Pure Michigan August 2014 Events Roundup

August is quickly approaching and there’s still plenty of summertime left to get out and enjoy an outdoor adventure or fun summer festival. From racing events like the Pure Michigan 400 to star-studded concerts and the Michigan state fair, there’s something for everyone happening this month. 

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

Week of July 28th – August 3rd

wizard-of-oz-puppetsThe Wizard of Oz
August 1-2, Coldwater
Lions and Tigers and Puppets, oh my! Adapted for marionettes by Martin Stevens and Dan Raynor, children of all ages will watch with bated breath as a Kansas cyclone whisks Dorothy off to Oz. This classic heart-warming tale captures the imagination with its many beloved characters. 10 a.m. Tickets: $7 includes popcorn and juice at intermission.

Buy Michigan Now Festival
August 1-3, Northville
The Buy Michigan Now Festival is a weekend celebration of Michigan businesses and products made within the state. This family-friendly event includes tasty treats, street vendors, live music, and children’ activities, all highlighting Michigan-based businesses. Adults may also partake in local beers and wines in the Michigan Beer Garden. Admission and parking are free. For the sixth straight year, this event is set in charming downtown Northville.

Bayside Music Festival
August 2, St. Ignace
Get ready to listen or dance in downtown St. Ignace from 4pm till who-knows-when, when a series of bands dazzle the crowds and keep the light-a-foot busy. Family games, a beer, wine and soft drink tent, food concessions and more are available as the live music plays. It’s all happening in the city marina parking lot, with fireworks on display at dusk! Admission: $5 per person, and FREE for children five years of age and younger!

Boats on the Boardwalk
August 2, Traverse City
Featuring 50 boats, circa 1900 through current wooden classics. Boats on display usually include high-powered mahogany runabouts, hydroplanes, outboards, vintage engines, powered launches, wooden canoes, and rowboats. Live musical entertainment and lunch available. Event held along the Boardman River boardwalk in Traverse City. Admission is free.

Copperman Triathlon
August 2, Copper Harbor
1900 through current wooden classics. Boats on display usually include high-powered mahogany runabouts, hydroplanes, outboards, vintage engines, powered launches, wooden canoes, and rowboats. Live musical entertainment and lunch available and admission is free!Get ready for a half-mile swim in the brisk waters of Lake Fanny Hooe, a 23-mile bike ride along the shore of Lake Superior, and a five-mile run past the end of US Highway 41. Race starts at the boat ramp of Fort Wilkins State Park, just east of Copper Harbor, Michigan. 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 August 4th – 10th

Michigan Pirate Festival
August 4-10, Grand Haven
Join in celebrating the Michigan Pirate Festival’s eighth year in western Michigan this August 4-10, 2014, in Grand Haven, Michigan, at Loutit District Library and at Harbor Island. This year’s event will include pirate hunters, re-enactors, literary and fantasy characters, encampments, and pirates from more eras than ever before. Come out and see for yourself what the excitement is all about!

Kalamazoo Ribfest
August 7-9, Kalamazoo
Features national and local rib vendors that sell ribs and chicken in outstanding barbeque sauces. To complement the rib vendors, additional food vendors will be offering side items and sweet treats to top off the food experience at Ribfest. Music from national rock and country artists will be on scene, along with local bands and plenty of fun activities. Tickets for Ribfest are now available online so you can avoid waiting in long lines!

Sparta Celtic Festival
August 9, Sparta
The Sparta Celtic Festival is a free, family friendly event focused on the expression of Celtic heritage. The festival offers music, food, and merchants with a Celtic focus while featuring two stages filled with music and dancing. The children’s area offers activities for kids of all ages. This year, the festival is celebrating a 5th anniversary, and will be launching new attractions, including the Celtic Tens Rugby Tournament, High Tea House and more!

Cheeseburger in Caseville
August 8, Caseville
Head to Caseville for some serious summer family fun! Cardboard boat races, hat making, music and cheeseburgers are just a few of the many things going on this year. Musical entertainment will be in the park and the parade of tropical fools will be happening on Wednesday, August 13  at 6 p.m.

 Week of August 11th-17th

Upper Peninsula State Fair
August 11-17, Escanaba
Head north for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula State fair! Held in Escanaba at the Fair Grounds, make sure you come enjoy all the great events, entertainment and racing! This Upper Peninsula fair is something that you won’t want to miss, so put it on your calendar today!

BlueberryPieWild Blueberry Festival
August 15-17, Paradise
Each year during the third weekend in August, Paradise celebrates a part of its local heritage—wild blueberries. An art fair, entertainment, kid’s craft tent, and wonderful local food showcase the festivities. The celebration also includes informative programs of music, nature, and local history lore. There is an activity and delight for everyone in the family!

BBQ Dinner Sail
August 15, Bay City
Set sail on this family friendly voyage aboard the Appledore IV for a fun and relaxing evening of cruising along the Saginaw River and Bay. While on board, guests will enjoy a delicious andcasual barbecue meal catered by one of Saginaw’s local restaurants. All sails are rain or shine. Sails every Friday, August 15 to September 26, 2014, 6-9 p.m. Departs from downtown Bay City, Wenonah Park.

Woodward Dream Cruise
August 16, Metro Detroit
With more than 50,000 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. Taking place along a 16-mile stretch of legendary Woodward Avenue on August 16, 2014, the event guides muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special interest vehicles through eight host communities including Berkley, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Ferndale, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, Pontiac and Royal Oak, in Southeast Michigan.

NascarPure Michigan 400 NASCAR Spring Cup Series
August 17, Brooklyn
The 2014 racing season concludes with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400. The Sprint Cup Series stars always end the MIS season with an exciting finale, featuring many lead changes and exciting finishes. With great camping, affordable adult prices, special kids pricing, free parking and the ability to bring a bigger cooler with your favorite food and beverages, MIS is the perfect way to end your summer race season!

St. Ignace History Week
August 17-22, Saint Ignace
Join the town of Saint Ignace as they pay special tribute to their rich history during this 6-day event. Fort de Buade Indian Museum and the Museum of Ojibwa Culture will offer special presentations, community walking tours, and much, much more! Native American singing, geocaching and a variety of other events will all occur during this celebration.

Week of August 18th-24th 

Tecumseh’s Classic Car & Bike Show
August 21, Tecumseh
Get your motor running and head to Tecumseh to see over 200 cars and motorcycles on display in the United Bank & Trust Hickman Financial Center parking lot. This family friendly event is something car and bike lovers won’t want to miss!

Movies on the Beach
August 22, Muskegon
Come join us on the shores of Lake Michigan for “Finding Nemo” with pre-movie music beginning around 8pm and the film will begin around dusk (around 9:30pm). So bring your beach chairs and blankets and come on down to Pere Marquette Park for this free community event!

Eminem and Rihanna Concert
August 22-23, Detroit
Two of music’s biggest superstars, Eminem and Rihanna, will be joining forces this summer for a series of co-headlining stadium shows when they launch “The Monster Tour” including Detroit’s Comerica Park in August for two nights.

Traverse City Summer Microbrew and Music Festival
August 22-23, 2014
Lovers of craft beer, world music and local harvest won’t want to miss the annual Traverse City Microbrew & Music Festival in the historic trees and on the front lawn of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. Ticket buyers must be 21 years of age or older.

fudge.festivalMackinac Island Fudge Festival
August 22-23, Mackinac Island
While fudge was not invented on Mackinac Island, Mackinac Island’s fudge has become the most popular fudge in America. This festival celebrate the creamy goodness with events such as Dining Under the Influence of Fudge, Fudge on the Rocks, Michigan Craft Brew Beer Tastings, Great Turtle Slow Ride, and the coveted “Daddy, I Want the Golden Ticket” vacation giveaway.

 

Week of August 25th – 31st

The Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinac Bicycle Tour
August 27-31, East Lansing
The Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinaw Bicycle Tour, which is a nationally known bicycle camping tour, was originated in 1971 by former State Representative Dick Allen of Ithaca. All routes will begin at the MSU Pavilion in East Lansing and follow country roads whenever possible to attempt to provide the safest, most scenic routes between campgrounds. DALMAC is open to individuals, families, and all capable, interested bicyclists. Riders under the age of 18 must be accompanied by their parent or responsible adult who must ride with them. DALMAC riders are given special permission to ride bicycles across the Mackinac Bridge.

Street Beats
August 28, Boyne City
Come to Street Beats in August to shake it up! Continuing on with a popular 30-year tradition–Dancing in the Streets (Street Beats) brings out nearly 400 people. You’ll have a ball as you shake and move at this popular Boyne City event!

Michigan Peach Festival
August 28-September 1, Romeo
The Michigan Peach Festival of Romeo includes parades, sports, carnival rides, craft show, food and fun for the whole family over five days around Labor Day weekend in downtown Romeo. The Romeo Peach Queen reigns over this popular annual celebration of summer with a wide variety of events from dawn to dusk each day. Festival begins Thursday before Labor Day and runs through Labor Day.

Arts, Beats, and Eats
August 29 – September 1, Royal Oak
Oakland County’s premier entertainment festival which draws nearly 400,000 people to experience more than 200 juried art exhibitors, 50 restaurants and 200 performances on 10 stages downtown Royal Oak. Admission fee.

Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair
August 29-September 1, Novi
This year’s State Fair will include an expanded Midway, live entertainment, the ever-popular racing pigs, livestock and home arts exhibits, the state of Michigan Butter Cow, special performances by the Detroit Shrine Circus, Made in Michigan Pavilion, tasty carnival treats, and much more!

Michigan Bison Bash
August 30, Levering
Grab the whole family and stampede your way up to Levering for the Michigan Bison Bash! This exciting and unusual event will feature a kid’s fun area, buffalo ranch tours, food, games, live music, beer tents, vendors and displays, and a live buffalo calf to pet! This is an event that will be unforgettable for the whole family!

Which events will you be at next month? 

Exploring the Past in Historic Traverse City

It’s easy to think about the past when you’re visiting impressive Michigan historical sites like Fort Michilimackinac or Greenfield Village. But every community has its own history, and sometimes it can be just as fascinating! Today, Mike Norton of Traverse City Tourism tells us what he discovered as he set out to learn about his adoptive hometown.

I admit it. When I first moved to Traverse City 36 years ago, I didn’t spend much time thinking about its history. Like most people who find themselves in this beautiful place, I was much more interested in its endless sandy beaches, its glacier-sculpted hills and lakes and all the outdoor adventures it offered.

As time went on, though, I began to realize that there’s more to Traverse City than those scenic and recreational qualities. Reminders of this area’s brief but dramatic past are scattered everywhere: lonely lighthouses, humble mission churches, workingmen’s taverns, quaint Victorian cottages and the grand estates of 19th century lumber barons. Fortunately, you can visit and tour many of these sites, just as I did!

Indian hunters and French traders were the first people to visit this place, and it was they who gave the region its name – La Grand Traverse – because of the “long crossing” they had to make by canoe across the mouth of the bay. But they were just passing through; even the native Ottawa and Chippewa people didn’t arrive as settlers until the early 18th century.

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Old Mission Lighthouse – Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

To learn more about those earliest arrivals, who call themselves simply Anishinaabek (“The People”) – take a drive up the Leelanau Peninsula to Peshawbestown, the headquarters of the 5,000-member Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians to visit the Eyaawing Museum & Cultural Center, which contains exhibit galleries and a store featuring traditional and contemporary artworks.

It wasn’t until 1839 that the Rev. Peter Dougherty established the area’s first permanent settlement at the tip of the Old Mission peninsula. The modern-day village of Old Mission still occupies Dougherty’s idyllic site: a place seemingly frozen in time, where many of the original structures are still standing and in use. Three miles to the north is the quaint Old Mission Lighthouse, built in 1870 to warn ships away from the rocky shoals of Old Mission Point.

By 1847 a small but growing community was forming on the banks of the nearby Boardman River. In 1852 the little sawmill town was christened Traverse City — but until the first road through the forest was built in 1864 it remained a remote outpost, accessible only by water.

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Perry Hannah House – Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

A good place to begin exploring this community’s beginnings is on Sixth Street in the city’s historic Central Neighborhood. Here, housed in the former 1903 Carnegie Library, is the History Center of Traverse City, which conducts 90-minute bus tours of the city’s most important historical sites. Tickets for this “Magical History Tour” are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and children 12 and under.

Just across the street is the immense 32-room Perry Hannah House, built by Traverse City founder Perry Hannah in 1893. It’s a true showcase, with its beveled Tiffany doors, copper-clad turrets and intricate wood paneling. (A different wood was used in almost every room — appropriately enough for a man whose fortune came from the forest.)

A few blocks to the north is Front Street, Traverse City’s main street, and the immense white building that once housed the heart of Hannah’s 19th century Empire. Built in 1863, when it was known as The Big Store, it’s only half as large as it used to be – it once stretched for two blocks.

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 12.40.54 PM

City Opera House – Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

After decades of neglect, Front Street has been extensively restored and is now a picturesque and pedestrian-friendly reminder of the city’s historical roots. Its tree-shaded sidewalks now border shops, restaurants and galleries that have made creative use of the Victorian buildings they occupy. One special landmark is the ornate 1891 City Opera House, recently reopened after more than $8.5 million in exquisite restoration work.

Not everyone in 19th-century Traverse City was a millionaire. The city’s west side, known as Slabtown, was home to millworkers and skilled woodcarvers, including a substantial community of Bohemian immigrants who built tidy cottages for themselves with slabs of scrapwood from the sawmills. Many of their homes are still standing, and so is Sleder’s Family Tavern, a 125-year-old establishment that’s still a favorite hangout for locals and visitors alike.

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Sleder’s Family Tavern – Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

After the lumber boom ended, the local economy turned to manufacturing and agriculture – potatoes, apples, and eventually cherries. But the city’s biggest economic windfall came in 1885, when it was designated as the site of the Northern Michigan Asylum, which became one of the city’s major employers and eventually housed a population several times larger than that of the town itself.

Today, the 480-acre site of the former hospital is known as the Grand Traverse Commons and is being redeveloped into a unique “village” of shops, restaurants, apartments and galleries. Developers are preserving both the castle-like Italianate century buildings that once housed staff and patients, while its lovely wooded campus has become a favorite place for hikers and cyclists.

As you can probably tell, I’ve made up for my initial ignorance by wandering around a lot of Traverse City’s historical site. But history isn’t just about big public buildings; some of this town’s most charming reminders of the past are in its lovingly-restored old homes and neighborhoods. Wonderful places for a stroll or a bicycle ride!

To learn more about the history of Traverse City, and for help with lodging, dining and other year-round fun, call us at Traverse City Tourism at 1-800-TRAVERSE or visit their Web site at www.traversecity.com

27156_4580575632833_1130134017_n - CopyFormer Coast Guardsman Mike Norton majored in history at the University of Michigan and spent 25 years as a newspaper writer and columnist in Traverse City. For the past decade, he’s been the media relations manager at Traverse City Tourism. He lives in the village of Old Mission.

Traverse City is a Mountain Biker’s Paradise

Every November, thousands of cyclists converge on Traverse City to compete in the 29-mile Iceman Cometh Challenge, the largest one-day point-to-point mountain bike race in the country. Mountain biking is a big draw in the hills and valleys around Traverse City in almost every season of the year, as cyclist Cody Sovis demonstrates.

Of the million-and-one reasons to visit the Grand Traverse Area, mountain biking is quickly becoming a more popular excuse to head up north and get a little dirty. The region attracts cyclists from all over the country — including those who prefer paved trails or the scenic roads of the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas – but it’s also home to some of the best trails in the state, and some of the biggest events around.

We’ve never taken our forests for granted around here. Traverse City is a special place where all the charms of a thriving downtown are just minutes from pristine woods, beaches, and miles and miles of trails to weave it all together. For me, it’s a real treat to have the ability to ride the Traverse Area Recreational Trail from downtown and be at the trailhead in just a few minutes.

One of the most popular trails in the area is the Vasa Pathway. In winter it’s home to the world-class North American Vasa ski race and gets the professional grooming treatment for ski and fat bike use as long as the snow sticks around. During the rest of the year, it’s usually peppered with riders out hitting famous landmarks like Anita’s Hill, the Wall and the Power Section. The terrain is open and rolling, with pockets of sand adding to the challenge of steep hills, fast descents and fast sections that test the legs and lungs. The Vasa Pathway also serves as the final kilometers of the Iceman Cometh Challenge, the largest single-day mountain bike race in North America.

Around here, the Iceman is king. People plan for it for months, registering in the spring and riding most of the summer with one eye on the first weekend in November. One of the biggest local rides is the Speed of Light, which takes in the last few miles of the Iceman. Over 5,000 people are registered for the race, including some of the best professional riders from around the world. We always welcome the big names, but we are rooting for the local guys to take the win.

I’ve always raced in the pro class, though it’s not about trying to win. It’s the chance to race the best riders in the world, and I won’t let the chance go by. It’s like getting to play a pickup game against Michael Jordan. You know you’re getting beat, but you get to tell everyone the story.

Cody Sovis with his bike just before the 2013 X100 50-Mile Gravel Road Race through Traverse City’s Boardman Valley (He took 4th place).

Intersecting the Pathways is another trail: the Vasa Singletrack. Though it has its own separate trailhead off Supply Road, this twisty, tight course winds and crosses with the Pathway, or the “25 K”, as it is popularly known. The Singletrack is a testing little loop, a bit over 12 miles long, offering up some great technical practice and a break from the wide-open speed of the Pathways. The Singletrack is tough. If you’re looking for a great ride that combines both, hop off the Singletrack at Marker 7, do the 25 K, then hop back onto the Singletrack when you cross at Marker 13. It’s the perfect blend of speed and technical riding.

If the Vasa is the most popular and oldest trail system, the Glacial Hills Pathways is certainly the newest and the hippest. Located in Bellaire, this brand-new system of professionally maintained trails has gotten rave reviews from beginners and experts alike. It’s a terrific blend of hills, flat and fast sections and beautiful views – and it certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s located just a mile or two from one of Michigan’s finest breweries, Short’s Brewery.

But you don’t even have to leave town to enjoy a great mountain biking loop. Traverse City’s former mental hospital, now The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, is home to a great network of trails. Riders have been climbing to the top of the hill for years, but the recent rise in mountain biking enthusiasm means there’s seldom a time you’ll go on the trails and not see a few other cyclists. It’s a short loop punctuated by steep, testing ascents with rewarding views of West Bay and screaming-fast descents back to the Village, where a host of coffee shops, bakeries, and other shops serve as a great place to refuel after the ride. The Commons is also home to the Conquer the Village Mountain Bike race, a new event that draws hundreds of racers each spring.

The arrival of a race like Conquer the Village was well overdue. So many riders were able to just roll through Traverse City to race on trails that they’ve ridden for years. I remember riding back there when I was five or six years old, my dad diligently riding behind me as I slowly made my way up to the top of the ridge and yelling all the way down the other side.

There are miles and miles of trail in the area, and nearly everyone has their own favorite loop. It’s a great place be a cyclist.

Have you been mountain biking in Traverse City? Tell us about your experience!

Cycling connoisseur Cody Sovis works at Einstein Cycles in Traverse City and maintains a cycling blog year round.