the Upper Great Lakes have to offer.

Civil War Muster
September 20-21, Holland
Make your way to Holland to remember the Civil War through a weekend re-enactment including professional re-enactors making camp and recreating battles.  This year’s all-new free admission event features two days worth of music, impressions of historical figures, performances, medical scenarios, period-style vendors, and (of course) battle. Event held at Van Raalte Farm.

Week of September 22-28

ArtPrize 2014
September 24-October 12, Grand RapidsArtPrize4
ArtPrize is the world’s largest international art competition open to any artist and decided by public vote. Take 11 days to explore over 4500 artists at 515 venues in Grand Rapids and vote for the entries you think should win.

DlectriCITY
September 26-27, Detroit
Detroit’s newest nighttime festival of art + light, returns this fall to present 35 local, national and international artists whose cutting edge works of art, lighting design and performance will illuminate the historic architecture of Midtown. For two electrifying evenings, Midtown Detroit will be enveloped in a sea of light as a number of artists converge on Detroit to “light up” buildings and city spaces in Midtown using various mediums that meld sci-fi technology with Victorian spectacle on a grand scale.

South Lyon Area Pumpkinfest
Pumpkinfest
September 26-28, South Lyon 
This year South Lyon’s much anticipated community event celebrates its 30th anniversary. Over the years, the event grew from a craft and antique show to a weekend-long celebration of crafts, music, community, and of course, everyone’s favorite fall product; the pumpkin.

Color Vibe 5K
September 27, Mount Morris
Get ready Flint for the most colorful fun-filled day of your life! You’ll have more color on you than your happy levels can handle! So get your friends and family stretched for this amazing color blast event where you’ll get blasted with color while you run the Color Vibe 5K. Color Vibe is here, and you’re about to get tagged! You’ll be blasted at every color station throughout this awesome 5k run.

Mighty Mac Bridge Race
September 27, Saint Ignace
The Mighty Mac Bridge Race is a certified 11 kilometer course that begins in Mackinaw City, crosses the Mackinac Bridge, winds through downtown St. Ignace, and ends at the Star Line Railroad Dock parking lot. Free busing from Star Line Railroad Dock to race start in Mackinaw City. The $40 entry fee includes Samuel Adams party and SWAG noon until 6pm, medals and division trophies, “Time to the Top” photo on bridge, free busing and local shuttle, long sleeve running shirt, Kewadin Casino package, and chipped bib timing.

Which events do you plan to check out in September? 

Be Part of the Benton Harbor Arts District

Benton Harbor is home to a thriving art and culture scene – including events like Artoberfest, an Oktoberfest-style celebration of art, culture, music, and food that’s coming up on September 21. Read about Artoberfest and more in the guest post below from Joshua Nowicki.

Shortly after moving to Southwestern Michigan two years ago, I fell in love with the Benton Harbor Arts District.

My first introduction to the Arts District was during one of the Art Hops organized by the New Territory Arts Association (NTAA).  I was amazed at the number of people downtown and by the variety of local businesses, restaurants, and galleries that invited artists to show their work.  The Art Hops, which are free and family-friendly events, are open to everyone; many of the participating organizations provide light refreshments for guests.  The upcoming Art Hop dates are October 18th and December 20th, 2013.

"Icarus" by David Kolka located in Thayer Park (part of the Krasl Art Center Biennial Sculpture Invitational)

One of my favorite places in the Arts District is Water Street GlassWorks, a non-profit, studio, gallery and school which is dedicated to the glass and metal arts.  Visitors are invited to overlook the school’s ‘hot shop’ and watch students’ and artists’ glassblowing and casting.  The perfect complement to the warmth of the GlassWorks is ice-cold gelato from Water Street GellatoWorks.  The GellatoWorks which serves Palazzolo’s gelato and Uncommon Grounds coffee, is an arm of the GlassWorks and provides funding for the organizations’ FiredUp! program and job skills training for the participating students.

While in the Arts District, you will probably notice a number of orange metal sculptures located on various rooftops and walkways. These sculptures were created by Michigan based artist, John Suave, and are part of the ‘I Am The Greatest Project,’ a program of Anna Russo Sieber Gallery.  The gallery features exhibits of both local and national arts, along with art, language and cultural classes, and outreach programs.

The artist studios at 210 Water Street offer a great opportunity to meet local artists working in their studios. 3 Pillars Gallery, an intermittent urban gallery, offers various creative events. The Arts District is also the location of Richard Hunt Studio Center which is one of the galleries/studios of internationally acclaimed sculptor, Richard Hunt.  Moreover, it is home to The Citadel Dance & Music Center along with The Oak Room at the Citadel; both are performing arts organizations.  Further, the Arts District has recently expanded with the addition of the Wall Street Studios just across Main Street.

There are a variety of unique dining options in the Arts District including The Phoenix, Larks Bar-B-Que, Charlie’s Piggin’ N’ Grinnin’, The Library Pub & Eatery, and The Ideal Place.  Also nearby are Cafe Mosaic and Bread + Bar by Bit of Swiss.  If you love Michigan beer, The Livery offers a tasty selection of ‘hand-forged microbrews’.  The Livery is also the place to go for concerts and entertainment including Open Stage sponsored by the NTAA which features regional musicians, poets, and storytellers on the first Monday of every month.

Interior of a loft in the Benton Harbor Arts District

Earlier this year, the NTAA hosted a Loft Hop which gave participants an exclusive look at the unique living spaces in downtown Benton Harbor. The level of comfort and luxury that the historic downtown buildings provide to their residents is amazing.  In fact, downtown living is so poplar that there is a wait list for available spaces.

If you are in Southwest Michigan on September 21, you will not want to miss Artoberfest, an Oktoberfest-style celebration of art, culture, music, and food. This year, it features two headliner bands: The True Falsettos and Deacon Blues.  Artoberfest will feature Michigan microbrews from Arcadia, Bells, Greenbush, The Livery, Shorts, and Tapistry.

Be sure to visit the Arts District as part of your next trip to Southwestern Michigan.

To learn more about the Benton Harbor Arts District, Art Hops & Artoberfest, visit www.newterritoryarts.org.

Joshua Nowicki is a St. Joseph, Michigan based photographer and a member of the New Territory Arts Association board of directors.  

Meet the Artists

On a recent trip to St. Joseph, Kristin Bienert, editor of Michigan Travel Ideas, spent time touring the Box Factory for the Arts, a venue for local artists.

Built in 1907, this one-time box factory made fancy boxes until 1989 for companies like Marshall Fields. Now restored, the first floor and lower level house artists’ studios and galleries, plus a small gift shop. Owned by the Berrien Arts Guild, the venue sponsors writers’ workshops, music and theater performances, and other special events.

After wandering through the front and back galleries and gift shop on the first floor, plan to devote your time meeting the artists. Almost three-dozen artists rent space by the month. On any given day, visitors can find a handful of artists working in their studios. Note: All keep their hours posted outside their studio doors.

Artist Lynne Tan

The artwork is as diverse as the artists, including Lynne Tan from Singapore. Lynne’s clay pieces are simple yet stunning. She appreciates being able to work when the mood strikes—artists have 24/7 access. “This is my space, and I can come here anytime,” Lynne says. She also plans to show her installation piece Offering in Celebration of Mostly Grey at Grand Rapids ArtPrize, September 19–October 7.

Other artists include:

  • Besides showing her art, which has an Oriental flare, Elaine Harju reserves wall space for her photographer husband’s work.
  • A rainbow of colored pencils fills Susan Schirmer’s desk. She illustrates books and like most artists at the Box Factory, offers private lessons.

    Artist Susan Schirmer

  • Light streams in Jan Sonneman’s studio space, which she’s rented since 1997. Jan creates jewelry and collages from torn pieces of magazines and newspapers.
  • Bob William’s artwork looks like photography, but upon close examination, you’ll see the medium is paint.
  • A graphic designer by trade, Robin Maxon works in watercolor and among other things, designs wine bottle labels for Karma Vista Vineyard, an area winery.
  • Find Vicki Cook during the week (Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) in her studio on the lower level. She creates jewelry from metals such as sterling, gold and copper.
  • Fiber artist Gwen Jones works on a loom set up in the lower level hallway.
  • Fractual artist, James O’Haver, uses mathematical formulas to create complex works of art. Just like looking at clouds, everyone sees something different in his work. Depending on the piece, I see an extremely intricate snowflake, vibrant spiral and bursting bubbles.

Box Factory for the Arts is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Sunday (1 to 4 p.m.).

Feeling inspired by her visit to the Box, Kristin Bienert went home and dug out her calligraphy materials with the goal of practicing her letter writing on a weekly basis.