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!

Fall in Love with Ann Arbor this Valentine’s Day

We love Valentine’s Day here in the Ann Arbor area. Whether you’re single, in a relationship, married or anywhere in-between, there’s a surplus of unique and fun things to do in mid-February.

Single and ready to mingle? Join the party at Necto’s second annual University of Michigan Top DJ Competition on Feb. 11, and vote for your favorite guest DJ, or head out for a show at The Ark. On Feb. 11 The Ark will host My Folky Valentine, a collaboration of sweethearts making lovely music together and on Feb. 12, Christine Lavin and Don White will be there to entertain you. On Valentine’s Day itself, Caravan of Thieves will play the Ark and perform their new release, “Kiss Kiss.” Perhaps you’re more interested in a pampering experience? Treat yourself to a relaxing treatment at Jessica’s Apothecary or Balance Massage Therapy. And, you can always celebrate your true love for Michigan sports by cheering on the Wolverine Men’s Basketball Team at the Crisler Center when they take on Purdue on Saturday, Feb. 13!

Photo Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Looking for a unique experience for you and your sweetie? Take him or her out for an evening of opera and spectacular food on Feb. 12 at Gratzi! The Bellini Opera Theatre will be there to perform selections from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, and Gratzi’s Chef John Fischer will create a beautiful three-course dinner. The Kempf House Museum will host “Victorian Valentine Teas” on both Feb.13 and 14, featuring beautiful music played on Ann Arbor’s first concert grand piano and scrumptious sweets, savories and teas, all in an intimate and historic setting. If choral music is your thing, you should definitely mark your calendar for Feb. 14 to see the UMS Choral Union, as they present Love is Strong as Death at the iconic Hill Auditorium (and use promo code PUREMI to get $10 off on tickets!).

Photo Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

For a more traditional dinner-and-a-movie date night, consider Romeo+Juliet (yes, the 1996 Baz Lurhmann classic!) at the Michigan Theater following a delectable dinner at one of the Ann Arbor area’s fine dining establishments. You can’t beat Terry B’s in Dexter, the Common Grill in Chelsea, or Aventura in Ann Arbor (among many others)! Finish off the evening with a kiss under the Engineering Arch (legend has it that imminent nuptials will ensue!), a sweet baked treat at the Cupcake Station, and/or drinks and dessert in a romantic setting at La Dolce Vita. If you really want to go the extra mile, you can hire The Huron Valley Harmonizers to serenade your sweetie with love songs.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

What are your favorite Valentine’s Day traditions in the Ann Arbor area? Are there romantic upcoming events in mid-February that get your heart racing? 

GuestBloggersMargaret Wyzlic is the Communications Manager at the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and enjoys telling the world about the Ann Arbor area and all of the exciting things happening in our beautiful city. Recently married, she and her husband enjoy all that Ann Arbor has to offer when it comes to romantic restaurants and attractions, and hopes that you’ll come to visit our area as well to ‘”feel the love.”

Eight Things to Know About Slippery Rock University’s Big House Battle in Ann Arbor

Today, guest blogger Laura Berarducci from Visit Ann Arbor shares eight fun facts about Slippery Rock University’s Big House Battle versus Mercyhurst University on October 18, 2014.

Photo courtesy of Slippery Rock Athletics

Photo courtesy of Slippery Rock Athletics

The voices of many football fans will echo throughout The Big House this year—and not just during University of Michigan games. Fan favorites Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania will play its conference rival Mercyhurst University at Michigan Stadium on Saturday, October 18 in the Big House Battle. Below are some fun facts and inside information about this legendary event!

1. The University of Michigan football public address announcer, Steve Filipiak, started a 55-year tradition (and counting) when he announced the Slippery Rock score during the 1959 Wolverine football game. The score has been read at every home football game since.

2. Slippery Rock’s school colors are green and white. Mercyhurst colors are green and blue. Special apparel celebrating the event will be for sale at the game.

Photo courtesy of Slippery Rock Athletics

Photo courtesy of Slippery Rock Athletics

3. This will be the third visit by Slippery Rock to the Big House. The first visit was in 1979 against Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. The second was in 1981 versus Wayne State. The Rock lost both games.

4. The Slippery Rock football attendance record was set during the 1979 game: 61,143.

5. Rocky, The Pride of the Rock, is the school’s unofficial mascot. His appearance resembles a lion, but with a mossy green mane. This will be Rocky’s second visit to the Big House after being introduced to fans in 2010 during a halftime ceremony honoring Slippery Rock.

Slippery Rock's Mascot, Rocky - Photo by Steve Wiseman and 104.3 WOMC

Slippery Rock’s Mascot, Rocky – Photo by Steve Wiseman and 104.3 WOMC

6. Slippery Rock University (also known as “The Rock”), located north of Pittsburgh and 265 miles east of Ann Arbor, is a NCAA Division II school and part of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. Michigan Division II schools include Wayne State University and Northern Michigan University.

7. Fans wishing to purchase individual tickets can do so online through the U-M ticket office. Individual tickets are $20; groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets at $5 each; a family package that includes four tickets, four hot dogs and four soft drinks is available for $50.

8. All students at Slippery Rock, Mercyhurst and Michigan will be admitted to the game for free.

Laura Berarducci is the Director of Marketing for the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and has been an Ann Arbor resident for more than 30 years. Even though she graduated from Indiana University, her heart bleeds Maize and Blue — except for on October 18 when she’ll wear green in the Big House to cheer on The Rock. For more information about Ann Arbor and festive fall activities, check out www.VisitAnnArbor.org