Six Ways to Celebrate Spring in Ann Arbor

Spring has finally arrived in Pure Michigan! The days are getting longer, the weather warmer and exciting events are taking place around the state. That means it’s time to celebrate spring in the Ann Arbor area! Below are six ways to experience the season in AA.

Get your geek on.
Plan your next visit to coincide with Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 7 hosted by Vault of Midnight. A retail event like no other, hundreds of costumed fans of all ages will line up around the block to participate in what feels like a mini-comic con in the heart of Downtown Ann Arbor. While waiting in line may seem like a drag, Vault staff entertains everyone with games, prizes, and general shenanigans. Learn more about the event, including which other downtown Ann Arbor retailers will be participating in the event.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Score in Ann Arbor
AFC Ann Arbor kicks off its first season in the National Premier Soccer League this year, joining the ranks of some incredibly competitive teams throughout the Midwest Region. Specifically, the Mighty Oaks are looking forward to hosting Grand Rapids FC over Memorial Day Weekend and Detroit City FC over Independence Day Weekend. Check out the complete schedule and to incorporate a match into your weekend.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Photograph an heirloom peony garden.
Nichols Arboretum, located on the University of Michigan campus, features a stunning spring display of historic peony varieties. When filled to capacity the garden holds nearly 800 peonies and up to 10,000 flowers at peak bloom! The best time to visit is usually Memorial Day – mid-June. Follow Visit Ann Arbor on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for bloom updates.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Tackle the Argo Cascades.
Did you know that Ann Arbor features kayaking along the Huron River? Suitable for novices but enjoyable for those more experienced, the Argo Cascades is a series of nine small rapids, rock chutes and pools. Continue down the river to Gallup Park — about a 90-minute journey — for some of the most scenic views of the area! Equipment rentals are available starting at 10am in May and 9am starting Memorial Day Weekend.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Score at the LPGA Volvik Championship.
This Memorial Day Weekend marks the inaugural year for the LPGA Volvik Championship tournament at Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor. The event will feature a full field of 144 players competing in a 72-hole showcase for a purse of $1.3 million. Join fans on Saturday for “Orange Out for ChadTough!” — a special $30 ticket package available until May 15 which includes a Saturday Grounds ticket, a t-shirt, and your choice of either a sleeve of orange golf balls, an orange Volvik baseball hat, or an orange tee-holder. $10 from each ticket package sale will go directly to The ChadTough Foundation.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!
June 1- June 5, join Zingerman’s in this epic tribute to cured pork. Camp Bacon® features a week’s worth of bacon-based events, from a film festival to The Main Event — a day filled with meaty speakers, lots of learning, and, of course, all the bacon you can eat! The festivities conclude on Sunday with the Camp Bacon Street Fair at Kerrytown. As always, this year’s Camp Bacon is a fundraiser for two amazing non-profit organizations: The Southern Foodways Alliance and the 4H Club of Washtenaw County.

Go to VisitAnnArbor.org for more information about all these events and more in the greater Ann Arbor area. You can also follow Visit Ann Arbor! on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. See you soon!

May These Events Spring You Into Summer

As May flowers will soon bloom, now is the perfect time to plan next month in Michigan. From Spring Flings to the Tulip Time Festival in Holland, there are several events celebrating Michigan’s natural beauty. 

Below is a roundup of a few May events sure to make you fall in love with Pure Michigan all over again. Visit our events page to see everything going on all month long.

May 1-8

Guided Tour of Albert Kahn: Under Construction
May 1, Ann Arbor

Start your May off with a cultural excursion. In the last two decades there has been a tremendous swell of interest in Detroit architect Albert Kahn (1869-1942), arguably the most important architect of American industrialization. Albert Kahn: Under Construction focuses on the remarkable archive of photographs from the River Rouge complex to the Willow Run Bomber Plant. Shot by an array of professional photographers, these often striking documentary images were a novel strategy for conveying information showing buildings as they grew on site to busy managers at the main office. UMMA docents will explore these artifacts as photographs and evidence of Kahn’s innovative solutions to the architectural challenges of his day.

Science Talks: Saving the Kirtland’s Warbler
May 5, Bloomfield Hills

Join experts from The Nature Conservancy for a series of evening lectures on conservation challenges and solutions facing the Great Lakes region and beyond. Each lecture begins with a Meet the Scientist mixer with refreshments and appetizers to enjoy (cash bar) as you learn more about the evening’s topic. This session is about the inspiring story of bringing North America’s rarest songbird back from the brink of extinction, how it’s being protected now and what makes the Kirtland’s warbler unique.

Downtown Tecumseh Art Walk
May 6, 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. Bring your family down to enjoy watching artists demonstrate their skills! New this year the Carnegie Artist Studios will have an Open House with artists showcasing their work. This popular event is one you won’t want to miss!

Cinco de Mayo Flint 5K/10K
May 7, Flint

Ole! Come help usher in spring by taking part in this festive 5K/10K event. Participants will be able to enjoy post-race festivities that include a delicious Mexican snack from Rico’s Authentic Mexican Take Out! This is definitely a race you will not want to miss.

Free Comic Book Day
May 7, Ann Arbor

A retail event like no other, hundreds of costumed fans of all ages will line up around the block to participate in what feels like a mini-comic con in the heart of Downtown Ann Arbor. While waiting in line may seem like a drag, Vault staff entertains everyone with games, prizes, and general shenanigans.

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly at Ives Road Fen Preserve, Michigan. This wet, spring-fed prairie blends into floodplain forest to create a globally significant habitat. It’s pure, cool water flows in rivulets under the thick grasses and sedges of t

Spring Treasure Hunt
May 7, Raisin Township

Have a fun family outing with a guided hike at Ives Road Fen Preserve to celebrate our brand new quarry trail and interpretative signage. Learn about floodplain and southern mesic forest communities and the restoration projects that saved this globally significant habitat.

Holland Michigan Tulip Festival
May 7 to May 14, Holland

This is a must-see event for you and your family! Holland’s Tulip Time Festival, named “Best Small Town Festival” by Reader’s Digest, Tulip Time has delighted visitors for over 80 years!

blog tulip festival

The number one attraction is the tulip itself and there are literally millions to see, in our city parks, downtown planters, Tulip Lanes, Windmill Island Gardens, Nelis’ Dutch Village, and Veldheer’s Tulip Farm. There are also three parades to enjoy. The Dutch Marktplaats offers Dutch food, merchandise, and demonstrations. Throughout town, you’ll have many chances to experience traditional Klompen (wooden shoe) dancing, as well as the Art & Craft Fair, Quilt Show, carnival rides, concerts, theatrical shows, fireworks, trolley tours, and so much more!

May 9 – 15

National Morel Mushroom FestivalMinolta DSC
May 12-15, Boyne City

The festival starts with a Craft Beer Block Party. Then there is a free mushroom hunting seminar followed by an optional guided morel hunt on Friday afternoon and a competitive morel hunt on Saturday morning. The Wine and Dine dinner is Friday night at the Beach House restaurant including five morel-infused hors d’oeuvres paired with five wines. The Taste of Morels gives you your choice of tastes from a dozen great restaurants in the giant festival tent in Veterans Park. There are dances with great live bands and carnival rides and much more throughout the weekend.

Main Street Ladies’ Night Out
May 13, Ann Arbor

Grab you friends and have a ladies’ night! Sales will be offered throughout the day, but from 5-9pm the retailers roll out the red carpet with special offers, discounts, snacks, goody bags, raffles and more! Participate in the passport’ program during this time and be entered into a drawing to win fabulous prizes. Check out the link for more information.

Ghost WalkNoir. Silhouette of a passerby on the night street.
May 13, Petoskey

For a spooky outing try a ghost walk! Over the past century, Downtown Petoskey has had its fair share of spooky hauntings, Edgar Allan Poe inspired deaths and mobster dealings. Many of these hauntings have happened repeatedly over the years, and a local historian, Chris Struble, has gathered the facts and the local lore that inspire these stories that tell the history of Petoskey from an otherworldly perspective.

Pollinators Gardening
May 14, Ontonagon

Join this class taught by Marilyn Knuteson & Carol Maass to learn the how to plant a pollinator’s garden and the importance of native plants to wildlife. You will work with a master gardener to plan for the creation of a butterfly garden at your home. Then you will help plan native landscape plantings for the three park entrance signs in the Union Bay area.

Health Plus Tour de Crim

May 14, Flint

Register now at crim.org and Let’s Ride Together at the HealthPlus Tour de Crim, 11AM to 2PM on Saturday, May 14 in Downtown Flint! Check out the Crim’s famous 10-mile blue line course and Flint’s scenic trails by bike. HealthPlus Tour de Crim is a non-competitive, family-friendly bicycle ride with optional obstacles! All ages are welcome to enjoy music, artisan bread, Michigan microbrews or rootbeer from Flint’s very own Tenacity Brewery, and more during the downtown festivities! All finishers will receive a medal, t-shirt, beverage of choice, and snack.

May 16-22

Downtown Tecumseh Classic Car & Bike Show car show
May 19, Tecumseh

Get your motor running and head on down the highway to the 2016 Tecumseh Classic Car & Bike Show. Cars & bikes will be displayed in the Old National Bank parking lot for all to enjoy. Special recognition awards will be given so don’t miss this special event.

Tawas Point Birding Festival
May 19-22, East Tawas

Come to Michigan’s Sunrise Coast to enjoy spring birding at its best, attend presentations on the latest birding topics, hone your birding skills and learn about avian conservation work in Michigan.

Festival participants enjoy some of the best birding in the Great Lakes region; Tawas Point is well known for high concentrations of migrating warblers during the month of May. Recent species highlights include: Kirtland’s Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, White-crowned Sparrow, numerous raptors, shorebirds, and more. Nearly 200 species were recorded during the festival weekend in 2015.

World Expo of Beer
May 20-21, Frankenmuth

This is Michigan’s largest beer sampling event, with nearly 300 different beers available from around the world. You will gain a free collector beer sampling mug. If you love beer, this event is for you.

Color Fun Runblog color run
May 21, Petoskey

For a healthy event, run in the Color Fun Run. This is a beautiful route, a fun activity and a great cause! Run for the health of it and have a great time! 5K & 1 mile run/walk.

Armed Forces Day
May 21, Muskegon

There will be a tribute to Armed Forces Day aboard the USS LST 393 Veterans Museum. The program and tours through LST 393 and the museum will be free. Enjoy static displays of World War II and current military vehicles as well as displays of military memorabilia. There will also be presentations, music, a 21-gun salute and more.

May 23-29

Memorial Weekend Arts & Crafts Show
May 27-29, Newaygo

Come have a great time at the annual Memorial Weekend Arts and Crafts Festival. This event offers the very best in handmade crafts as well as a handful of unique resale items.

The Festival strives to emphasize on unique home decorations, garden and yard decor, beautiful jewelry, clothing, ornaments, antiques and collectibles. There are also many delights such as dips, jams, candies, breads, candied apples, cookies, popcorn, dried soup mixes, candied almonds and handmade tamales.

Balloons Over Bavarian Inn
May 27-29, Frankenmuth

Enjoy viewing morning and evening flights over downtown Frankenmuth. An awesome “Balloon Glow” event is featured each night at The River Place Shops Field! Visit with dozens of professional hot air balloon pilots and their crews from throughout the U.S.

Fishing In The Park
May 28, Bay City

Go fishing in the park with DNR. They will supply the poles and bait. This would make a fantastic family event where there is a prize for the longest fish caught!

Art & Wine Festival
May 28-29, Berrien Springs

The Memorial Day Weekend Art & Wine Festival is a two-day celebration of regional art, music and wine. This event is open to the public free of charge at Lemon Creek Winery’s Berrien Spring’s location.

Blessing of the Boats
May 29, Muskegon

The Blessing of the Boats is a spectacular show of boats on Muskegon Lake, celebrating the opening of the boating season. The Port City Princess departs for a brunch on board while sailing in Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake. She will then float in the Muskegon Channel where boats can float alongside and be blessed by a priest. Watch from the channel or from Muskegon Lake beach!

May 30-31

Dexter Memorial Day Paradeblog dexter parade
May 30, Dexter

Take your family to Dexter this holiday! The Rotary Club of Dexter is looking forward to another great parade supported by the participants and the community.

Fort Wilkins Historic State Park – Memorial Day Ceremony
May 30, Copper Harbor

Families and friends are invited to take part in a Memorial Day program with a music program by students from Copper Harbor honoring our veterans and fallen soldiers. Activities include a Memorial Day Address, the playing of Taps and Fort Wilkins Historic State Park will be presenting the introduction and welcome to our guests.

Wetland Tree Digital Camera Safari
May 30, Bay City

This event is a fun way for families to explore the state park and discover why it is a National Registered Natural Landmark. With your digital camera, take photos of the special trees that are on the scavenger hunt list as you hike the park.

Ypsilanti Memorial Day Parade
May 30, Ypsilanti

Have a fantastic time in Ypsi and watch the parade. Check out the route if you plan on visiting.

Did we miss your favorite May event? Name it below!

6 Michigan Cities to Stroll Through this Spring

It’s finally spring and we can emerge out of our winter cocoons, stretch our legs, and stroll the beautiful streets and cities in Michigan. Here are six places we think your feet should travel, according to Margaret Clegg of The Awesome Mitten.

Sault Ste. Marie

As the oldest city in Michigan, there’s a lot of history to see in Sault Ste. Marie. See the historic Soo Locks up close and personal or take a walk to The Tower of History and enjoy a panoramic view of the Soo and the city from a height of 210 feet. If you enjoy shopping, there are numerous unique shops along the downtown strip. Find unique items for your home at Thinking of U, handmade wooden products from Island Books & Crafts, and outdoor weather wear at Bird’s Eye Outfitters. After a stroll through Sault Ste. Marie, quench your thirst at any of the drinking establishments in the “BARmuda Triangle,” featuring 13 bars that are all within walking distance to each other and to hotels. Visit 1668 Winery and Lockside Brewery for locally made brews or make a stop at Zim’s, a bi-level bar that features a live DJ and dancing.

Brighton

The downtown area of Brighton feels like strolling down a road from yesterday. With the church set up the hill, just atop the river, the setting is so peaceful. There is so much to do and see along Main Street. On a warm spring day there are children playing in the park, people taking their dogs for a walk, and families feeding the ducks in the pond. Downtown Brighton prides themselves in being a “strolling community,” and you can see more than 30 public art exhibits as you walk through the area. There are also many fun-filled shops, like Oh My Lolli, where they make handmade candies,  conveniently located just across the from the playground. There’s Sassafrass Gifts, where you can unique items for a friend. When you’ve worked up the hunger for a bite to eat, you can enjoy an authentic Italian meal at Buon Gusto or a drink at Downtown Main Martini Bar and Grille.

Photo Courtesy of Margaret Clegg

Ann Arbor

College campuses are always the best place to take a stroll. Around the University of Michigan campus there are college students out throwing frisbees, musicians on street corners, and community events all year long. Nothing accompanies a good walk quite like a good meal, and Ann Arbor is great place to grab a bite. You can grab an outdoor seat at the Jolly Pumpkin for a salad or granite baked pizza, accompanied by a nice locally made beer. If your tastes are a bit more ethnic, you can pop on over to The Earthen Jar, where the Indian buffet is completely vegetarian and gluten-free, and the other customers are so friendly. If you want to walk with the community in a unique way, take part in the Fool Moon art parade, which kicks off the outdoor festival season.

Photo Courtesy of Margaret Clegg

Grand Rapids

We can think of no grander place to take a walk in the spring than Grand Rapids. While this 158-acre campus has many things to see on foot, the annual butterfly exhibit at Frederik Mejier Gardens & Sculpture Park is a huge attraction.  There are over 50 different species represented during this time, from March 1st through April 30th. Additional features of the gardens include outdoor sculptures to view, wooded trails to walk, and a children’s garden that provides hours of enjoyment. Once you’ve had your fill of viewing fresh flowers, you can take a short drive down the street to Green Restaurant, an eatery that focuses on fresh, local and organic foods. If time allows, venture a bit farther into the city and stop at the Downtown Market. There you can sample a variety of local flavors, with an appetizer of meat and cheese from Aperitivo, locally sourced meals from Making Thyme Kitchen, and organic desserts from Love’s Ice Cream.

Photo Courtesy of Margaret Clegg

Petoskey

If the view of the coastline takes your breath away, Petoskey is a beautiful place to visit. If you’re looking to enjoy the scenic beauty up close, Petoskey has many trails, pathways and preserves to take by foot or by bike. For historic views of Petoskey on foot, participate in one of their hour long Ghost Walks or do a self-guided tour of the Petoskey locations that were significant to Ernest Hemingway while he vacationed here. For a quick lunch after taking a stroll, stop by The Grain Train. This health food store also has a convenient hot food bar and deli. The view from the seating area overlooks the water, and is truly refreshing. If you’re looking to sit down meal, make sure to visit Petoskey during their annual Restaurant Week, which takes places May 20th through the 27th.

Photo Courtesy of Margaret Clegg

Traverse City

Traverse City is know as the Cherry Capital of the World, and in spring time the orchards are in blossom. There is more to this city than cherries and wine though. Tucked a few miles away from the downtown, The Village at Grand Traverse Commons invites people to walk back to older times. What was once the Traverse City State Hospital has been beautifully restored to include restaurants, unique crafters, business offices and housing. Enjoy their outdoor scenery by strolling through the gardens and preserved parklands, enjoying a picnic on their front lawn, or visiting their historic arboretum. Inside you will find many shops, including Gallery Fifty, which carries art from every state around the country. Purchase clothing that represents our great state from High Five Threads and enjoy locally grown tea at Cuppa Joe Cafe. For a fun dining experiences, enjoy homemade tamales at Spanglish or visit Left Foot Charley to sample local wines.

Photo Courtesy of Margaret Clegg

What are your favorite places to visit in the spring? Which Michigan destination are you headed to in the coming weeks?

Cupcake1

Margaret Clegg was born and raised in Michigan and resides in Flint. She is a Central Michigan University graduate and the proud wife of an amazing husband and owner of two adorable dogs. She is a passionate advocate for Celiac Disease and works with many organizations within the state to help those with these special needs. She’s a proud MSU fan and loves ice cream. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Periscope.