12+ Unique and Funky Summer Festivals in Michigan
There’s so much to see and do in Michigan throughout the summer, but why not mix it up and take a trip to visit an upcoming festival? Whether you’re into morel mushrooms, mermaids, music or food, there’s bound to be a festival to pique your interest. Here’s a list of some of the most unique festivals this summer:
1. National Morel Mushroom Festival – Boyne City – May
When spring blossoms in Michigan, so do the Morel Mushrooms. All ages are welcome to join in the fungi fun and go Morel Mushroom hunting, learn how to cook with them and ride a few carnival rides at this festival. While you’re in Boyne, be sure to spend time swimming, boating and fishing on Lake Charlevoix, taste your way through one of the man breweries in the Charlevoix Area and tour Charlevoix’s famous Mushroom Houses.
2. Mermaid MegaFest – South Haven – May
Experience your childhood dream and become a mermaid or merman at the Mermaid MegaFest! This festival aims to raise awareness on preserving aquatic ecosystems and educate the public while enjoying the mermaid fun with music, dance and more! South Haven is a favorite beach town of many. Learn about Great Lakes History at the Michigan Maritime Museum, take in the lake’s beauty at Van Buren State Park or take a ride on the historic Friends Good Will Tall Ship: Passenger Sales and Dockside Boarding.
3. Mighty Uke Day – Lansing – May
Mighty Uke day celebrates the ukulele and its ties to Michigan culture, while educating visitors on musical history with ukulele performances and workshops. While you’re in Lansing, swing by the State Capitol Building, take the kids for hands-on learning at Impression 5 Science Center or taste local spirits and brews at one of the many Lansing breweries and distilleries.
4. Battle Creek’s National Cereal Fest – Battle Creek – June
Known as the birthplace of cereal, Battle Creek’s annual Cereal Fest includes a cereal parade, cereal breakfast, local entertainment and more! Perfect for all ages to enjoy. Be sure to see other Battle Creek hot spots like the Binder Park Zoo, Firekeepers Casino and Hotel or dive into fresh finds at the Battle Creek Farmers Market.
5. Wizard of Oz Festival – Ionia – June
Watch the ever-popular Wizard of Oz movie in the historic Ionia Theatre, for only 25 cents! There are other Oz-related contests for the whole family like a baking competition, musical entertainment, soap-box racing, antiques and more. After the festival, spend some time outside (or camping at one of the 149 campsites) at Ionia State Recreation Area, catch a movie at Danny Boy’s Drive-In Movie Theater or tour the historic John C. Blanchard House.
6. Yale Bologna Festival – Yale – July
This three-day event brings over 20,000 visitors to the 2,000 person town. See the next Bologna king and queen be crowned, watch outhouse races, fireworks, parade and (of course) enjoy some bologna. Don’t forget to cool off in Lake Huron (a short 25-minute drive), or go 25-minutes in the other direction to peruse Imlay City’s Farmers’ Market and downtown.
7. Lavender Festival – Armada – July
Spend the weekend relaxing in a lavender-scented celebration! The Lavender Festival at Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill is for the purple flower loves to enjoy workshops, demonstrations, pick the fragrant floral themselves, see over 150 Michigan artists and more. After you take time to smell the flowers, stay at Blake’s for u-pick berries and vegetables or peruse the new and used books at Squirreled Away Books, Inc.
8. Michigan ElvisFest – Ypsilanti – July
Elvis impersonators and fans gather to enjoy the best of the best impersonators belt out The King’s classics while enjoying local brews and food. While you’re in “Ypsi,” take in the area’s automotive history at the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum & National Hudson Motor Car Company Museum or the Michigan Firehouse Museum, or swing by neighboring town Ann Arbor for a quaint downtown and plenty of fun restaurants.
9. National Baby Food Festival – Fremont – July
Fremont is the Baby Food Capital of the World, and home of the Gerber Products Company. All ages can stop by this one-of-a-kind festival to see the baby crawl, baby food eating contest, car show, farmer’s market and more. After, gaze at the stars at Stephen F Wessling Observatory, take a few swings at the Northwood Golf Course or take a dip at the inland lake of Fremont Lake at Fremont Lake Park.
10. Blue Water Sandfest – Port Huron – July
Are you a sandcastle builder extraordinaire (or just appreciate the art)? Then this festival is for you! Perfect for all ages, Michigan’s first (and only) sand sculpting festival shapes sand into creations you never thought possible. Check out the installations, enjoy live music and the beauty that is Port Huron. Once you’ve seen and done it all at Sandfest, explore the rest of Downtown Port Huron’s specialty shops, swing by the Thomas Edison Depot Museum and walk along the water to the 86 foot tall Fort Gratiot Lighthouse.
11. Old Town Scrapfest – Lansing – July
Participants team up to collect up to 500 pounds of scrap from a local scrap facility. Over two weeks, the teams must create a work of art completely out of these materials. Once complete, visitors can enjoy beer, music and bid on the works of art.
12. Rubber Ducky Festival and Race – Bellaire – August
Enjoy rubber duck races, duck and glow 5k run/walk, “ducky dash” big duck race and more duck themed festivities! Bellaire is also home to popular golf destination Shanty Creek Resorts, beer-lovers’ favorite spot: Shorts Brewing Company and the gorgeous Grass River Natural Area or take an hour and a half drive to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
13. Bath Days Festival – Lansing – August
Grab the whole family and deck out a bathtub to be pushed down Main Street soap-box-car-style. While you’re there, enjoy face painting, dancing, silent auctions and local eats.
14. Hell’s Hearse Fest – Hell – September
Hell is home to a few hellishly quirky events like the annual Hearst Fest. See over 80 hearses roll through the streets, participate in the costume contest and partake in the devilish fun. Don’t forget to see visit local favorites, all with perfectly pun-ny names like Screams Ice Cream from Hell, Hell Hole Bar & Diner and Smitty's Dam Site Inn.