The Buy Michigan Now Festival Aims to Revitalize the Local Economy

The Buy Michigan Now Festival, coming up August 3-5 in Northville, will showcase various Michigan entertainers, businesses, products and educational opportunities with the goal of revitalizing the local economy.

Today, Lisa Diggs, founder of the Buy Michigan Now campaign, tells us what to expect at this family-friendly Michigan festival.

Q: For those who aren’t familiar with the Buy Michigan Now Festival, can you provide a brief overview of the event?

A: The festival was created to help celebrate Buy Michigan Week, and to draw attentionto Michigan-based businesses and products made here in the Great Lakes State.  There’s a wide range of products from jewelry to cabinetry and soaps to salsa.  Every vendor and sponsor must be Michigan-based in order to participate.  We hold the event in downtown Northville, a quaint suburb or Detroit that has almost entirely locally owned businesses rather than national chains.  We believe that it will be businesses like these, each hiring one or two more people, that will truly help Michigan to rebound economically, so I guess you can call it a “fest with a cause.”  Collectively supporting local businesses will help us revitalize the state, and doing it in a festival environment makes it tons of fun for the whole family. 

Q: What makes this a fun festival for Michiganders?

A: Many of the street merchants and vendors will be selling products made in Michigan.  The Northville merchants are hosting a sidewalk sale so there are greatbargains.  Aside from that, live music from a collection of talented Michiganders will fill the air.  There is a video gaming unit to play X-Box 360 games, and a Kids Zone featuring magic, mascots, games, face-painting, and artists from the Detroit Institute of Arts helping kids and adults create original projects that they can keep.

Q: What activities or displays are most popular?

A: People tend to flock to try food products like Kelly’s Karamels, Great Lakes Potato Chips, and jerky from J.Deans Smoke House.  The funky sound of Mainstreet Soul on Saturday night is a big draw, as is the magic of Chris Clark.  There’s always something fun happening in the Kids Zone, and Northville’s First Friday Experience is an added treat.  Each month on the first Friday local businesses create unique ways to entertain guests with food and art, and we are lucky enough to have our festival fall on a First Friday.

Q: Is there anything new returning attendees can expect this year?

A: The Northville Chamber of Commerce is scheduled to add what will soon be one of our hottest attractions, the Taste of Michigan beer tent.  Play 1st Mobile Gaming will be on hand so guests can challenge each other with a variety of family-friendly X-Box 360 games.  Northville is also a host city for the DIA’s Inside|Out outdoor art exhibition.  Now in its third year, the program brings reproductions of masterpieces from the DIA’s collection to the streets and parks of the metro area.  Six works of art have been installed around the downtown Northville area for people to explore and enjoy.   

Q: Outside of the festival, where are some hot spots in Northville attendees should check out?

A: The streets are lined with Victorian era homes, making a stroll or drive through the neighborhood a must do, and you can step even further back in time with a visit to nearby Mill Race Historical Village.  The town is home to fantastic galleries and boutiques like State of MInd, Starring the Gallery, Art House, Rock on Main, and Van Dam’s Boutique.  There are also unique specialty shops like Stampeddler Plus and Celebrity Pets.  Next Chapter Bookstore & Bistro was the setting for Scream 4 starring Courtney Cox, David Arquette, and Neve Campbell.  There are a host of restaurants to choose from like iconic Poole’s Tavern for a casual dining experience or Table 5 for a more upscale night out.  Kids can have fun looking for secret fairy doors around town too.  More than 70 Northville businesses have tiny little doors for use by magical fairies.  It’s fun to see how many your family can spot.

Q: Where can people go for more information on the Buy Michigan Now Festival?

A: Smartphone users can text BUYMINOW to 57780 to be entered to win cool prizes from Michigan-based business and to gain access to a mobile application with all the latest festival details. Current details may also be found online at www.BuyMichiganNowFest.com.

Lisa Diggs is the owner of The Catalyst Company, an 11-year old performance consulting business that specializes in helping organizations become more productive and profitable.  In fall of 2007, Lisa founded the Buy Michigan Now campaign to ignite the revitalization of Michigan’s economy.  The focus of this advocacy program is to create awareness of the importance of supporting Michigan-based businesses and speaking positively about what our home state has to offer. 

The State of Michigan Turns 175

Lisa Diggs is the founder of Buy Michigan Now. On our blog today, she shares some thoughts about Michigan marking its 175th birthday. Plus, check out the bottom of this post for updates and pictures throughout the day using Storify.

One needs only to see the natural outline of our state from space, stare out from the shoreline of a Great Lake, or walk amidst the towering trees of a northern forest to get a sense that the land known as Michigan has been here for a very, very long time.  In fact Petoskey Stones are fossilized coral, believed to have existed 350 million years ago.  Yet, as a state, Michigan is only 175 years young.

January 26, 2012, marks one hundred and seventy five years since President Andrew Jackson signed a bill officially making Michigan our nation’s 26th state.  What a cause to celebrate!  That’s why the Buy Michigan Now campaign has launched an initiative to get us all talking about and sharing reasons why we love this state.  Whether you live here, or just like to visit, I hope you’ll join the party.

Traditional media has not always been kind to our state and its cities.  Now we have an opportunity to combine our voices and tell our own story.  Using social media, like Facebook and Twitter, we can change the national conversation about Michigan with every piece of good news, stunning picture, and optimistic status update we post.

Dine in local restaurants and shop in unique stores and brag about your experience.  Add pictures of your favorite sights, post a video about why you love the state, or declare your joy in a status update.

If you’re a Twitter user create your own “Tweets” or look for other people’s messages about Michigan that inspire you and “Retweet” them so they reach more people.  With each message, be sure to use the hashtag #Mich175 so that we may all follow along.

Live events are happening too.  Proud Michigan companies like Tubby’s Sub Shops, Hiller’s Markets, Cherry Republic, and Black Star Farms are all doing something special this week, as are Dow Gardens, the Michigan Historical Center and the Detroit Institute of Arts.  Visit Buy Michigan Now for details on their events, and many more.

Create your own unique tribute, today or any day.  Buy all Michigan-made products and cook a special meal or bake a birthday cake.  Toast with a locally-produced wine, beer, or spirit.  Visit a museum.  Talk with the children in your life about our state’s traditions and future.   Enjoy a stroll in one of our glorious parks.  Ski, skate, or snowmobile.  Take advantage of one of the four wondrous seasons we are fortunate enough to experience by living here.

Most importantly, become an ambassador for Michigan, not just this week, but all year long.  Together, with each story we tell and image we share, we have an opportunity to sculpt the world’s view of our astonishing state.  Happy birthday to us all!