Pure Michigan September 2015 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 Detroit Jazz 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.

September 1 – 5

Michigan Chicken Wing Festival
September 5 – 6
This festival will feature a wing eating & tasting contest, V.I.P. Beer & Wine Tent, Kids Zone with lots of activities, and a variety of bands–Pop, Soft Rock, Blue, R&b, Gospel, Hip-Hop, and Jazz. Free admission.

Evart Car Cruise & Show
September 4 – 5
Want to go places? Want to see cars in action? Friday’s cruise is the place to be! The Car Show is open and cars are not roped off. This allows spectators the opportunity to get close to the car and to interact with the owner. Food and beverages are available. Cruise and Car Show free to spectators.

Marquette Area Blues Fest
September 4 – 6
The 12th annual Marquette Area Blues Fest will be held over Labor Day weekend 2015 at the beautiful Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette. The fest features three days of world class blues music, along with workshops, a dance floor, vendors, and a wide array of food and beverage choices! The Friday show is a free event, while the Saturday/Sunday shows are ticketed events.

Jazz Festival. Photo Courtesy of Jason Vaughn.

Jazz Festival. Photo Courtesy of Jason Vaughn.

Detroit Jazz Festival
September 4 – 7
Come and enjoy the 35th annual Detroit Jazz Festival which occupies two million square feet of downtown Detroit from Hart Plaza on the riverfront, three blocks north to beautiful Campus Martius Park. Entertainment will be placed on stages throughout the space.

Arts, Beats & Eats
September 4 – 7
The festival offers more than 200 performances on nine stages, a highly ranked Juried Fine Arts Show, and local restaurants with some of the finest cuisine in Metro-Detroit. Each year international, regional and local attractions at the festival make the City of Royal Oak the premier destination for Labor Day weekend.

September 6 – 12

Antiques on the Bluff
September 6
Antiques on the Bluff is held along tree lined Lake Bluff Park, overlooking Lake Michigan. This antique show is a premier event for St. Joseph and antiquers around Southwest Michigan! Located in Lake Bluff Park the show runs from 10a.m. to 5 p.m. the first Sunday of each month. Rain or shine event.


Photo Courtesy of David Kunze.

Photo Courtesy of David Kunze.

Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk
September 7
Join thousands of walkers and make the five mile trek across the Mighty Mackinac Bridge! Walkers can begin walking at 7 a.m. and can start up until 11 a.m. 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 2:30 p.m. 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.

Downtown Art Walk
September 11
The Downtown Art Walk is a local favorite and will showcase art exhibits throughout Downtown Traverse City. The public is invited to enjoy an evening of art, refreshments, food, and music on a self-guided tour throughout Downtown Traverse City. Walking maps are available at each participating location and the Downtown Traverse City office.

Apple & BBQ Cook-Off Festival
September 11 – 12
Silver Lake Sand Dunes Apple & BBQ Cook-Off Festival highlights the Kansas City BBQ State of Michigan Championship Cook-Off and delicious apples of all varieties. Festival also includes Amateur BBQ Competition, apple pie contest, arts & crafts show, Apple A Day 5K Fun Run/Walk, classic vehicle & dune buggy show, kid’s activities, live music, delicious food and much more.

Frankenmuth Auto Fest 2015
September 11 – 13
Over 2500 classic cars, street rods, and muscle cars are featured. Come and enjoy a weekend of fun and entertainment for all ages. Friday night Big Block Party on Main Street from 5 – 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday view the classic cars in Heritage Park. Oldies fest dance in the Harvey Kern Pavilion on Saturday from 7-midnight.

September 13 -19


Photo courtesy of Jennie Miller

Photo courtesy of Jennie Miller

Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo
September 13
Join thousands of runners and walkers as they lace up their running shoes for the annual Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo on Sunday, September 13, 2015! The event includes 5K and 10K runs, the Too Wild! Walkers follow a course past award-winning animal habitats as they stroll through Zoo grounds.

Paddle Antrim Festival
September 18 – 19
This is a non-competitive two-day sea kayak event. The Paddle Antrim Festival includes a two-day kayak paddle through Northern Michigan’ Chain of Lakes. The first day begins in Ellsworth continuing through Central Lake to Bellaire, meandering through numerous small lakes. The second day will continue from Bellaire, ending in Elk Rapids, passing through Torch Lake, Michigan’s longest inland lake. This 40+ mile paddle event highlights the wonderful natural resources-based activities available in Northern Michigan. Along the route, local communities including Ellsworth, Central Lake, Bellaire, and Elk Rapids will host other events, illustrating what wonderful opportunities the communities have to offer.

Harbor Springs Cycling Classic
September 18 – 20
This classic ride is a favorite of cyclists from all over the state. The semiannual ride, held in spring and fall, has three distance routes to choose from, great refreshment stops, and a great lunch at the finish. Cycle 20-, 45-, or 60-miles. Each route includes one of Michigan’s most scenic roadways known as the “Tunnel of Trees.”

Big Truck Show & Parade of Lights
September 18 – 20
Big Rigs and Detroit’s “Mobsteel” roll into St. Ignace for the 20th Anniversary of the Annual Richard Crane Memorial Truck Show. St. Ignace will become the epicenter for all things truck related all weekend long. Take a closer look at these big rigs, customized cabs, one-of-a-kind paint jobs and neon lighting. This and more surprises are in store for those who like their auto show ramped up and super-sized. New this year — Joining the big rigs in St. Ignace will be the team from Mobsteel – a custom car company that specializes in turning Detroit’s finest vintage cars into modern day street machines. Mobsteel is currently featured on their own Sunday night television series airing on NBCSN sports network. Don’t miss the parade of sheer horsepower on display across the Mackinac Bridge on Sept. 19, 2015, when the 20th Annual Richard Crane Memorial Big Rig Show hosts a twilight convoy of more than 120 semi-trucks. This is a family friendly event. Come out and meet Miss NAST 2015, Erika Lynn, and have your picture taken with her.

Bangor Apple Festival
September 19
Bangor, Michigan, 37th Annual Apple Festival is a family-friendly event including a farmers market, kids’ activities, classic car show, various vendors, live entertainment, and so much more!

Detroit Rockin Hot Fest
September 19
The Detroit Rockin’ Hot Fest will be an all day concert with some of Michigan’s hottest bands, cook off, pin up girl contest, and expo to honor veterans and their families. All ages are welcome at this event. There will be a kid’s area, photo booth, and other activities to keep everyone entertained all day into the night.

September 20 -26

ArtPrize 2015
September 23 – October 11
ArtPrize is an international and the world’s largest art competition open to any artist and decided by public vote. Take 19 days to explore the work of thousands of artists exhibiting at venues throughout downtown Grand Rapids and vote for the entries you think should win.

Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

Photo Courtesy of Michigan Farmers Market Association.

Farmers Market at the Capitol
September 24
Experience this one of a kind event held on the East Lawn of the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing, Michigan. The Michigan Farmers Market Association is celebrating the 10th anniversary of hosting Farmers Markets at the Capitol. The event features over 60 unique vendors from across the state who sell Michigan-grown and produced products. Vendors sell everything from fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, baked goods, and prepared foods. Shoppers can enjoy entertainment such as music and dancing, physical activities and cooking demos.

Birmingham House Tour
September 24
Event takes place on Thursday, September 24 and features seven unique homes ranging in style from traditional to contemporary. The tour hours are 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 the day of the show. Lunch will be served at The Community House from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ($55 in advance/$60 day of- includes lunch and tour).

Alpena Book Festival
September 26
Downtown Alpena will come alive with book lovers of all ages. The first ever Alpena Book Festival will delight readers and benefit READ, the library’s adult literacy program. More than 20 authors are slated to attend the Festival, and they will join readers in celebrating, discussing, and promoting books and reading. Children’s events will be hosted by the library in the morning and events for young adult readers will take place in the afternoon. There are lots of freebies and prizes, some for the clever and others for those who are just plain lucky.

Great Lakes Bat Festival
September 26
Come celebrate the unique role that bats play throughout Michigan! Discover why bats are important to the Great Lakes and learn how they keep us healthy. Explore techniques you can use in your own backyard to help the environment and bats at the same time. You will look at bats in a way like never before!

September 27 – 30

Harvest Fest
September 27
Join us at Castle Farms as we celebrate nature’s bounty and autumn’s glory at our annual Harvest Festival! Visit the Mini Farmer’s Market’, with vendors exhibiting and selling homemade items, including maple syrup and caramel popcorn. Take home a snapshot from the photo booth!

Armed Forces Open Disc Golf Tournament
September 27
Disc golf tournament hosted by Black Ace Disc Golf, focused on active, reserve and veteran military personnel.


26th Annual Fall Detroit Camper & RV Show
September 30-October 4
If experiencing a Pure Michigan fall adventure in the comfort of your own RV sounds awesome, attending the26th Annual Fall Detroit Camper and RV Show at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, September 30-October 4, should definitely be your first stop. With multiple Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) RV dealers and campgrounds represented at the show, attendees can peruse hundreds of new 2016 makes and models and take advantage of big savings on 2015 models.

Which events do you plan to check out in September? Leave your favorite events in September below in the comments!

Six Things You Didn’t Know about Hydroplane Racing in Detroit

Summertime in Pure Michigan is unlike anything else. Today, we take a look at the popular UAW-GM Spirit of Detroit HydroFest, taking place on the Detroit River August 22 and 23. With three classes of boats—Unlimited and Grand Prix hydroplanes and Formula 2 tunnel boats—the event promises two days of action-packed racing on the river. Here are six things you didn’t know about the annual race, as outlined by Mark Weber, president of Detroit Riverfront Events, Inc.

Thanks to the sponsorship by UAW-GM, all general admission parks are free and open to the public; people are encouraged to bring picnic baskets, chairs and blankets to enjoy the races in this relaxed atmosphere. 

Photo Courtesy of Detroit Riverfront Events Inc.

Photo Courtesy of Detroit Riverfront Events Inc.

1. A long-standing tradition: Since 1904, the Gold Cup has run annually with the exception of five years.  In 1928 and 1960 the races could not be completed due to inclement weather; because of gas rationing during World War II, the races were cancelled from 1942 – 1944.

2. The Roostertail Turn: You might be familiar with the Roostertail restaurant in Detroit, but do you know the meaning behind its name? The restaurant, owned by the iconic boat-racing Schoenith family, sits at the northeast end of the racecourse. The spray created by the boats, as they enter the turn at  200 MPH, looks reminiscent of a rooster’s tail.  The race’s grandstands—located just steps from the Roostertail—offer a front-row view of the tightest turn on the H1 Unlimited circuit.

3. Belle Isle Bridge Turn: The Detroit River holds not one, but two titles when it comes to turns.  Opposite the Roostertail turn, the southwest end of the course, alongside the MacArthur Bridge (more commonly known as the Belle Isle Bridge), features the biggest turn on the H1 Unlimited circuit.

Photo Courtesy of Detroit Riverfront Events Inc.

Photo Courtesy of Detroit Riverfront Events Inc.

4. Most Gold Cup wins: With his name appearing on the APBA Gold Cup a staggering 11 times, Chip Hanauer holds the honor of winning the coveted trophy the most times; Hanauer secured his first Gold Cup win in 1982, while driving for Atlas Van Lines, and his most recent win in 1999, while driving the ‘Miss Pico’. Hanauer won three of his Gold Cup titles while driving the legendary ‘Miss Budweiser’.

5. Serious horsepower to behold: All but one of this year’s H1 Unlimited hydroplanes are powered by a single Lycoming T-55 L-7 turbine engine that once powered the US Military’s Chinook helicopters from as far back as the Vietnam War. These turbine engines are capable of outputs of around 3000 horsepower and are powered by Jet-A (kerosene) fuel. The one exception is the U-3 Go3 Racing, which joins the H1 Unlimited lineup after a four-year absence. The Indiana-based U-3 is the only piston-powered boat in the fleet, powered by a dual turbocharged Allison V-12. Listen for this boat’s distinctive roar as it rips around the river.

6. 100 years of hydroplane history: 2016 will mark the 100th anniversary of the inaugural APBA Gold Cup race on the Detroit River.  Bernard Smith, driver of the ‘Miss Minneapolis’, won the right to have his named etched on the Gold Cup in 1916; only time will tell who will earn the honor next summer.

WeberMarkAbout the author: Mark Weber is the president of Detroit Riverfront Events, Inc., the organizing body for the UAW-GM Spirit of Detroit HydroFest.  In addition to organizing races, Weber also has competed in them; his hydroplane racing accomplishments include winning fourteen National Hydroplane Driving Championships. In 1997, Weber piloted ‘Miss Budweiser’ to the Unlimited Hydroplane High Point National Championship.  He was inducted into the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.



Discover Five Hidden Gems of Michigan’s Auto Heritage

Explore the road less traveled when it comes to Michigan’s auto culture according to Austen Smith, communications coordinator for the MotorCities National Heritage Area Partnership.

Gear heads across the country are familiar with Michigan’s most historically significant sites when it comes to auto culture, but did you know that there is a remarkable auto-related experience awaiting you in nearly every corner of the Great Lakes state? For families seeking a day trip with a reasonable drive and budget, here are five hidden gems perfect for the diehard auto enthusiast divided by region.

Central/North region:

R.E. Olds Transportation Museum
240 Museum Drive
Lansing, Michigan 48933
(517) 372-0529

Classic Oldsmobiles at the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum. Photo courtesy of Austen Smith.

Classic Oldsmobiles at the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum. Photo courtesy of Austen Smith.

Explore this fascinating museum examining the life and career of Ransom Eli Olds who created a motor empire in Oldsmobile and later the REO Motor Car Company. This quaint site is nestled away near the campus of Michigan State University and showcases some of the state’s most prized pieces of auto history such as one of the first three Oldsmobile autos ever made and the very last Oldsmobile car to be produced in Lansing.

Alfred P. Sloan Museum
1221 E. Kearsley Street
Flint, Michigan 48503
(810) 237-3450

Sloan Museum in Flint, Mich. Photo courtesy of the Sloan Longway Museum.

Sloan Museum in Flint, Mich. Photo courtesy of the Sloan Longway Museum.

Alfred P. Sloan was a maverick of the burgeoning days of Michigan’s auto industry having been named President and CEO of General Motors in 1923. Sloan helped to establish the legacy of General Motors within the Flint community. View classic GM and Buick muscle at the Sloan Museum and Buick Gallery, and then stay for a show at the Longway Planetarium – all sites located on the Flint Cultural Center campus.

West region:

Gilmore Car Museum
6865 W Hickory Road
Hickory Corners, MI 49060
(269) 671-5089

Shell Station at the Gilmore Car Museum. Photo courtesy of the Gilmore Car Museum.

Shell Station at the Gilmore Car Museum. Photo courtesy of the Gilmore Car Museum.

Visit the 90-acre, historic campus of the Gilmore Car Museum, located in bucolic Hickory Corners just 17 miles northeast of Kalamazoo, to experience a wealth of automotive history and Americana. Gilmore features nearly 200 historic autos and two dozen beautifully restored buildings including a 1930s service station, historic barns, a functioning 1941 diner and car dealerships from a bygone era according to the website. The Gilmore Car Museum is hailed as one of the finest auto experiences in the nation showcasing rare exhibits such as an 1899 Locomobile and the elusive Tucker ’48.


Walker Tavern Historic Site
13220 M-50
Brooklyn, MI 49230

Grounds of the Walker Tavern in Irish Hills. Photo courtesy of the Walker Tavern Historical Site.

Grounds of the Walker Tavern in Irish Hills. Photo courtesy of the Walker Tavern Historical Site.

Experience a genuine pioneer stagecoach stop at the Walker Tavern located in Michigan’s Irish Hills area. The site served as a tourist destination during the early years of automotive travel and today is a 66-acre State Historic Park. Visitors can tour the restored tavern, hear stories about the experiences of travelers along the old Chicago Road and view exhibits about historical vehicles, road building and tourism in the Irish Hills.


The Automotive Hall of Fame
21400 Oakwood Boulevard
Dearborn, MI 48124
(313) 240-4000

The Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Mich. Photo courtesy of the Automotive Hall of Fame.

The Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Mich. Photo courtesy of the Automotive Hall of Fame.

Much of the innovation that “Put the World on Wheels,” came directly from the Detroit and Dearborn communities thus cementing the legacy of the Motor City. So it is appropriate that the Automotive Hall of Fame, a museum dedicated to those pioneers and innovators, is located in historic Dearborn next to the campus of the Henry Ford. Museum exhibits highlight many of the auto industry’s celebrated entrepreneurs, visionaries and innovators. Be inspired by a 65- foot ceiling to floor mural and displays that showcase each of the members of the Automotive Hall of Fame.

In addition, check out these automotive-inspired events coming up that you don’t want to miss in August. Visit our monthly events round-up for more ideas, or for a complete listing view our Events Calendar.

  1. Back to the Bricks Cruise & Car Show - August 11-15, 2015 in Flint. Come visit Flint and Genesee and be part of one of the biggest car events featuring a rolling cruise, kick-off party, live entertainment, automotive displays, vendors, food, antique fire trucks and dragster exhibits, contests and a Saturday car show that will amaze all with over 30,000 participants and over 300,000 spectators.
  2. Corvettes on Woodward - August 12, 2015 in Bloomfield Hills. This gathering of Corvettes from around the country has grown and offers a special exhibit each generation.
  3. Harbor Springs Car Festival – August 13, 2015 in Harbor Springs.
  4. Woodward Dream Cruise – August 15, 2015 in Detroit. With more than 40,000 muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special interest vehicles on display, the Motor City definitely shifts into cruise mode for the Woodward Dream Cruise, an all-star display of car culture.
  5. Pure Michigan 400 – August 16 at Michigan International Speedway. Last chance before summer ends to watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as it returns to Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR’s fastest racetrack.
  6. Old US 27 Motor Tour - August 18-19, 2015 in Coldwater. Cruises of Coldwater Country are mapped out for this fun event. Goody bags, door prizes and lots of fun await you in Coldwater.
  7. Tecumseh’s Classic Car and Bike Show – August 20, 2015 in Tecumseh.
  8. Corvette Crossroads Auto Show - August 21-22, 2015 in Mackinac City. Hundreds of Corvettes will be on display with vendors, music, awards and more. 
  9. UAW-GM Spirit of Detroit HydroFest - August 22-23, 2015 in Detroit. While not automotive, this fun hydroplane race is sponsored by UAW-GM. The action-packed 2015 UAW-GM Spirit of Detroit HydroFest marks the 99th running of the hydroplanes on the Detroit River.
  10. Blanchard Steam and Gas Engine Show – August 28-30 in Blanchard. Enjoy tractor pulls, steam engine exhibits, live music, a flea market and more!
  11. Fire Truck Muster - August 29, 2015 in Ypsilanti. A diverse collection of fire trucks will range in era from the 1920′s through the late 1970′s.


Austen Smith press photoAbout the author: Austen Smith is the Communications Coordinator for the MotorCities National Heritage Area, a non-profit group affiliated with the National Park Service that promotes and preserves auto heritage. To learn more about MotorCities and its mission, visit the website at motorcities.org.