Ten Must-See Festivals in Ann Arbor this Summer

Each June and July, Ann Arbor Summer Festival transforms Ann Arbor into a lively arts destination with 140+ events to explore Tuesday through Sunday nights. Guest Blogger Amy Nesbitt, the Executive and Artistic Director of the non-profit Ann Arbor Summer Festival put together a list of festivals you won’t want to miss.

In addition to an exciting line-up of bands, attendees can discover kids hands-on activities, movies under the stars, wellness classes, local food vendors, craft beer, and much more. With ninety percent of events admission-free, and many performances highlighting some of Michigan’s best talent, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival is the perfect summertime destination.

With the festival opening on June 12 and running through July 5, we asked A2SF’s Director, Amy Nesbitt, “What are your top ten picks for must-see events at the 2015 festival?” Below she shares her top ten and also encourages visitors to learn more at A2SF.org and download the free festival app to plan a personalized festival experience.

Photo Credit to Myra Klarman

Photo Credit to Myra Klarman

Sunday, June 14, 7 p.m., KidsRock: The Trummytones

Sundays emphasize family programming. This is a ska/reggae kids band from Brooklyn led by trombonist Vinny Nobile of the iconic 90’s ska band Bim Skala Bim.

Tuesday, June 16, 6 p.m., Cirque Mechanics: The Gantry Bike

We’re known for large, outdoor spectacles. Dangling from the 22-ft.-high, pedal-powered Gantry Bike will be 6 acrobats, contortionists, trapeze artists, and tightrope walkers.

Photo Courtesy of Ann Arbor CVB

Photo Courtesy of Armand Thomas Photography and Cirque Mechanics

Thursday, June 18, 5 PM, Retreat: Ninja Training

All ages can practice their ninja skills when Quest Martial Arts leads a free introductory class on Ninjutsu.

Friday, June 19, 5 p.m., KidZone: Learn to Master the Chinese Yoyo

A weekend of Asian cultural events includes kids learning the basics of Chinese Yoyo from The U-M Revolution Chinese Yoyo Team.

Saturday, June 20, 8 p.m., The Golden Dragon Acrobats

You’ll see stunning feats and beautiful costuming and staging from this premiere troupe for Chinese acrobatics. We are offering 50%-off kids tickets with the purchase of an adult ticket for both shows, while supplies last.

Saturday, June 20, 5 p.m., MarchFourth!

Join an unforgettable parade led by 24 costumed drummers, horn players, high stepping stilt acrobats, and dazzling dancers from Portland, OR. MarchFourth! headlines festivals around the world and often wins the audience award for best act — don’t miss them!

Photo Courtesy of Ann Arbor CVB

Photo Courtesy of Ann Arbor CVB

Tuesday, June 23 – 10 p.m., Ghostbusters

Outdoor Cinema screens classics alongside recent releases, and it’s always fun to be in a crowd among young people who’ve never seen a movie like Ghostbusters. Grab some popcorn and spread out a blanket for this classic!

Wednesday, June 24, 5 p.m., The Magmanus Show

The Swedish circus duo Magmanus will be doing a hilarious and highly skilled, free street performance. The soundtrack is even delightfully silly: Stevie Wonder, Prince, The BeeGees…

Tuesday, June 23, 8:00 p.m., Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience

Simien is a not-to-miss Grammy-winning legend of Zydeco. It’s going to be a huge dance party!

Sunday, July 5, 5 p.m., The United States Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus

A grandiose band and choral concert will cap off an amazing patriotic weekend and four weeks of fun festival activities. It’s the best part of summer in Ann Arbor!

9ZQbnrWGR7sd87ndoKYa0VJKB4lehnmixz00jv6nGdoAmy Nesbitt is the Executive and Artistic Director of the non-profit Ann Arbor Summer Festival. Now in its 32nd season, the festival attracts a diverse audience of 80,000 people and continues to grow as an internationally recognized arts celebration. Click here to learn more.

Thirteen Ways to Celebrate Michigan Wine this Summer

Do you love to explore all of the wineries Michigan has to offer? Guest Blogger Dianna Stampfler, president of Promote Michigan shares a handful of wine festivals you don’t want to miss.

Between Michigan Wine Month in April and the fall harvest season, there are countless opportunities to sample award-wining locally-produced wines. There’s no better way to savor these vinos than on the beach, next to the Great Lakes waters or under towering canopies of trees during the peak of summer.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

The Leland Wine & Food Fest, June 13, is one of Michigan’s original wine celebrations and this year marks its 30th anniversary. Over the years, it’s grown to include more than two dozen northern wineries in the historic Fishtown District, nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Visitors will also find a handful of eateries serving local fare as well as live entertainment. Hours are 1-8pm, with tickets $15 online in advance and $20 at the gate.

Toast the Coast from Weko Beach in Bridgeman, during the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival, June 20. Sample the region’s award-winning wines, paired with local cuisine and live music from 1-10pm, just as the sun sets over the horizon. Tickets are $10 in advance and $20 at the gate.

The historic park-like grounds of The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is the setting for the Traverse City Art & Wine Festival, June 20, featuring wineries of both Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas. Now in its 7th year, this event offers a true taste of northern Michigan with more than 200 local wines, eight restaurants, 40 fine artists and seven musical performances. Hours are 2 – 9 p.m , and tickets are $40 for general admission or $125 for the VIP Lounge area.

Head over to the Lake Huron shoreline for the Sunrise Side Wine & Food Festival, July 18 in Harrisville. Local wineries, craft breweries and food artisans gather at the Harrisville Harbor in this annual gathering hosted by the Harrisville Arts Council. Hours are 12 – 6 p.m. 

The 5th Annual Grapes on the River, July 25, is presented by the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce to recognize local and regional wines and foods. Set along the scenic backdrop of the Manistee River, booths line the Riverwalk and the newly-renovated municipal marina for an afternoon of fun and festivities. Hours are 2-6pm, with tickets priced at $10 which include wine and craft beer sampling, food tastings, art and music.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

End the summer at the Hopps of Fun Beer & Wine Festival, Sept. 11-12, in Mackinaw City. Hosted at the Mackinaw Crossings complex, this unique event features samplings of more than 40 wines from Michigan’s four federally-recognized viticultural regions and dozens of award-winning Michigan craft beers, as well as food and entertainment. Hours are 5 – 10 p.m. on Friday and 1 – 10 p.m. on Saturday, with $5 general admission (and $1 tasting tokens).

Michigan’s largest and longest-running wine festival—The Wine & Harvest Festival—returns to Paw Paw, Sept. 4 – 6 p.m. In addition to all the family-friendly activities, winery tours and tastings are held in tents throughout the festival area—adjacent to St. Julian Winery (the state’s oldest winery).

Other Michigan wine events this summer include:

Art, Beer & Wine Festival
June 6 (12 – 6 p.m.)
Ella Sharp Museum, Jackson

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

Waterfront Wine Festival
June 27 (4 – 7 p.m.)
Harbor Springs

Wine on the Waterfront Festival
July 18 (1 – 7 p.m.)
Suttons Bay

City of Riesling
July 26 – 27
Traverse City

Tawas Uncork’d & Untap’d Wine & Food Festival
August 1 (12 – 6:30 p.m.)
Harbor Park, East Tawas

Northport Wine Festival
August 8 (1 – 7 p.m.)
Northport Harbor

For a list of other Michigan wine events, information and a list of more than 115 wineries, visit MichiganWines.com.

Dianna Stampfler is the president of Promote Michigan and is a dedicated fan of Michigan wine, especially Riesling!

What is your favorite Michigan wine?

Pure Michigan April 2015 Events Roundup

It’s time to get outside and enjoy the fresh air! April in Pure Michigan marks the start of spring festivals and outdoor events. From April Fools’ Day fun to food tastings and theme parties, below is a roundup of some of the many events going on around the state next month. Visit michigan.org for a complete listing of things to do this April.

Become a Guest Blogger and Share Your Pure Michigan Experiences

April 1 – 4

Easter on the Green in Pentwater
April 4, Pentwater
Bring your children and family to meet the Easter Bunny. We’ll have an Easter egg hunt, Easter bonnet parade and contest, Easter Bonnet musical chairs, face painting, and games.

Lakeport State Park – Easter egg Hunt
April 4, Lakeport
Bring the kids for an Easter egg hunt at the campground with different hunting areas for specific age groups. Each age group has the opportunity to find the “golden” eggs with special prizes! This event is open to the public.

Kalamazoo Numismatic Club Spring Coin Show
April 4, Kalamazoo
Buy, sell, and trade coins, paper money, and memorabilia. Young Collector’s program and auction at 11 a.m. Admission is free.

Dog Loves Books – Theatre Performance
April 4, Rochester
Louise Yates’ New York Times Best Seller comes to life this musical about the irresistible Dog who loves books SO much that he decides to open up his own bookstore. This delightful musical celebrates the power of the imagination and the satisfaction that comes when you share books with others.

April 5 – 11

University Orchestra Concert
April 8
Listen to talented student performers from the University of Michigan-Flint Music Department. 7:30 p.m. Located at UM-Flint Theatre and admission is $5.

Art Downtown 2015
April 10, Grand Rapids
This “shop hop” will feature the works of several hundred artists in dozens of galleries, businesses, and studio spaces around downtown Grand Rapids. See artists and musicians exhibiting and performing at a variety of sites; witness art in unexpected locations from U-Haul trailers to the art museum, and parking lots to private studios; come early and stay late with family and friends.


FoolMoon – Ann Arbor

FoolMoon 2015
April 10, Ann Arbor
Foolmoon is a procession of participants carrying hand-made luminary sculptures on Washington Street from dusk to midnight. Also features food, live music, shadow puppets, and film projections.

Shell Eco-marathon America
April 10 -12, Detroit
Hundreds of young engineers will compete in the ultimate energy-efficiency challenge. And visitors of all ages can enjoy a free fun-packed event with interactive attractions. While there, check-out the more than 1,000 high school and university students from around the Americas as they push the limits of efficiency to see which team can drive the farthest distance using the least energy in their student-built vehicles.

Cat Show
April 11, Melvindale
Cat Fancier Association All Breed & Household Pet Cat Show. This show features the exhibition and judging of cats and kittens throughout the day. Admission: $6 adults, $5 seniors, $4 kids, under age 6- no charge.

April 12 – 18

FestiFools 2015
April 12, Ann Arbor
FestiFools brings students and community volunteers together to create unique public art that is free and accessible to everyone. Specifically, we make huge-mongous papier-mâché puppets and march them around downtown Ann Arbor.


MSU Science Festival

MSU Science Festival
April 15 – 18, East Lansing
A FREE multi-day celebration of Science, with more than 150 unique presentations including seminars, demonstrations, tours, open houses, discussion panels and hands on activities for ALL ages. This year’s special guests include Dr. Scott Sampson, of the PBS series Dinosaur Train, and mathemagician, Dr. Arthur Benjamin. On the campus of Michigan State University, and beyond!

Let’s Get Wild
April 16, Bloomfield Hills
We’re taken to “wild” places in Michigan and the Great Lakes and we’ll explore what we are doing to protect them for the future. Admission is free. Get ready to be amazed at the Cranbrook Institute of Science.

Junk to Funk Eco Fashion Show
April 17, Tecumseh
Evening of stylish models, food, fun, fashion, and wine! The red-carpet comes alive with wearable Eco-fashions created by local artists and designers – using unique, recycled, and repurposed materials. Join us for an evening of fun.

Picture Perfect Photography Hunt
April 18, Lansing
Bring your camera or smartphone and find your artistic voice in our museum galleries. Take a selfie and then post it to the Michigan Historical Museum page on Facebook. Usually, flash is not allowed in the exhibits, so look for the special “flash allowed” signs.

Fashion & Tea
April 18, Grand Rapids
Visitors will take a step back into time. Starting from the Civil War Era to the early 20th Century, you will experience up-close authentic fashion. Coming from the education collection, you will have the opportunity to inspect the workmanship of the seamstress who made them. Tea and sweets will be served as you enjoy this visual feast.

April 19 – 25

Art Walk
April 24, Tecumseh
During the evening, downtown merchants will partner with area artists to bring art into downtown businesses. Merchants will offer extended hours and refreshments for the public to enjoy. Local artists will be on hand to greet people and talk about their work, which will range from pottery to photography to jewelry and more.

Freeland Walleye Festival
April 23 – 26, Freeland
A three day festival celebrating all things walleye, including fireworks, a fish fry, the Walleye parade, walleye tournament, a Texas Hold’Em tournament, car show, 5k/10k race, teen dance and more.


Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival

Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival
April 23 -26. Shepherd
The Village of Shepherd invites you to a great family weekend with parades, classic car display, carnival, tractor and horse pulls, bingo, arts & crafts and of course, scrumptious pancake meals all weekend long.

Bringin’ Back the 80’s
April 24 – 25, Frankenmuth
Bring back hair teasing memories with music, trends and events from the 80s. Don’t sit back in your pegged pants and play Atari–come on down and have a great time. Admission is $10.

Zehnder’s Ragtime Festival
April 22 – 25, Frankenmuth
Zehnder’s has been host to ragtime performers from around the United States and Canada for over 20 years. Come and enjoy ragtime music performed by our featured pianist, Bob Milne and other world renowned musicians.

April 26 – 30

MI Earth Day Fest
April 24 – 26, Rochester
Come visit one of the planet’s largest Earth Day celebrations on the banks of downtown Rochester’s Municipal City Park and the Paint Creek Trail. Explore more than 100 exhibits, speakers, food vendors, kids’ activities, entertainment and more.

Day Out With Thomas: The Thrill of the Rid Tour
April 25 – 26, The Henry Ford
Little engineers won’t believe their eyes—or their ears! This fun-filled event offers little engineers and their families the opportunity to take a ride with Thomas the Tank Engine. In addition, children will meet Sir Topham Hatt, Controller of the Railway and enjoy a day of Thomas-themed activities including arts & crafts, storytelling and more.


TC Chocolate Festival

Traverse City Chocolate Festival 2015
April 26, Traverse City
A celebration of all things chocolate from the region’s chefs and chocolatiers! Enjoy tastings and samples of local chocolates and confectionery treats, demonstrations and mini-lectures, live music, chocolate-inspired books, art and goods, door prizes and a silent auction for chocolate sculptures.

Local History through Historic Maps
April 26, Traverse City
Come and hear what discoveries were found about historic Frenchtown through the research on 1800s maps.

America’s Got Downtown
April 29, Monroe
The London Daily Telegraph hails the show, a “remarkable, tour de force one-man show.” Luke Kempner creates more than 30 characters in this parody which blends celebrity visitors with well-known characters from Downtown Abbey.

Which April events do you have on your calendar?