The summer season is upon us in Michigan. With it comes many opportunities for fun adventures in our great state. Summer festivals are an integral part of the season. There are so many options to choose from that I think the hardest part will be deciding which festival to attend…maybe all? I collected a few that I’ve attended in the past and some that sounded interesting enough for me to mark on my calendar. Maybe I’ll see you there!
Oakland County Fair (Davisburg), July 3-12. A carnival, fireworks, road derby, rodeo, and monster trucks are just a few of the attractions at this annual festival. With something for every age, this fair is a great destination. Visit their website and click on the list of activities for each day.
Art in the Park (Plymouth), July 10-12. This annual event brings together more than 400 artists to display works of ceramic, woodwork, jewelry, paintings, sculptures and more. Kids’ activities make this a family friendly event.
American Polish Festival & Craft Show (Sterling Heights), July 10-12. I didn’t know that Michigan is home to the third largest Polish population (after New York and Illinois), and most of Michigan’s Polish American population is concentrated in Macomb County. The Polish Festival offers live music and dancing (with polka music, of course), a pierogi eating challenge (who can eat the most potato and cheese pierogis in 10 minutes?!), lots of food to sample, a beer tent, and craft show.
Ann Arbor Street Art Fair (Ann Arbor), July 15-18. This popular art fair started in 1960 and has been named the top art fair in the country by AmericanStyle magazine readers. Along with several hundred artists, there is also multiple activity and demonstration areas. I’ve been to this fair and loved so much of the art available. The only downside is there are so many talented artists that it makes it difficult to choose what to purchase!
Annual Blueberry Festival (Imlay City), July 24-25. I’m a huge blueberry fan so simply love the idea of celebrating this healthy fruit! There are a lot of family friendly activities (many free), including children’s activities, entertainment and contests.
Traverse City Film Festival (Traverse City), July 28-Aug. 2. This annual film festival is one of the largest in the Midwest and located in one of my favorite northern Michigan cities. Patrons can enjoy a variety of films, including foreign films, independent American movies, and documentaries. Classic movies are also shown free of charge on a screen overlooking Grand Traverse Bay at dusk.
Detroit Annual Highland Games (Livonia), July 31-Aug. 2. Scotland is on my wish list of travel destinations so this festival brings it a little closer to me until I can make it across the waters. The Highland Games, hosted by St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit, are the oldest continuous games in North America. There are a multitude of events, such as the stone put, hammer throw and weight throw. Even the border collies get into the action with a demo of duck and sheep herding (we grew up with a Shetland Sheepdog so I have some experience with this herding instinct). There are lots of entertainment, food and drinks. And what sounds the coolest to me….a tug o’ war contest! Did you know tug o’ war was part of the Olympics in Ancient Greece? There are even tug o’ war leagues in Scotland and Ireland. By the way, the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps have teams participating this year. Awesome.
Michigan Honey Festival (Frankenmuth), Aug. 1. This sounded like a sweet festival to include (bad joke?). Seriously though, according to the festival organizers, we could lose 1/3 of our food supply without honeybees and the work they do. The event focuses on the role the honeybee plays in our environment. You’ll learn the benefits of honeybees, what to plant for pollinators, what you need to start your own hive, and more. You can also sample honey, plus purchase supplies, lotions, and soaps, and even sample mead.
Milford Memories Summer Festival (Milford), Aug. 7-9. More than 300 artists participate in this juried show hosted in downtown Milford (I love this town). There are other activities to participate in or observe (early morning fitness, cold butt euchre or blind canoe race, anyone?).
Clawson Down on Main Street Classic Car Show (Clawson), Aug. 8. Sponsored by the Clawson Lions Club, this annual car show brings hundreds of people to my favorite ‘little’ town. There are usually more than 400 cars, ranging from classics to street rods, muscle cars, trucks, choppers, antique campers and bikes. Admission is free, but this is a fundraiser for the Leader Dogs for the Blind and other local charities so don’t forget to participate in their 50/50 and other activities.
Armada Fair (Armada), Aug. 17-23. This 143rd annual fair brings it all – music (Joe Nichols), demolition derby, truck pull, and rodeo. There’s more – add a carnival and livestock, plus the Budweiser Clydesdales will also make an appearance!
Michigan Renaissance Festival (Holly), Aug. 22-Oct. 4 (weekends and Labor day). Step back in time to the 16th century to wander through a 17-acre replica of a Renaissance village. You’ll see shops, taverns and a castle, as well as jousting, comedy skits, games, music and more. Each weekend has a different theme so check out the schedule to see which will pull you back in time.
Michigan Peach Festival (Romeo), Sept. 3-7. This Labor Day weekend festival includes a car show, craft show, children’s parade, 5K/10K run and more.
Michigan State Fair (Novi), Sept. 4-7. This time-honored tradition brings lots of carnival rides and games, farm fresh produce and fruit, lots of vendors, livestock and demonstrations. Plus, I read this year there is a new equestrian pavilion with classes and competitions. No worries, the butter cow will return!
Arts, Beats, and Eats (Royal Oak), Sept. 4-7. This four-day festival brings more than 200 performances (including children’s musicians) on nine stages, great food from local restaurants and a juried art show to downtown Royal Oak. The annual events brings in quite a crowd so check out the parking tips.
Arts & Apples Festival (Rochester), Sept. 11-13. Hosted by the Paint Creek Center for the Arts, this annual festival brings hundreds of artists and vendors, as well as a variety of entertainers, to Rochester. I always have luck finding items to purchase!
Oktoberfest (Frankenmuth), Sept. 17-20. In honor of my mom’s heritage, I share this festival that brings German food, dance and drink to Frankenmuth. And you won’t want to miss the wiener dog race and parade. Seriously.
Troy Family Daze Festival (Troy), Sept. 17-20. I haven’t attended this festival since high school but it continues to host a full schedule of fun for families. There’s carnival rides, games, food, entertainment and contests (and free parking).
Made in Michigan Festival (St. Clair Shores), Sept. 18-19. What a great opportunity to check out vendors featuring handmade Michigan products. There’s also a 5K, children’s activities, and a BBQ pork ribs competition.
Another great aspect of summer is the fabulous locally grown fresh fruit and produce available from Michigan growers. Many communities host farmer’s markets on the weekends, including Royal Oak, Rochester and Birmingham. Clawson’s Farmer Market opens July 19.