Michigan Travel Ideas Calendar

Featured in Pure Michigan 2014 Spring/Summer Issue, beginning on page 87.

March

Butterflies Are Blooming
Grand Rapids, March 1–April 30
Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory welcomes a colorful crowd of more than 40 butterfly species when the nation’s largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition arrives at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Listen for the tune of songbirds and the hum of waterfalls as you wander through the flowers that canvas the butterflies’ home. The Midwest’s own citizen, the monarch, demonstrates the butterfly’s metamorphosis—from milkweed-munching caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly—for all to see in the Grace Jarecki Seasonal Display Greenhouse (888/957-1580; www.meijergardens.org).

Great Bear Chase
Calumet, March 8
The Swedetown Trails swell with more than 500 cross-country skiers when this end-of-season event gets underway. Six different competitions, each separated into age divisions, give skiers a chance to compete in either classic or freestyle races at 10K, 25K and 50K distances. The Junior Bear Chase kicks off the competition under the lights on Friday night, but don’t miss the spaghetti feed before the youngsters begin their race. Make sure to stick around for pasties after Saturday’s races and the presentation of the sought-after handcrafted wooden skis, made locally and awarded to the first place finisher in each age group of the classic race. Those top 20 male finishers and the top 10 female finishers in the freestyle 50K will garner a locally made copper plaque. The top male and female finisher of each race also receive a locally-made copper bear paw. Stick around on Sunday for 10K and 25K Great Bear Chase Snow Bike Races at 9:50 a.m. on the Swedetown Trails (906/369-2460; www.greatbearchase.com).

Clare Irish Festival
Clare, March 14–16
Kilted runners steal the show at Saturday’s morning 5K and 10K road races. Catch a glimpse of the leprechauns in the Irish Festival’s afternoon parade. Bagpipers, the Scottville Clown Band and the White Pine Pipe and Drum Corp join the spectacle. Keep the Irish spirit alive with an afternoon of Irish recipe contests, green beer and corned beef, Celtic bands and jazz music. Other festival highlights include karaoke, bowling, a kids carnival, craft show and contests. If you’re feeling the luck of the Irish, enter the St. Patrick’s Day Raffle for a cash prize, or enter the raffle for a trip for two to Ireland (989/386-2442; www.clearlyclaremi.com).

CelticFest
Port Huron, March 15
St. Patrick’s Day starts early with a downtown parade, featuring floats, pipe bands, Irish flag, green hair, leprechaun hats and music. The Irish-American Club hosts the Grand Marshall’s Parade Party on Friday night at the Port Huron Yacht Club, complete with a band, snacks and cash bar. Come early on Saturday to run either 5K or 10K, or walk 2K, on Leprechaun Loop, and stay late for a pub crawl, transportation provided by St. Patty busses (www.irishamericanclub.org). 

Klondike Challenge
Oscoda, March 29–30
Canoe season opens in frigid waters at Michigan Canoe Racing Association’s Saturday race. More than 50 pairs and 20 individuals set out on the hour-long course at 1:00 p.m. Spectators can get involved, too, cheering on competitors at viewing points along Van Ettan Creek. The excitement continues on Sunday with 5K and 10K races for runners and walkers (989/820-5196; www.miracing.com).

April

National Trout Festival
Kalkaska, April 23–27
Catch the opening of fishing season in the nation’s trout capitol. Treat your taste buds to trout-themed cuisine from local restaurants at Taste of Trout, and cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award. On Friday, the kids prance through town for the Youth Parade, and Skerbeck Carnival and live music carry on their festival-long entertainment. The Grand Royale Parade continues the promenade on Saturday, entertaining more than 12,000 guests. The weekend fun keeps rolling with child and adult fishing contests, Kalkaska Idol, 5K and 10K runs and Whispering Pines Animal Kingdom. Spend the evening at the rodeo and end it with fireworks at dusk, and make a final splash on Sunday with a classic-car show and remote-controlled airplane and helicopter demonstrations (231/384-1509; www.nationaltroutfestival.com).

Maple Syrup Festival 
Shepherd, April 24–27
Sweeten the weekend with real maple syrup from the Shepherd Sugar Bush and a favorite maple candy. Carnival rides start the festivities on Thursday, and continue with Friday’s Firetruck Parade and Sunday’s Maple Syrup Parade. Enjoy the festival’s sugary sap at the pancake and sausage meals Friday through Sunday. Watch the festival king and queen be crowned on Friday, and compete in a laser tag tournament. With a 5K run on Saturday, classic-car show, tractor pull and craft show starting on Friday, the festival promises to be a sweet treat for all (989/828-5422; www.shepherdmaplesyrupfest.org).

Blossomtime Festival
Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, April 27–May 3
The Blessing of the Blossoms on Sunday welcomes more than 250,000 guests to the state’s oldest and largest multicommunity festival. With Mr. and Miss Blossomtime reigning over the week’s festivities, take in traditions such as vintage baseball, Shoebox Float and Youth Parades and a 5K run/walk. The Grand Floral Parade, featuring efflorescent floats, equestrian groups, precision drill teams and marching bands—all led by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Motorcycle Drill Team—is the big finale of the weeklong celebration (269/982-8016; www.blossomtimefestival.org). 

May

Tulip Time
Holland, May 3–10
Celebrate 85 years of Tulip Time with more than 6 million tulips. Traipse along 6 miles of tulip-lined streets known as Tulip Lane. Step back in time at the marktplaats, reminiscent of 19th-century Netherlands with Dutch foods, crafts, dancing and shopping. Stop by the marktplaats Tuesday through Saturday for lectures from a tulip master gardener. Wooden-shoe scrubbers and a white-glove inspector ensure the streets are fit for royalty at Wednesday’s Volksparade. The jubilee continues with Thursday’s Kinderparade of 7,000 local youngsters and Saturday’s Muziekparade, featuring Holland High’s Marching Dutchmen, complete with wooden shoes. Artisan demonstrations of traditional wooden shoe carving and weaving keep the old world charm alive at the marktplaats. Stick around for live entertainment every evening, including Friday’s headlining act, Bill Cosby, and keep an eye out all week for 1,300 authentically clad Dutch dancers. Make time to check out De Zwaan, Windmill Island Gardens’ own working windmill (800/822-2770; www.tuliptime.com).

National Morel Mushroom Festival
Boyne City, May 15–18
Get a full serving of these flavorful fungi and savor the views of Lake Charlevoix at this four-day festival. Start the weekend at 5:30 or 8 p.m. on Friday at Wine and Dine. This limited-seating, $45 flat-fee event at the Beach House Restaurant in Boyne Mountain Resort features five stations of morel hor d’oeuvres and complimentary wines. Continue the culinary-theme on Saturday at Taste of Morels, from noon to 3 p.m. A dozen local restaurants cater tapas-style samplings of different morel dishes with beer and wine available. The festival’s biggest event costs $3 per sampling, along with a $2 entrance fee. If you want to gather your own meal of morels, a guided hunt on Friday and a competitive hunt on Saturday offer opportunity. Stay all weekend for a morel breakfast at VFW Hall, a crafts fair and concerts in lakefront Veterans Park (231/-582-6222; www.morelfest.com).

Come to the East Lansing Art Festival. Photo Courtesy of Midwest Living/Johnny QuirinEast Lansing Art Festival
East Lansing, May 17–18
East Lansing bursts with art and excitement as more than 200 juried fine art and fine craft artisans from all across North America arrive for a creative exhibition and marketplace. Up-and-coming artists get a chance to shine at the Emerging Artist program. An outdoor stage also features musical acts of varied genres, including blues, folk and Celtic, all weekend. Diverse foods and eclectic flavors are available at the food court, which focuses particularly on local restaurants and culinary entrepreneurs. Little Picassos can spark their creativity at hands-on art activities, children’s theater performances, storytelling and instrument workshops (517/319-6804; www.elartfest.com).

Alma Highland Festival
Alma, May 24–25
With more than 40 clans in attendance, Scottish traditions take over the weekend. From Border Collie exhibitions to the U.S. Open Pipe Band Championship Supreme; from Highland dance competitions to hammer throws, caber tosses and other Scottish heavyweight athletic events, the festival is filled with authentic Scottish events. Entertainment tents with traditional music by Chelsea House Orchestra, Mudmen and the like, as well as a parade featuring pipers and drummers, are highlights of the weekend. Saturday’s 5K and 10K runs, kids’ fun run and arts-and-crafts fair are festival staples (989/463-8979; www.almahighlandfestival.com).

Native American Festival
St. Ignace, May 24–25
Come and honor the first Native Americans and the Anishinabe culture with drumming, dancing, food, music and cultural demonstrations on the Museum of Ojibwa Culture grounds (906/643-9161; www.stignace.com).

Fort Michilimackinac Reenactment Pageant
Mackinaw City, May 24–26
Colonial Michilimackinac, a reconstructed French fur-trading post, comes alive when a cast of Native Americans, French voyageurs and British redcoats reenact a 1763 Native American attack on Fort Michilimackinac. Michigan’s largest Memorial Day Parade joins the free event on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. and features marching bands, floats, the Scottville Clown Band, military units and, of course, the pageant cast (231/436-5574; www.fmpcfestival.org).

Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix
Detroit, May 30–June 1
The newly-created Tudor United Sports Car Championship brings together the Le Mans Series and the GRAND-AM ROLEX Sports Car Series for an all-new sports car racing event. The debut season comes to town with the Pirelli World Challenge Championship Series and the Dual in Detroit, which hosts two IndyCar races. Head to Belle Isle Park for the big races, Saturday’s concert, family fun, local bands and more (313/748-1800; www.DetroitGP.com).


June

Jackson County Rose Parade and Picnic in the Park
Jackson, June 1
Close to 100 entries make the Rose Parade one of Michigan’s largest. Featuring local bands and floats from community businesses, churches and agencies, the parade is a community event. Lasting about an hour and a half, the parade starts in downtown and ends next to Ella Sharp Park, the destination for after-parade events. Activities for the kids include coloring tents, face painting, and police cars and fire trucks on display for youngsters to look inside. A fire truck pull attracts teams for a fee, but is free for visitors to enjoy, as is the laser light show in Peter F. Hurst Planetarium and the classic-car show. Fill up on barbecue and food from other vendors during the day at the park (517/764-4440; www.jacksonrosefestival.org).

National Asparagus Festival
Hart, June 6–8
Fill up on this healthy spear at the community picnic. Farm tours and a food show focus on the flavorful veggie. Listen to live music on Friday and Saturday night, and stop by the arts-and-crafts fair during the weekend. Stay moving on Saturday with a 5K run/walk and parade. Settle down at the airport on Sunday to watch planes fly in for breakfast, at cost, and an aircraft display (231/861-8110; www.nationalasparagusfestival.org).

Mackinac Island Lilac Festival
Mackinac Island, June 6–15
Fragrance fills the air during the 10-day-celebration of more than 100 varieties of lilacs. Sip afternoon tea at the renowned Grand Hotel and enjoy the island’s architecture with walking tours. Lilac lovers can learn how to care for their bushes at Walk and Talk with Lilacs. Legends and Lore treks provide exercise walks through the forest. A traditional dog-and-pony show and the popular culinary event Taste of Mackinac are also part of this event. The Lilac Festival Grand Parade wraps up the festival on Father’s Day at 4:00 p.m. The horse-hitched parade is completely non-motor vehicles, comprised instead of marching bands, bikes and the Lilac Festival Queen (800/454-5227; www.mackinacislandlilacfestival.org)

Bavarian Festival
Frankenmuth, June 12–15
Little Bavaria hosts the state’s oldest and largest annual German gala, featuring authentically clad bands, traditional food, beer and dancing. Kinder Tag on Saturday is all about the kids, with a morning parade. On Sunday, join 75,000 visitors for the annual Bavarian Parade, the perfect start to Sunday’s festivities in Heritage Park—free of admission. Move along all weekend to Bavarian tunes played by authentically dressed German bands at the Pavilion (800/386-3378; www.frankenmuthfestivals.com).

Waterfront Film Festival
South Haven, June 12–15
Michigan goes Hollywood when more than 80 independent films from across the globe arrive in the beachtown. Walk or catch a free bus ride to the premieres, and stay after the showings for Q&A sessions with filmmakers. Panel discussions with the actors, directors and producers let the festival’s 16,000 guests go behind-the-scenes. Make sure to bring a lawn chair for opening night, when an outdoor movie premieres on the lakefront, and downtown streets are blocked off for live music, food vendors and one big celebration with the stars (269/767-8765; www.waterfrontfilm.org). 

Cereal City Festival
Battle Creek, June 13–14
Friday’s parade down Michigan Avenue showcases the cereal industry’s birthplace with its famous morning-meal characters, along with floats, bikes and kids. On Saturday, Kellogg’s, Post, Ralston Foods and Prairie Farms invite visitors to eat free at the world’s longest breakfast table. Complete the weekend with healthy living activities, conversations with living-history characters, musical entertainment and a classic-car show (269/420-4031; www.bcfestivals.com).

Flag Day Celebration
Three Oaks, June 13–15
The nation’s largest celebration of the American flag is a three-day event with Art in the Park, a pet parade and a hog roast. Activities for the kids are available, including a talent show for children and adults on Saturday and a dance for teens. On Sunday, the world’s largest Flag Day parade begins at 3 p.m. and features more than 100 units honoring the United States flag, veterans and servicemen and women (269/612-0441; www.threeoaksflagday.com).

Leland Wine and Food Festival
Leland, June 14
Savor the festival flavors with award-winning regional wines, fresh food prepared by local restaurants specifically for the festival and live music, all under big, white tents on the beachfront park on Lake Michigan. Ring in the weekend with Grape Expectations, a pre-festival opening event on Friday night in the Old Art Building. Attendees can view the artwork competing to be the festival poster, sip on vintner’s flagship wines and indulge in appetizers from local eateries, all to the tune of a live pianist. Festivalgoers can continue to cast their vote for the festival poster artwork through Saturday (877/535-2631; www.lelandmi.com).

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400
Brooklyn, June 15
Gear up for high-powered Father’s Day action at Michigan International Speedway. Fans witness breathtaking speeds on NASCAR’s fastest track: Joey Logano posted a track-record qualifying speed of 203.949 mph on the two-mile oval last year. Be sure to arrive early for the weekend’s festivities, and stay in one of 8,000 campsites at the state’s largest campground. Catch NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying races and the ARCA Racing Series on Friday. Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series features future Sprint Cup Series drivers (800/354-1010; www.mispeedway.com).

St. Mary’s River Cruise
DeTour Village, June 15
Treat Dad to a memorable Father’s Day with a cruise around DeTour Reef Lighthouse on a 65-foot double decker. A mile offshore, this 83-foot tall Classic-Revival-style lighthouse sits on a man-made crib instead of an island. Day cruise-goers set sail from the Lake Huron side of St. Marys River and travel north to the Soo Locks, where the boat crosses into Lake Superior. Breakfast and a buffet-style lunch are provided, and historical narration animates the river and lighthouse (906/297-6051; www.drlps.com/events/RiverCruise.aspx).

Antiques on the Bay
St. Ignace, June 20–21
Check out original, unmodified classic cars displayed along St. Ignace’s downtown waterfront. All vehicles are 25 years or older, and period clothing brings the cars’ history to life. Entertainment and a rally on Mackinac Bridge are also part of the free, family-friendly festivities (906/643-8087; www.nostalgia-prod.com).

Detroit River Days
Detroit, June 20–22
Soak up the sights and sounds of River Days with more than 100,000 guests. From the Renaissance Center to Milliken State Park and Harbor, the International Riverfront exhibits tall ships, sand sculptures, riverboat tours and Jet Ski demonstrations. Artists showcase their large works of art at the popular Detroit River ArtScape competition, and more than 50 national and local acts perform live (313/566-8215; www.detroitriverdays.com).

Ford Fireworks and Official Rooftop Party
Detroit, June 23
Motor City hosts one of the largest international fireworks shows, a 30-minute spectacular for more than 1 million onlookers. Viewing points are open at certain locations in downtown Detroit, but the best view for the big show is at the Official Rooftop Party, where the family fun—including music, games, prizes and food—starts in the early evening on downtown’s Miller Parking Garage. The fun continues all evening at this fundraiser for the Parade Company, which stages America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van Furniture (313/923-7400; www.theparade.org).

St. Ignace Car Show
St. Ignace, June 26–28
Nostalgia runs deep at Thursday’s Kewadin Casino-sponsored Cruise Night, when several hundred antique and classic cars, hot rods, custom cruisers and pickups coast into town. Friday night’s Down Memory Lane Parade keeps the memories of yesteryear alive with cherished participants like the St. Ignace Fire Department, complete with its 1929 Model A Ford. Saturday offers a sentimental display of hot rods, classic and antique cars, pickups and custom cruisers lining State Street (906/643-8087; www.nostalgia-prod.com).

Michigan Challenge Balloonfest
Howell, June 27–29
More than 40 hot-air balloons brighten the sky during the state championship competition and mass launches. During the day, stunt kites perform choreographed routines to music, artists display their handmade work in a juried arts festival and skydivers perform precision maneuvers. On Saturday night, the Balloon Glow and skydiving performers—complete with pyrotechnic sparks trailing their paths—keep the night sky alight (517/546-3920: www.michiganchallenge.com). 

Art on the Beach
Oscoda, June 28–29
Mosey along Lake Huron’s shoreline in Oscoda Beach Park as the works of 125 juried artisans are displayed for sale. Fine art, crafts, photographs, and even toys, such as handcrafted extreme squirt guns and marshmallow shooters, make for an assorted exposition of art. Food vendors offer their culinary creations to visitors, as well (800/235-4625; www.oscodachamber.com). 


July

Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival
Battle Creek, July ¬2–6
W.K. Kellogg Airport hosts a high-flying week, beginning with hot-air balloon launches at 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., top air shows performing acrobatic maneuvers and pilots aviating precision flights. Enjoy festival fun on land with carnival rides, entertainment performances, an arts-and-crafts festival and novelty and commercial booths. Watch the fireworks on July 4, and eat all week from food vendors serving pizza and ribs (269/962-0592; www.bcballoons.com).  

Manistee National Forest Festival
Manistee, July 2–6
Guided tours and sunset hikes welcome visitors to honor Manistee National Forest. Sandcastle sculpting contests, beach dances and fireworks over Lake Michigan celebrate the 280,000-acre preservation. A carnival, juried arts-and-crafts sale, live music and Fourth of July Grand Parade entertain tens of thousands of festivalgoers, as do Saturday’s Customs-n-Classics Car Club Cruise and Sunday’s car show (231/723-2575; www.manisteechamber.com).

Ludington Area Jaycees Freedom Festival
Ludington, July 3–4
The Ludington Area Jaycees keep the 140-year-old Independence Day tradition alive as more than 30,000 people line Ludington Avenue for the holiday’s Grand Parade. Bands, floats, dignitaries and the Scottville Clown Band celebrate the nation and honor its veterans. Competing in categories ranging from Most Creative to Best Pet Costume, creativity runs high at Thursday night’s Children and Pet Parade. Kids, pets, bikes and wagons are covered in red, white and blue for the patriotic-themed event—you may even catch Captain America walking by. Finish the celebration the American way—with fireworks over Lake Michigan on Friday night (www.ludingtonareajaycees.org).

Fourth of July Celebration
St. Ignace, July 4
A small-town celebration’s nostalgic sentiment and the scenery of Lake Huron and Mackinac Island combine for a memorable Independence Day. The parade starts at 1:00 p.m., and Kiwanis Kid’s games and a community picnic follow at 2:00 p.m. Fireworks over Moran Bay begin at dusk, signaling the end of a patriotic Friday (800/338-6660; www.stignace.com).

National Cherry Festival
Traverse City, July 5–12
Tangy tastes and festival fun come together in more than 150 events, including Cherry Farm Market and Cherries Grand Buffet. Cherries D’Vine features cherry-based cuisine and wine pairings, while cherry-farm tours let you see the fruit before the feast. The Cherry Capital of the World also hosts a pit-spit contest, cherry pie-eating contests for all ages, 15K Festival of Races, weeklong hole-in-one golf contests, live music and airshows featuring the famous U.S. Navy Blue Angels. The Cherry Royale Parade and fireworks over Lake Michigan’s West Grand Traverse Bay finish the festival on Saturday (800/968-3380; www.cherryfestival.org).

Watch the sailboats in the Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race. Photo Courtesy of Midwest Living/Jason LindseyBell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race
Port Huron and Mackinac Island, July 12–15
Port Huron’s Blue Water Fest starts the fun on Wednesday, and continues with concerts Friday through Saturday and a carnival. On Saturday at 10:00 a.m., more than 200 sailboats begin the race from Port Huron to Mackinac Island, the world’s second largest freshwater race. Mariners sail on two separate courses, a 204-nautical mile shore course for cruising and a 252-nautical-mile cove course for sailors seeking a challenge. Sunday through Tuesday, crowds can welcome the arriving seafarers at Mackinac Island. A lighted-boat parade in Port Huron and an awards party on the lawn of the Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island reward racers and spectators (313/822-1853; www.bycmac.com).

Fireworks over the Bay
St. Ignace, July 12–August 30, Saturdays
Take your lawn chair to downtown St. Ignace or anywhere along the waterfront to watch the fireworks over Moran Bay in Lake Huron every Saturday night (800/338-6660; www.stignace.com).

Alpenfest
Gaylord, July 15–19
Sip to the start of this 4-day festival with the World’s Largest Coffee Break on Wednesday at the pavilion, following the 9:00 a.m. walking parade. Doughnuts, milk and juice are also available at this free event. Stroll along Main Street’s Alpenstrasse to see authentic dirndls, Alpine vests and felt hats on display at the open-air arts-and-crafts show. Yodeling contests and the tune of 8-foot Alpenhorns bring Alpine sounds to town. Alpenfest Grand Parade, nightly entertainment, and a $3 Alpenfest pin for daily food events make for an alpine good time (800/345-8621; www.gaylordalpenfest.com). 

Ann Arbor Art Fair
Ann Arbor, July 16–19
Four juried art fairs equal one big event when more than 1,000 artists fill downtown streets and around University of Michigan’s central campus. Ann Arbor Street Fair, the original; State Street Area Art Fair; Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair and Ann Arbor’s South University Art Fair attract more than 500,000 visitors, munching on fresh food, listening to live music, watching artist demonstrations and engaging in artistic activities (800/888-9487; www.theannarborartfair.org).

National Baby Food Festival
Fremont, July 16–19
Everyone’s a Gerber baby when the company’s birthplace hosts its annual festival. Baby crawl and baby photo contests, bed races and frog-jumping contests delight kids of all ages in the Baby Food Capital of the World. The children’s parade of decorated bikes on Wednesday, tricycle races for adults on Friday, an arts-and-crafts fair Friday and Saturday, a weeklong Kid’s Zone and entertainment every night ensure festival fun at any age (231/924-0770; www.babyfoodfest.com).

Hot Air Jubilee
Jackson, July 18–20
Find a spot in Ella Sharp Park for hot-air balloon launches at 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Stay after dark for Night Glow, when tethered hot-air balloons are illuminated, and live musical performances. During daylight, browse craft booths, classic cars and antique tractors, or stop by Kids’ Kingdom, featuring inflatable games and a tent full of contests and prizes (517/782-1515; www.hotairjubilee.com). 

Sunrise Side Wine and Food Festival
Harrisville, July 19
The Big Top tent on Lake Huron’s Sunrise Side signals the start of this flavorful festival. Winemakers pour their choice wines, brewers tap kegs of local brews and regional restaurant chefs serve unique eats. Listen to live music and walk through the display of local artwork while you pamper your palate at Northeast Michigan’s largest wine and food festival (989/724-5107; www.alconacountychamberofcommerce.com/events/winefoodfest.htm).

St. Ignace Fish Feast
St. Ignace, July 19
The ‘Home of the Great Lakes Fish Fry’ brings fish delicacies from local restaurants, live music and beverages to St. Ignace Marina Pier. Kids can join the fun at Trout Fishing Pond or with a variety of other games. Fireworks over the bay at dusk promise a show for all (800/338-6660; www.stignace.com).

Quake on the Lake
Pontiac Lake, July 19–20
Watch American Power Boat Association’s Summer National Championship return for an unprecedented third-consecutive year to the fastest course in the country—Pontiac Lake’s one-mile oval. More than 19 world records have been set at the event from vehicles like inboards and Grand Prix boats, which can reach up to 160 mph. With such high speeds and the American Power Boat Association racing the fastest automotive-powered watercraft in the world, the event does live up to the name—Pontiac Lake actually quakes as boats speed through hot laps, qualifying heats and finals. For some land-based speed machines, check out high-performance cars, classic cruisers and hot rods at Flaming Pistons Autorama. Saturday will also feature Quake’s Christmas in July craft show, a family fun zone, concerts and camping at Pontiac Lake Recreation Area (www.quakeonthelake.org). 

Charlevoix Venetian Festival
Charlevoix, July 19–26
The lakefront festival has been enjoying the spirit of summer since 1930 with Venetian Games such as tennis, foot races, swimming, croquet and bike, board and blade races. Aquapalooza kicks off the festival with an on-the-water party, while national and local musical acts, a street parade and sailing keep up excitement all week. Visit the dock on Lake Charlevoix to bid bon voyage to the celebration at Saturday’s Venetian Boat Parade, where the bedecked crafts compete in various categories. Don’t miss the fireworks finale after the parade (231/547-3872; www.venetianfestival.com).

Pine Mountain Music Festival
Iron Mountain, Houghton and Marquette areas, two weeks in mid-July
Classical music and opera concerts bring music lovers to this summer series. Evening opera concerts, Bergonzi String Quartet concerts and workshops for children provide music appreciation for all ages. Throughout the festival, 21 performances take place. Those wanting to delve deeper into the music can chat with performers and directors at an opening gala, dinner and reception (888/309-7861; www.pmmf.org).

Cruz’in Classic Car Show
Montague, July 25
Auto history comes alive at the car show: all classic cars, hot rods and muscle cars are pre-1975. Find a point along the mile route from Whitehall to Montague, and watch the 7:00 p.m. parade of vintage vehicles, ranging from the earliest automobiles to well-restored classics, corvettes, and cruisers adorned with flaming exhaust pipes. After the parade, chat with car owners as they line the streets of downtown Montague. Classic records play for the whole family’s enjoyment at this alcohol-free evening (231/893-1155; www.whitelake.org).

Little Traverse Yacht Club Annual Ugotta Regatta
Harbor Springs and Petoskey, July 25–27
Little Traverse Bay swells with 80 sailboats for one of the nation’s oldest regattas. Spectators can find excellent viewing areas at Harbor Springs and Petoskey’s downtown waterfronts; Bluff Drive in Harbor Springs, Zorn and Josephine Ford Parks and Petoskey State Park. Enjoy maritime moments all weekend between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day (depending on wind delays), walking along the docks of the City Marina afterward to view the sailboats (231/526-7919; www.ltyc.org).

Saginaw Chippewa Annual Tribal Powwow
Mount Pleasant, July 25–27
The Saginaw Chippewa Tribe honors its Native American heritage at one of the Indian Nation’s largest events. Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Campgrounds hosts more than 350 dancers performing to traditional songs and dances, drum groups competing and Michigan’s largest powwow. Authentic regalia, crafts and foods commemorate and demonstrate Native American culture (989/775-4000; www.sagchip.org).

65th Annual AuSable River International Canoe Marathon
Grayling and Oscoda, July 26–27
Canoeists paddle the AuSable River for 120 miles, racing through night and morning for more than 11 hours. Beginning in Grayling at 9:00 p.m., the longest nonstop professional canoe race—and grandfather of canoeing competitions—starts Le Mans-style: racers carrying canoes overhead, sprinting to the river and jumping into their watercrafts. Onlookers can travel from bridge to bridge to watch the race unfold, and can also pull over their vehicles near the dam to observe. The athletes complete the endurance challenge between 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Sunday in Oscoda, where the weekend celebration continues with finish line activities. To start celebrating early, the AuSable River Festival runs from Tuesday through Saturday and concludes with the race start in Grayling (989/348-4425, www.ausablecanoemarathon.org; 800/937-8837, www.grayling-mi.com; 800/235-4625, www.oscodachamber.com).

Maker Faire Detroit
Dearborn, July 26–27
Spark your inner inventor when 400-plus developers exhibit their works, ranging from robots to flame shooters; solar-powered mechanical sculptures to fashionable finds, at The Henry Ford Museum. The family-friendly event encourages unconventional ingenuity, unbridled creativity and forward thinking by celebrating the technology, artistry, engineering and education that today’s at-home inventors embody. While marveling at the next big thing, take a look back at the inventive oddities of days gone by, such as Henry Ford’s 1896 quadricycle (313/981-6001 or 800/835-5237; www.makerfairedetroit.com).  

Nautical City Festival
Rogers City, July 29–August 3
Opening night begins with the Sailor’s Memorial, honoring the lives of sailors lost and boats that have gone down in the Great Lakes. The local Veterans of Foreign Wars conducts the memorial service, which is followed by a performance of the city band at the Lakeside Park Band Shell. In the main tent by the harbor, a $40 Texas Hold ‘Em tournament also takes place on opening night. Wednesday is Kiddie Day and the first day of the festival’s amusement rides. Kiddie Parade and a teen dance at night in the main tent complete the day for youngsters. The juried arts-and-crafts show runs from Friday through Sunday, featuring more than 100 exhibitors and food vendors on the courthouse lawn. Those looking for some competition can take part in the weekend men’s and women’s softball tournament or Saturday’s volleyball tournament. An antique car show on Saturday, German and Polish dinners during the festival, live music under the main tent and Sunday’s parade make for a ship-shape festival (Chamber of Commerce 800/622-4148 or Festival Office 989/734-4656; www.nauticalfestival.org). 


August

Waterfront Arts Festival
Escanaba, August 2
Artist demonstrations, a young artists’ market and an art raffle supplement this juried arts festival from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Artists display paintings, glasswork, pottery, jewelry, fiber creations and other fine arts and crafts in Ludington Park on Lake Michigan’s Little Bay de Noc. The Escanaba City Band, family-friendly music and a barbershop quartet add musical accompaniment at the band shell. Stop by food vendors to refuel during the artistic event (906/786-3833; www.bonifasarts.org).  

Bayside Music Festival
St. Ignace, August 2
Dance around downtown as a series of bands bring the beat to the pier. A beer-and-wine tent and food concessions are also available on the waterfront, along with kids’ games and attractions like ring toss, a dunk tank and a bounce house in the marina parking lot. Fireworks at dusk let guests enjoy the lights in the sky (800/338-6660; www.stignace.com). 

Abbott’s Magic Get-Together
Colon, August 6–9
The world’s largest manufacturer of magic tricks promises a spellbinding 80th birthday celebration. Acclaimed magicians mesmerize with street and evening stage performances, at ticket-price, in the Magic Capital of the World. Magic dealers teach their tricks and offer magic for sale to those wanting to try their own slight of hand. Buskers captivate crowds on city streets. Visitors can learn about some of Colon’s most well-known illusionists at the cemetery tour, which features 30 magicians’ graves. Complete the enchanting experience with a crafts fair and fireworks on Friday (269/432-3235; www.magicgettogether.com).

National Blueberry Festival (51st annual)
South Haven, August 7–10
Blueberries and beaches are the perfect combination when more than 40,000 visitors arrive for fruitful fun. Blueberry Central offers fresh-picked blueberries, pies and jams, or you-pick bunch of berries. Basketball and volleyball tournaments and sand sculpting keep visitors active, while daily music entertainment from local acts, cover bands and a featured performer let guests relax on the riverfront. A pint-size pie-eating contest, carnival rides and storytelling are highlights of Friday’s kids’ activities. Saturday’s 5K and 10K runs, golf scramble and parade and Sunday’s car show fly-in breakfast at the airport—complete with blueberry pancakes—ensure a sweet treat for all (800/764-2836; www.blueberryfestival.com).

River Raisin Jazz Festival
Monroe, August 7–10
Live jazz washes over the banks of the Historic River Raisin for the 13th year, when free concerts by regional and national acts perform in St. Mary’s Park. Past performers include Kenny G, David Sanborn and Michigan-native Bob James. A second stage exclusively for local and regional acts is located in the Downtown Fine Art Fair, where around 60 artists sell their work. St. Mary Catholic Central School hosts the food court, featuring everything from barbecued chicken to giant turkey legs (800/252-3011; www.riverraisinjazzfestival.com). 

Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show and Festival of Arts
Hessel, August 9
Hessel’s charming harbor becomes a display of classic watercrafts when boats drop anchor. Sailboats, cruisers, racers, canoes, dinghies, fiberglass boats and steam and gas-powered launches compete for the top place in their categories. Listen to live music and saunter along the dock to explore the restored vessels and view the works of 70 juried artisans, on sale at the Festival of Arts (906/484-2821; www.lchistorical.org).

Upper Peninsula State Fair
Escanaba, August 11–17
For more than 85 years, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula state fair has been a summertime staple. Agricultural exhibits and young entrepreneurs in the stock building; the Miracle of Life Educational Pavilion; chainsaw carving; the UP Steam and Gas Engine Village and the State of Michigan DNR Pocket Park, a small park with archery ranges and fishing for kids, as well as a pond shaped like the Upper Peninsula, are crowd favorites. Fair food is a must with such vendor creations as Croatian chicken, Norm’s French fries, UP-dairy-made ice cream and pulled taffy (906/786-4011; www.upstatefair.org).

Gold Wing Road Riders Midnight Ride
Grand Rapids and St. Ignace, August 15–16
When midnight strikes on August 16, riders begin their journey from Grand Rapids to downtown St. Ignace via the Mackinac Bridge. As the early morning rolls on, the crowd grows with new bikers joining along the way. Once the riders arrive in St. Ignace on Saturday morning, a bike display at Mackinac Grill and Starline Railroad Dock are available for visitors to view. Saturday night’s Parade of Lights and fireworks end the annual weekend ride (800/338-6660; www.stignace.com).

Wild Blueberry Festival
Paradise, August 15–17
Double-harvest time promises blueberry bliss at the celebration of low-bush harvest’s end and high-bush harvest’s beginning. Delight in blueberry brunch and a bake sale of wild blueberry pie, buckle and muffins. Puppeteers, magicians, storytellers and jugglers indulge visitors at the arts-and-crafts fair. Unwind with horse-drawn wagon rides at dusk, and let the kids’ artistic talent loose at a minimal-cost craft tent. Entertain the family for the weekend with pie-eating contests for the kids and Blueberry Jamboree’s live music on Friday and Saturday (906/492-3219; www.paradisemichigan.org).

Woodward Dream Cruise
Detroit, August 16
The 20th anniversary of the world’s largest one-day automotive event guarantees a good time and great surprises. Classic cars from all over the world arrive for the free cruise. More than 1.5 million spectators find a spot to watch 40,000 classic cars cruise a 16-mile stretch of historic Woodward Avenue (www.woodwarddreamcruise.com).

GRandJazzFest
Grand Rapids, August 16–17
Swing into Rosa Parks circle in the heart of downtown for this third-annual free festival. More than 9,000 visitors gather to hear well-known and up-and-coming jazz instrumentalist, singers, big bands and ensembles perform. Western Michigan’s largest jazz festival celebrates many area musicians and the local businesses in downtown Grand Rapids (616/617-7720; www.grandjazzfest.org).

Michigan Renaissance Festival
Holly, August 16–September 28 (weekends and Labor Day)
Be transported back to the 16th-century at the kingdom of Hollygrove. Mingle with knights in shining armor and ladies in majestic gowns at seven themed weekends. Watch live, full-armored jousting, jump right into grape stomping and walk through the Mermaid Lagoon to see live mermaids. Professional and amateur bakers compete in Cupcake Crusades by entering four cupcakes into their respective categories for judges to determine who should receive the cash prize and free season tickets for 2015. Attend live theater acts on 16 stages, listen to medieval music and shop from 200 vendors selling leather and wooden goods; Scotch eggs, glassware and jewelry; and Scotch eggs and giant turkey legs (800/601-4848; www.michrenfest.com). 

NASCAR Spring Cup Series 2014. Photo Courtesy of Midwest Living/Johnny QuirinNASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400
Brooklyn, August 17
Race to Michigan International Speedway for the closing of its Sprint Cup Series at the fastest two-mile track in NASCAR. Set in scenic Irish Hills, great camping areas abound for early arrivals and nature lovers. Bring your cooler (as long as it meets stadium requirements) and pick up your tickets—they’re free for kids under 12 and affordable for adults, too (800/354-1010; www.mispeedway.com).

St. Ignace History Week
St. Ignace, August 17–22
Local museums offer special presentations, community walking tours, historical fashion shows, genealogy classes and more during this weeklong tribute to the town’s rich history. Native American singing, geocaching and a variety of other events promise a proud celebration of community history, ending with a downtown parade on Friday (800/338-6660; www.stignace.com).

Rendezvous at the Straits Powwow
St. Ignace, August 23–24
Visit French encampments, watch demonstrations, shop authentic wares from vendors, watch Native American dancing and drumming ceremonies and sample traditional Native American food during this two-in-one French voyager re-enactment and traditional powwow. The celebration takes place at the Father Marquette National Memorial and concludes with fireworks (800/338-6660; www.stignace.com).

Detroit Jazz Festival
Detroit, August 29–September 1
The city sways to the beat of jazz performers when downtown Detroit buzzes with free concerts from Hart Plaza to Campus Martius. With a singular lineup of today’s greatest jazz musicians; performances by annual competition winners, including emerging artists and composers and Jazz Talk Tent for panel discussions, interviews, presentations and unplugged performances, the festival promotes the history and culture of jazz (313/447-1248; www.detroitjazzfest.com).

The Michigan State Fair—A Private Entity, LLC
Novi, August 29–September 1
Suburban Collection Showplaces hosts the private entity-produced Michigan State Fair, a commemoration of Michigan’s new agricultural endeavors and state fair traditions. Celebrating all things Michigan, from the people, products, agriculture and tourism, that state fair includes the Detroit Shrine Circus performing under the world’s largest circus tent, agricultural and livestock exhibitions and competitions, Michigan Made Pavilion, carnival treats, live entertainment and Midway rides (248/348-5600; www.michiganstatefairllc.com).

Arts and Crafts Dockside
St. Ignace, August 30–31
The downtown waterfront becomes a display of more than 100 artists’ and crafters’ unique creations. Grab a snack and enjoy the music while perusing the artworks, and stay for fireworks at dusk (906/643-8717; www.saintignace.net).

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