Eight Awesome Spring Activities to Enjoy this Season

Today, guest blogger Jennifer Hamilton of The Awesome Mitten gives us the run down on some great spring activities to enjoy in Pure Michigan this season.

When thinking about what activities I will be participating in this spring, ideas such as flood-proofing my home and shopping for heavy-duty rain boots came to mind. However, I dug a little deeper into my brain and with the help of others, came up with some great spring activities that we can all delight in.

Spring Building

Spring BuildingI once visited the Upper Peninsula  and was shocked to find my friend building a bonfire in the driveway. If you want to have a bonfire and do not have a fire pit, no fear, there is an excellent Plan B. It is as simple as using a steel wheelbarrow, placing kindling and logs inside, and making fire! It is great fun and a unique way to hold a bonfire almost anywhere.

Other fantastic springtime building projects are birdhouses and bird baths. Birdhouses and baths are always useful, and they are a great project for families to create together.

Spring Eats

During the winter, there are certain comfort foods we consume on a regular basis; soup, slow cooker delights, and various heavy pasta dishes. Spring food is so much more exciting! Most importantly, we can all get our grills out again. There is nothing more delightful than recognizing that grill smell for the first time after a long winter. Additionally, seasonal foods are about to make a great change. Locally grown watermelon, tomatoes, green beans, and cucumbers will soon be at our disposal. As we all know, nothing tastes as good as local produce.

Motorcycle/Bicycle Rides

A great way to delight in the smells, sights, and sounds of spring is to get out there on your favorite two-wheeled contraption. Whether you prefer pedaling a bicycle or gliding along on a motorcycle, just go enjoy the fresh air. A fellow Awesome Mitten writer mentioned that he loves going for motorcycle rides to Michigan’s best ice cream spots. And of course, our beloved potholes become a fun obstacle to weave around.

Garden Planning

Though the ground may be taking ages to thaw, it is never too early to decide what you want to grow this year. Some of these items may even be started indoors in pots and transferred outside when the time is right. Michigan’s garden centers are filling up with people buying soil, indoor planters, and seed packets. Items such as tomatoes, broccoli, and cabbage are great produce goods to start growing indoors, then transfer to an outdoor garden.

Disc Golf

Once the snow is melted enough, spring is a great time to explore some of Michigan’s disc golf courses. The sport has exploded over the last ten years, and many parks have taken notice and constructed courses as a result. Many courses wind through the woods, near water, and over beautiful areas of land. Disc golf does not require much physical effort, either, so people of almost any fitness level can participate and enjoy.

Spring Races

Disc GolfSpring is when fairweather runners make a comeback. Jump into a 5K to kickstart this running season! The best part about spring races is that many of them are themed; Easter Races, 5Ks with pets, and costume races start their season in March and continue on through the rest of the year. The best kind of race is the kind that allows you to get a little creative while running, then celebrating with some great food and beverages from race sponsors afterward! RunMichigan.com is jam-packed with races that take place literally every weekend; take a peak and pick one out.

 

 

Fishing

To go along with the great activity of grilling, one needs to catch some fish. Opening day of trout season is the last Saturday of April, so get those fishing licenses ready. Creeks, streams, rivers, bays, and lakes are all full of great tasting fish that want to come home with you. On one occasion, I even had the pleasure of purchasing live worms that had been injected with a fluorescent green dye, making the worms glow in the dark. So get those green worms ready, folks, it’s fishing season!

Morel Mushroom Picking

RelaxingThis is an activity for those with patience. It can be very tedious, but it is a spectacular way to get deep into the woods and spend quality time with your face near the ground of mother nature. Many people cook and eat these mushrooms, and quite a few also sell these morels at a fairly decent price. I do advise going in areas you are familiar with, or at least taking your phone with a GPS because it is alarmingly easy to lose track of oneself out there.

In short, spring is messy, but it is the loveliest kind of messy. Spring is for mud puddles, open windows, and new life. We Michiganders survived one crazy winter; now it is time to rejoice with a fine patio cocktail.

What are your favorite spring activities? 

1236752_10104693579790294_533864666_nJennifer Hamilton is a graduate student and outdoor enthusiast living in Traverse City. Jennifer splits her time between working in the substance abuse field, writing for the Awesome Mitten, and chasing after her three dogs.

Pure Michigan April 2014 Events Roundup

With a record-breaking winter behind us, it’s time to enjoy the springtime activities happening in Pure Michigan this April. 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 events.

Week of March 31, 2014 – April 6, 2014

FoolMoonFool Moon
April 4, 2014, Ann Arbor
Join the Ann Arbor community in kicking off it’s FestiFools Festival with Fool Moon. Be mesmerized by the shadowy figures and luminous sculptures that travel on Washington Street from dusk to midnight. Fill up with some festival cuisine and enjoy the live music, shadow puppet performances and film projections.

Traverse City Boat and Outdoor Show
April 4, 2014 – April 6, 2014, Traverse City
With warm weather on the way (yes, hard to believe after the winter we’ve had!), it’s time to start thinking of different ways to enjoy our beautiful state. The Traverse City Boat Show features the hottest pontoons, ski boats, cruisers, fishing boats and personal watercraft models on the market. They’ve also got everything you need for you to begin boat ownership. While you’re there, enjoy some snacks and beverages available on-site.

Spring into Wings Arts & Crafts Show
April 4, 2014 – April 6, 2014, Kalamazoo
Looking to spruce up your home? The Kalamazoo Spring into Wings Arts and Crafts Show at the Wings Stadium is sure to have something for your garden and home décor needs. Parking and admission are free. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Wedding Inspirations Bridal Expo
April 6, 2014, Saginaw
Preparing for a wedding is such an exciting, yet busy process. There are dresses to buy, center arrangements to order and so many invites to send out. If wedding bells are in your future, then be sure to stop by the Wedding Inspirations Bridal Expo for the latest trends, products and services to make your big day one to remember.

Week of April 7, 2014 – April 13, 2014

john.ball.zooSpring Break Zoobilee
April 7, 2014 – April 11, 2014, Grand Rapids
Enjoy the improving weather with a trip to the John Ball Zoo for the Spring Break Zoobilee. Like us, the animals are ready to get moving this spring and are ready for visitors. This event includes animal demonstrations, talks and training exercises. There’s certainly enough fun and games for the whole family. Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for children.

 

St. Ignace Home Show and Spring Expo
April 11, 2014 – April 12, 2014, St. Ignace
After experiencing one of the most-harsh winters on the books, the Upper Peninsula is celebrating the arrival of Spring with the St. Ignace Home Show and Spring Expo. Whether you are looking for a new off-road vehicle or new furniture for your home excites you, this show has something for everyone. Hours are 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Home and Garden Show
April 11, 2014 – April 13, 2014, Escanaba
Back for another year of great remodeling ideas and home solutions, the Home and Garden Show is in Escanaba. Meet area contractors who can fulfil your remodeling needs and find the latest products for your home improvement needs. Make sure you come hungry because there is an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast and grilling demonstrations by Chef Tommy Fitzgerald.

Up North Lake & Cottage Show
April 11, 2014 – April 13, 2014, Traverse City
Is your place ‘up-north’ in need of some love? Give it a makeover thanks to the Traverse City ‘Up-North’ Lake & Cottage Show. There will be plenty of designers, decorators, landscapers, furniture outlets and unique retailers to give your home away from home the relaxing and stylish look you’ve always wanted.

Made in Michigan Craft/Product Show
April 12, 2014, Cadillac
For the die-hard Michiganders or if you’re visiting the mitten state for the first time, be sure to stop at the Made in Michigan Craft/Product Show in Cadillac. This show helps fuel the local economy and gives you the opportunity to take home something uniquely Michigan. Admission is free and the event begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m.

VegFest 2014
April 13, 2014, Novi
Metro Detroit’s premier vegan tastefest is back in town. VegFest 2014 will feature vegan cooking demonstrations by professional chefs, samples of national brands, eco-friendly products, cruelty-free fashion, activities for children and much more. Admission is free, so bring the whole family.

Week of April 14, 2014 – April 20, 2014

Lowell Spring Girls’ Night Out
April 17, 2014, Lowell
Join us in Historic Lowell for the spring Girls’ Night Out. Dress in your favorite look of the 60s. Enjoy shopping and refreshments as you stroll down the city streets. Get your GNO postcard punched and enter to win a grand shopping bag of Lowell town goodies.

Lansing Microbrew and Music Festival
April 18, 2014 – April 19, 2014, Lansing
Craft brew, music and culinary lovers will meet at the Lansing Microbrew & Music Festival scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 18 & 19, 2014, in downtown Lansing. Tickets include five ½ pint pours, custom glass, event features 50+ craft breweries from Michigan – representatives and brewers from each brewery – with a handful of carefully selected national brands, 300+ flavors of brews, wines, ciders and meads, live musical acts, marching bands, a silent disco DJ dance tent, and local food vendors. Festivities are scheduled to take place from 5-11pm daily, with an afternoon of educational activities and forums presented by brewers on Saturday from 12 noon – 4pm.

NMU School of Art and Design Winter 2014 Senior Exhibition
April 16, 2014 – May 2, 2014, Marquette
Graduating seniors present their work from all areas of the School of Art and Design including ceramics, drawing/painting, digital cinema, electronic imaging, furniture design, graphic communication, human centered design, illustration, jewelry/metals/blacksmithing, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and woodworking.

 Week of April 21, 2014 – April 30, 2014

ragtime2Zehnder’s Ragtime Festival
April 23, 2014 – April 26, 2014, Frankenmuth
Zehnder’s Restaurant Ragtime Festival. Special events include Vaudeville night, silent movies, sing-along, and dinner, lunch, and brunch concerts. Located at Zehnder’s Restaurant, 713 South Main Street-Frankenmuth. Join us for one or all. Prices vary. For more information call (800) 863-7999 or go to website link below.

National Trout Festival
April 23, 2014 – April 27, 2014, Kalkaska
This year’s Trout Festival runs April 23 – 27 and is in it’s 78th year. Typical events include fishing contests for both kids and grownups, a singing contest, several parades and much more for the whole family. (231) 384-1509.

Art Walk
April 25, 2014, 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. 6-9pm. For additional information, click on the link or call (517) 424-6003.

shepherd.maple.syrup.festivalShepherd Maple Syrup Festival
April 24, 2014 – April 27, 2014, 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. The Festival is held the last full week of April each year–mark your calendar for a fun-filled weekend. For more information about the event, contact 989- 828-5422.

Expo in the Park
April 26, 2014, Howard City
Mark your calendar and save the date, because you are invited to the Montcalm County Panhandle Area Chamber of Commerce Expo in the Park, on Saturday April 26, 2014, from 10am-2pm, at Ensley Park in Howard City. Admission is free for all visitors. Make sure to stop by and browse all of the great booths, try some super delicious food, and enjoy the music and crafts.

Which events are you looking forward to this April? 

Pure Michigan March 2014 Events Roundup

In just a few weeks, the month of March will bring a change in season, some signs of springs and plenty of fun events to go along them! From St. Patrick’s Day festivities to the Detroit Tigers home opener, there are so many ways to get out and enjoy March in Pure Michigan!

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

Week of February 24, 2014 – March 2, 2014

Traverse City Restaurant Week
February 23, 2014 – March 1, 2014, Traverse City
The Downtown Traverse City Association will host the Traverse City Restaurant Week (TCRW) in response to the many accolades regarding great restaurants and food offerings in the Grand Traverse Region. This week promises to be the most delicious week of the winter where diners may perfect the art of dining by discovering new restaurants or enjoying their favorite at an affordable price. Participating restaurants will offer three course meals for $25 per person. Reservations for Restaurant Week are strongly encouraged.

Outdoorama
February 27, 2014 – March 2, 2014, Novi
Whether it’s hunting, fishing, boating, canoeing, hiking, mushroom hunting or bird watching, this show has plenty to offer. The Outfitter’s Expo area along with major feature attractions like “Big Buck Night,” “Wildlife Encounters” and the Trout Pond provide the best place to book the trip of a lifetime or entertain the family. In addition, with a huge display of boats, docks and lifts, and marine accessories, this show is the best place to shop for new boats and accessories. Outdoorama is a must-see for everyone who loves the outdoors. Phone (800) 328-6550.

The MARVAC Battle Creek Camper & RV Show
February 27, 2014 – March 2, 2014, Battle Creek
All types of new recreation vehicles with over 50 units and over 15 brands displayed from folding campers, motor homes, toy haulers, travel trailers and fifth wheel travel trailers. Booths featuring parts and accessories, campground information, RV financing and RV rentals. Weekdays 11am – 8pm, Saturday 10am – 8pm, and Sunday 11am – 5pm. Adult admission is $5, senior admission is $4 and children under 12 are free. For more information contact (517) 349-8881.

Women’s Lifestyle Expo
February 28, 2014 – March 1, 2014, Kalamazoo
An annual two day extravaganza created for women by women! Every minute is designed to be fun, educational and entertaining! Admission for adults $5, children 12 and up $2, children under 12 are free. Fri 12-6pm, Sat 9am-5pm. Held in Main Expo & Expo South.

Week of March 3, 2014 – March 9, 2014

LaughFest
March 6, 2014 – March 16, 2014, Grand Rapids
Gilda’s LaughFest, the nation’s first-ever community-wide festival of laughter, has quickly earned a reputation for being one of the nation’s marquee events for both participants and artists. This major 10-day Midwest festival is based in Grand Rapids and includes events throughout West Michigan. The line-up for 2014 will include Lily Tomlin, Chris Tucker, Jim Gaffigan, Sinbad, Jay Leno and many more. Free and ticketed shows. For a list of talent and participating venues in Grand Rapids and West Michigan, visit the website link.

West Michigan Home and Garden Show
March 6, 2014 – March 9, 2014, Grand Rapids
West Michigan’s largest Home & Garden show is back for its 34th season! With 12 feature gardens gardens, 4 free seminar stages and over 350 exhibitors featuring every product and service you’ll ever need, all under one roof, this is the show to attend!

Franc D’Ambrosio’s Broadway
March 7, 2014, Frankenmuth
D’Ambrosio returns to Frankenmuth with his Broadway show. He looks and acts like Marlon Brando and sings like Maro Lanza. Franc D’Ambrosio was awarded the distinction as the the Worlds Longest Running Phantom. If you enjoy Broadway tunes this is a can’t miss event! Tickets $20.

Autorama
March 7, 2104 – March 9, 2014, Detroit
America’s love affair with the automobile is legendary. Come and join us for the 62nd Annual Meguiar’s AutoRama. Hot rods are always at the heart of each show, but in recent years the composition has expanded to include manufacturers displays. As a result, today’s shows appeal equally to those who own competition cars, specialty and concept vehicles and those who dream about owning them! For information call (248) 373-1700.

Michigan Golf Show
March 7, 2014 – March 9, 2014, Novi
The Michigan Golf Show kicks off the golf season highlighting over 400 exhibitors with great deals on every aspect of the golf game! Retailers! Resorts! Travel destinations! Great deals on Michigan golf courses! And a variety of “hands-on” activities will get you ready for this season. For show hours, admission pricing, and discount coupons, visit the web link.

Maple Syrup Day
March 8, 2014, Monroe
The first event at the Trading Post (now called the River Raisin Territorial Park) for 2014! Learn some “Old French Town Ways’ with us as staff and volunteers demonstrate the process of producing maple syrup and related activities. Learn how easy it is to do, and perhaps try your own hand at tapping your maple trees! Though scheduled for Saturday, March 8th (not knowing if the sap will be flowing or not) we are scheduling a “poor weather” date of Saturday, March 15th. Time is from 12pm to 4pm. PLEASE NOTE: Due to the continuing harsh winter weather, we are examining other dates to make sure the sap is flowing. Please feel free to call ahead for up-to-date information!

Southern Michigan Winter Beer Festival
March 8, 2014, Jackson
The Jackson County Fairgrounds hosts a winter semi-outdoor craft and specialty beer tasting event that includes over 150 different beers to taste as well as food trailers, live music, door prizes, campfires and an entertainment tent featuring a corn hole tournament. This is a 21 and over only event.

Week of March 10, 2014 – March 16, 2014

Flint Camper & RV Show
March 13, 2014 – March 16, 2014, Flint
All types of new recreation vehicles—over 90 units will be on display; folding campers, motor homes, travel trailers and fifth wheel travel trailers, ranging in price from $4,000 to more than $120,000. Booths featuring parts and accessories, campground information, on site RV financing and RV rentals make this the complete RV show experience. Parking is free. For admission and hours, click on the website link or call (517) 349-8881.

Krazy Daze
March 15, 2014, Boyne Highlands Resort
Krazy Daze is a little bit of something for everyone from live bands and wild costumes to events for the kids and adults. On-snow race events include The Krazy Cup, Silly Slalom, Jump Competition and NASTAR Race. In addition, Krazy Daze features a Ski Over The Pond event for all ages, and face painting and inflatables for the kids. Ski & Stay lodging packages also available. For complete event details, visit the website link or call (800) 462-6963.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 15, 2014, Holland
St. Patrick’s Day Parade Saturday Mar 15, 2014, 12 noon, in downtown Holland, with Irish dancers, bagpipers, and kilt-wearers are just a few of the parade highlights! Families and individuals wearing green are invited to carry Irish flags in the parade (a limited number of flags will be available at no charge). The parade begins at the Eight Street Marketplace and travels east down Eighth Street until it reaches the Curragh Irish Pub and New Holland Brewing Company Restaurant and Pub (on the corner on Eighth Street and College Avenue). Free

Michigan Maple Weekend
March 15, 2014 – March 16, 2014, Shepherd
March is Michigan Maple Syrup Month. Experience first hand the maple syrup making process from start to finish. Shepherd Sugar Bush will be open and in full operation for visitors to see how sap is collected, syrup made, trees tapped, and sample maple treats! Maple syrup as well as other delicious maple products are available for purchase. 415 N 3rd Street Shepherd, Ml Hours: Sat & Sun 10:00-4:00 This family event is free of charge!

Bridal Show of West Michigan – Spring 2014
March 15, 2014 – March 16, 2104, Grand Rapids
Spring Bridal Show of West Michigan, March 15-16, 2014, will take place at DeVos Place, downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. Bridal Show exhibits will showcase premier bridal vendors, wedding planning ideas, coupons, and local wedding resources for every bride and groom’s personality. Elegance, Romantic, Contemporary and Funky styles alike will be featured throughout this show!

Bay City St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 16, 2104, Bay City
The parade starts at Center and Park Avenues and disbands at Center and Water Streets/Wenona Park. Marching bands, pipe bands, and floats will march down the street. 2pm.

Week of March 17, 2014 – March 23, 2014

Disney on Ice
March 19, 2014 – March 23, 2014, Auburn Hills
Make an ordinary day extraordinary when Disney On Ice presents Let’s Celebrate! and brings more than 50 Disney characters to The Palace of Auburn Hills for one colossal party on ice! This action-packed, all-new show features a magical montage of celebrations and is set to a blend of contemporary music and favorite Disney songs. Tickets are on sale now at (248) 377-0100.

Cirque Mechanics
March 21, 2014, Flint
Witness a contortionist perform on a turntable powered by unicyclists, a high-flying trapeze artist sail through the air and a trampoline wall artist seemingly defy the laws of physics. Inspired by old-fashioned American ingenuity, this production will have the audience rolling with laughter at the antics of the comedic characters, impressed by the acro-dancing and enchanted by the timeless stories of mechanical wonders. Performance begins at 7:30pm. Arrive one hour prior to start of performance and enjoy local magician Jason Abbott. For details and ticket information, visit the website link.

Livingston County Home and Garden Show
March 21, 2014 – March 23, 2014, Howell
Come see more than 200 exhibits at the Livingston County Home Show, March 21- 23, 2014, where you will find the latest in home improvements, décor and gardening at this three-day event. Other special attractions include: Taste of Livingston (Saturday), Neighborhood Marketplace, Fine Arts Show and Community Resource Fair. Cost is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors (60+ over) and children are free.

Cross Country Ski Paintball Biathlon
March 22, 2014, Grayling
The second annual Hanson Hills/XC Ski HQ Paintball Biathlon Series welcomes men, women, and kids to compete in this two-day event, combining cross country skiing with paintball target shooting. Saturday’s, March 22, racing will take place at Hanson Hills, and Sunday’s race and awards will be at Cross Country Ski Headquarters. Paintball guns provided.

Maple Sugaring Day
March 22, 2014, Paradise
Learn how maple sap is transformed into maple syrup during this interactive, hands-on event. Backyard syrup producers will be on hand to answer questions and help get your operation started. Nature’s Kennel will offer $25 dog sled rides during the event (weather permitting; must have enough snow to run dog sleds). Noon to 4pm. An $11 Recreation Passport is required for entering State Parks, Recreation Areas, State Forest Campgrounds, Non-motorized Trail Head Parking and Boat Launches. Recreation Passports can be purchased when renewing your State of Michigan license plate tabs or at state parks and recreation areas.

Week of March 24, 2014 – March 31, 2014

Ann Arbor Film Festival
March 25, 2014 – March 30, 2014, Ann Arbor
Internationally recognized as a premiere forum for independent filmmakers and artists, each year’s festival engages audiences with remarkable cinematic experiences. The six-day festival presents 40 programs with more than 180 films from over 20 countries of all lengths and genres, including experimental, animation, documentary, fiction, and performance-based works.

Jillian Michaels
March 27, 2014, Kalamazoo
The world’s leading health and wellness expert, Jillian Michaels, is live on stage across the country in her “Maximize Your Life” Tour. Jillian shows how to harness your potential, kick-start your goals and live an exceptional life. 7:30pm. $25-$150.

Detroit Tigers 2014 Home Opener
March 31, 2014, Comerica Park
It’s baseball time! The Detroit Tigers, a charter member of the American League since 1901, will begin their 114th season at home when the club welcomes the Kansas City Royals for a three-game series March 31 – April 3. For information call (313) 471-2255