6 Ways to Explore the Real Ypsilanti

Ypsilanti has become a vibrant arts hotspot around an ever-growing foodie scene. Their rich history is waiting to be discovered in every historic building and park setting. Interested in learning more? The Ypsilanti Convention and Visitors Bureau shares six new things to discover in Ypsilanti. 

1. Eat the eats Ypsilanti takes pride in fostering the visions and dreams of local restaurant owners. From fine dining to the more casual,  the city has a passion for bringing folks together over a juicy burger, a fresh salad or a special dessert. Our chefs are unassuming, fully committing themselves to the power of a delicious meal.

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

 2. See the parks After indulging at the local restaurants, visit one of the many parks in Ypsilanti to walk off those calories. Riverside Park is a favorite amongst locals as it lies along the banks of the Huron River. Take the three-pointed bridge, called the tridge, from Riverside Park to Frog Island where you’ll find a historic, outdoor amphitheater and a vintage running track. Have a passion for bicycling? The Border-to-Border Trail, which links the entire county from Ford Lake to the city of Dexter.

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

 3. Drink the drinks Beer and coffee are the name of the game in Ypsilanti. Breweries, tap houses and artisanal coffee shops line the streets of this up-and-coming city. It’s not about the light beers or corporate lattes in Ypsilanti. Every sip is considered. Every drink is a craft.

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

 4. Learn the history Ypsilanti’s history is rich, vibrant, and relevant when you consider it is home to four museums a dedicated group of local historians and historical architecture.

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

5. Pick some apples The fall season is the perfect time for Wiard’s Cider Mill and Apple Orchard in Ypsilanti Township. Families can go apple picking, select that perfect pumpkin, enjoy  a hayride and get lost in the corn mazes. The open air and endless activities are best if followed by warm cider and sugar donuts.

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

Photo courtesy of the Ypsilanti CVB

 6. Discover Eastern Michigan University Whether you’re exploring student and faculty galleries, enjoying a production at the campus theatre or taking a stroll through the walkable campus – Eastern Michigan University is home to many exciting activities. Football, basketball and volleyball games are full of team spirit and held in beautiful facilities. Buildings throughout campus create a beautiful juxtaposition of historic and modern architecture.

Make daily discoveries about Ypsilanti by following Ypsi Real on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.You’ll find photos, videos, and blogs about this historic, yet ever-evolving city in Southeast Michigan!

What do you plan to check out in Ypsilanti this autumn?

Ann Arbor Art Center Hosts Pop-X Art Festival

Looking for an artistic event that has something for the whole family? The Ann Arbor Art Center’s inaugural art festival, POP-X, may be perfect for you! Our friends at Visit Ann Arbor share just a  few of the artists that will be at the popular event and innovative installments you can expect to see.

Popping up in the next few weeks is the Ann Arbor Art Center’s inaugural art festival, POP-X.

The 10-day festival, held Oct. 15-24, takes place in Ann Arbor’s Liberty Plaza and has something for everyone. It will feature pop-up picnics with local celebrities, theater and musical performances, the Art for Innovators lecture series and the Cardboard Challenge for kids of all ages.

Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Some of the most noticeable things that will pop up are nine 100-square-foot pavilions designed by Ann Arbor architect Kreg Norgaard. The pavilions will each house a themed art installation created by a single artist or a collaboration of artists. Working within the tight constraints of the space, each individual or group has lived up to the challenge of creating beautiful installations that will surprise and delight you.

Creating an interactive space, artist Kate Robertson’s display features sculptures that will question the way we interpret incomplete information. With small worlds that can be seen through small holes, the piece challenges viewers to actively search each sculpture to see what might be inside.

Photo courtesy of the Visit Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Artist Nick Zagar’s work typically causes sensations of push and pull, fright and delight. His piece will play with those sensations and encourage viewers to be pulled into a fantasy landscape filled with 3-D paintings, various sounds and different smells.

Meant to build a communal space with people of all ages and backgrounds, Ann Arbor’s Joe Levickas is utilizing his dedicated space to create an installation that showcases the table as a gathering place, pulling in both viewers and other festival artists to his “dinner party.”

Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Artist Chazz Miller’s installation piece represents his journeys around the world. The piece projects “inner visions of truth into the world, visions that raise the social and environmental aesthetic and that touch the individual on the deepest psychic and personal level.”

Taking it upon herself to reflect the community she is in, artist Brenda Oelbaum’s pavilion will engage the audience directly by encouraging participants to write down their problems, put them into little velveteen bags and decide what they would like to do with them – physically and mentally letting go.

Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Nick Azzaro’s installation will be reflective of the physical space the pavilion is located in – Liberty Plaza. Dedicated to the lives of the individuals that occupy Liberty Plaza, it features a sculpture of a solider that is surrounded by their words and portraits to represent the struggles people face in their life.

One of the group installations is from the Ann Arbor Women Artists. This piece will feature sculptures revolving around the beauty of nature, creating conversations of climate change and how to help our planet. The other featured artist group is the Girls Group, whose installation will be filled with different pieces from each artist about their conceptions of home and family.

More information about the festival, special events within it and profiles on the artists themselves, go to http://popxannarbor.com/.

Join the Facebook event page for updates. Join the conversation #A2POPX #VisitAnnArbor. Plan your visit at VisitAnnArbor.org.

 Which installations are you looking forward to seeing?

Stretch Your Summer Celebrations Well Into Fall With These 7 Festivals

 

As summer begins to wind down, you might think that it’s time to hang up your dancing shoes. Think again! Festivals in the Great Lakes Bay Region are ample into autumn, too! Lace up your shoes, gather your friends, and go have some fun.  After all, that’s what festivals are for, and opportunities to enjoy yourself can be found all season long.

Blues, Brews & BBQ – (Birch Run) 
August 21-22, 2015

Blues Brews BBQ 1

Bring your appetite (and book your hotel now), because the 4th Annual Blues, Brews & Barbecue is a 2-day, finger-lickin’ Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned competition for the best chicken, ribs, pork and brisket flavors in the nation! Toss in carnival rides, local Michigan beer tasting tents, and live blues artists – and you’ve got some big plans come August 21 and 22, from noon til midnight!

  • Even though the fun doesn’t officially start ’til noon, the public is welcome ahead of time to watch the grillmasters in full swing.  Get there early for the first taste; BBQ teams hand out samples a’plenty. (Oh, and don’t miss the Saturday morning tradition – a shot of Jim Beam at 9:22 a.m.!)
  • Be sure to search down Bavarian Smoke and iBQ’n (the 2013 and 2014 competition winners, respectively) and check out the full list of competitors here.

Frankenmuth Auto Fest – (Frankenmuth)
 September 11-13, 2015

Auto Fest 1

 

Over 2,000 classic cars, street rods and muscle cars roll into Frankenmuth September 11 to 13, marking the start of the 32nd Annual Frankenmuth Auto Fest.  And we promise you won’t want to miss the kickoff —  locals and visitors rave about the Friday Night Big Block Party year after year.

  • Fuel up for long days of drooling over hot rods with daily 8 a.m. pancake breakfasts at Heritage Park Lions Haus (it’s a good chance to chat with fellow car enthusiasts, too!)
  • Catch the free shuttle buses (Saturday, 10 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.)!
  • Snag a 3-day pass; For just $10, it’ll get you access to all the action for all 3 days of festivities

Frankenmuth Oktoberfest – (Frankenmuth)
 September 17-20, 2015

Oktoberfest 1 - Copy

Prepare for all-things-authentically German at the 26th Annual Frankenmuth Oktoberfest, September 17 – 20: Mugs and steins of authentic German Hofbräu beer; brats with kraut; live music by the Schuhplatters and many more; even traditional dancing on the wooden floor in the Harvey Kern Pavilion! Admission is $10 Thursday – Saturday, free on Sunday.

Michigan Antique & Collectibles Festival – (Midland)
 September 19-20, 2015

Does 80 acres and 1,000 antique dealers sound too good to be true? Then prepare to pinch yourself September 19-20 in Midland at the Michigan Antique & Collectibles Festival, named one of the Top 5 Favorite Summer Flea Markets by Kovels.com! Festival hours are 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $6 per person. Parking is free!

  • Beat the crowds from 11am-5pm on Saturday (Early Bird Day).  Admission is $15, but the pass will last you all weekend.
  • Be sure to fuel up at the Taste of Michigan so you can sample some of the best local flavors, then swing by the Shabby Experience & Industrial Way to find even more on-trend, timeless treasures

Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Fest – (Bay City)
 September 24-27, 2015

This September 24-27, you’ll not only get a sneak-peek at first-time showings of independent films alongside live, original music performances, but you’ll also get to connect with the filmmakers and musicians themselves! It all comes together during the low-key, 4-day grassroots indie celebration known as Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival. Sample artisan foods, visit historic theatres and other venues dripping with architectural eye candy, and enjoy a casual dip into the Bay City arts scene.

  • With four days and dozens of venues, showings, and performances throughout Bay City, you’re probably wondering where to go and when.  Research who’s playing and what’s showing, and base your routes around your favorite must-see musicians and films.
  • Another option is to base your Hell’s Half Mile experience around the hosted receptions — they’re a great way to get in extra time with the filmmakers and artists.

Northwood International Auto Show – (Midland)
 October 2-4, 2015

Northwood IAS 1

View more than 500 vehicles on display from over 65 manufacturers at the Northwood University International Auto Show in Midland, October 2 – 4! The student-run event is the largest outdoor new car show on the entire continent, so it’s no wonder that over 60,000 enthusiasts attend each year!  Show hours: Friday, 12 – 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • 2014 Best in Division teams were Cadillac, Audi, Honda, AEV, RV. You might want to find out what they’re up to for 2015!
  • Be sure to stick around ’til 3:30 on Sunday (when the People’s Choice winner will be announced!)

Michigan’s Big Country Fest – (Frankenmuth) 
October 17-18, 2015

Line-dance it up amidst flannels, boots, and cowboy hats as Brian Gallagher of Bullhonky Deluxe and Mandi Layne & The Lost Highway belt out tunes at Michigan’s Big Country Fest in Frankenmuth, October 17 – 18 (6 p.m. – midnight both nights, admission $5)!

  • Between the mechanical bull rides, free line-dancing lessons, Bloody Mary bar, That Guy’s BBQ and more, the Harvey Kern Community Pavilion will be country-rockin’ rain or shine (don’t worry – the pavilion is enclosed).
  • Look for the Cowboy & Cowgirl Contests, where the winners are judged on best attire, bull riding, corn-hole toss and pong toss. It’s free to enter, and memorable to witness!

Guest Blogger - Jen Wainwright - CopyJen Wainwright is a freelance writer in Bridgeport, Michigan. She specializes in marketing communications copy, feature articles and compelling content/blog posts. Jen enjoys experiencing multicultural opportunities in the Great Lakes Bay Region with her family, camping and laughing. You can find her at www.jenwainwright.com.