Spring … summer … if you’re a warm weather person like I am, you’re probably counting down the (bittersweet) days of winter’s slumber to hibernation’s end when outdoor adventures begin! Michigan offers a vast array of festival fun that will keep you dreaming through these chilly winter days of making memories all summer long!
And if you’re one of those cold-blooded types who can’t get enough of winter, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered in the next installment! (Just be sure to subscribe to Bronner’s blog so you don’t miss it.)
Michigan, MI Home Sweet Home!
When I was growing up, I remember, like most kids, of dreaming of ending up some place greater than “here” [Michigan]. But as I grew, so did my love and appreciation for this grand state I am proud to call home. I entered my adult years when the recession hit – hard. But even in those hard times as Michigan transitioned from a lone automotive focus to a growing tourism focus, I found it offered far more than I could ever have dreamed! And years later I’m still happily discovering what Michigan has to offer!
Michigan’s Festival Fun
With over 50 spring and summer festivals to choose from according to Pure Michigan® alone, we figure that’s just a drop in the bucket of what Michigan truly has to offer! (OhioFestivals.net lists over 750 spring/summer celebrations from small towns to big cities in their 2019 Michigan Festival schedule!) So … here is just a tease to help you start planning your warm-weather wanders in our friendly mitten state!
HOLLAND’S TULIP TIME
FREE & up (based on events.)
- May 4 – 12, 2019
- Holland’s Tulip Time Festival
Imagine a town painted in romantic hues by over 5 million tulips! Sounds like a dream sequence from some movie? It may – but it’s not! This is the reality of Holland, Michigan’s Tulip Time Festival, the largest of its kind in America! But more than just flowers, Tulip Time has celebrated the area’s rich Dutch heritage for 90 years strong.
With far too many activities to highlight, Holland’s biggest festival features 9 days chock-full of incredible events for all ages, including a special appearance by Jay Leno on May 10! From breathtaking, scenic views that look like they came straight from a painting, to shopping artisanal crafts including Dutch delft art, to dishes that will delight your palate, to activities for the young and active, to a plethora of live entertainment – Tulip Time is definitely a festival bloom-ing full of memories to be made! So pack up those wooden shoes … or head to Holland, Michigan to get yourself a pair!
Here’s just a tease of Windmill Island Gardens in Holland with over 102,000 tulips in bloom!
MACKINAC LILAC FESTIVAL
FREE & up (based on events.)
- June 7 – 16, 2019
- Mackinaw Island Lilac Festival
As if the beauty of Mackinac Island wasn’t enough of a draw, imagine the storybook isle permeated by the lovely fragrance of fresh lilacs as you take in the surrounding fresh-water, beauty of Lake Huron! Evolving all the way from a single-day celebration in 1949 to the 10-day extravaganza it is today, the Lilac Festival is Mackinac Island’s first and largest celebration of summer, including events like the Lilac Festival 10K run/walk, the Lilac Festival Queen Coronation, a Taste of Mackinac and the Dog & Pony and Grand parades! With no cars on the Island, you’re sure to feel like you’re stepping back, Somewhere in Time!
Enjoy a bit of the island’s rich history with lilacs and garden tips from 906 Outdoor’s “Discovering” episode.
TRAVERSE CITY’S NATIONAL CHERRY FESTIVAL
FREE & up (based on events.)
- June 29 – July 6, 2019
- Traverse City’s National Cherry Festival
The west side of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula bursts with the bounty of some of summer’s juiciest gems! Among the treasure trove of produce are sweet, golden peaches (my favorite!), robust blueberries, ravishing raspberries in the most luscious shades, and acres of vineyards as far as the eye can see, boasting a variety of sun-soaked grapes that transform into some of the region’s most incredible wines. (Just to name a few!) But one of the crowning jewels? Traverse City’s ruby-red cherries, so remarkable that they have garnered a nationally recognized, week-long festival! The celebration’s long, unique history includes the attendance of two U.S. Presidents (and a once world-record-breaking 17′ 6″ cherry pie that weighed in at a whopping 28,350 pounds in 1987!) Offering a variety of events for a wide range of ages, this festival is perfect for the picking!
BAY CITY’S TALL SHIP CELEBRATION
$8 – $10
- July 18 – 21, 2019
- Bay City Tall Ships Celebration
You won’t want to miss these sea-worthy vessels when they blow into Bay City! As excerpted from the Tall Ships Celebration site, “Bay City is a host port for the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE®, a series of races and rallies organized by TALL SHIPS AMERICA. [A non-profit organization commended by the United States Congress.] In 2019, Bay City celebrates 18 years of award-winning maritime festivals, having hosted the fleet every time it has visited the Great Lakes in 2001, 2003, 2006, 2010, 2013 and 2016. Bay City has been awarded the coveted ‘Port of the Year’ four times by TALL SHIPS AMERICA – more than any other host port in all of North America.”
The Tall Ship Celebration includes limited deck tours and musical talent from all around the world sharing shanty songs of the sea! Since this is not an annual festival, you won’t want to let the opportunity sail on by this summer; be sure to check the schedule of events to plan your trip!
DETROIT JAZZ FESTIVAL
- August 30 – September 2, 2019
- Detroit Jazz Festival
It’s no secret that Michigan was once home for great musicians like Madonna (Bay City), Kid Rock (Romeo), Eminem (Detroit), Diana Ross (Detroit), Sonny Bono (Detroit) and many more! A city that embraces many music genres, Detroit (once known as Motor City and also Motown) has been regarded as a “major cultural center” with great contributions to the creative industry. So it’s no surprise that you’ll find any number of incredible music festivals happening there throughout the year!
“For nearly 40 years, the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation has celebrated Detroit’s rich history of jazz music by providing year-round concerts and educational programming, and of course, organizing the world’s largest free jazz festival, featuring world-class talent, over Labor Day weekend.
With the support of corporate sponsors, philanthropic organizations, individual donors and volunteers, the Detroit Jazz Festival is free to music fans looking to revel in the artistry and improvisation of jazz legends, rising stars, legacy and homecoming artists. Each year’s lineup of more than 60 performances as remarkable and diverse as the genre itself, as well as spontaneous late-night jam sessions, offers something for everyone.
Our year-round educational programming creates one-of-a-kind opportunities for regional students and aspiring musicians to help them achieve artistic excellence, while our concerts celebrate the works of students and mentors, in addition to local and national artists.” (as excerpted from DetroitJazzFest.org)
Enjoy this short promotion by musician Ron Carter from the 2016 festival and see why you’ll want to “choose Detroit” in 2019 as well:
Frankenmuth Spring/Summer Festival Highlights
Frankenmuth, home to Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, is probably one of the most festive towns I have ever seen in my life, so it’s no surprise it has come to be known as “Festival City”! Hosting 14 different spring and summer festivals in this town alone, it seems like there is always something going on. It’s only fitting to showcase a few fun extras to add to your list! Wilkommen to Frankenmuth.
BAVARIAN EASTER CELEBRATION
- April 5 – May 5, 2019
Known as “Osterbrunnen” in Franconia, Germany, Frankenmuth celebrates the centuries-old tradition of decking the town and fountains with colorful egg and garland displays to delight young and old alike. Catch the Easter Bunny who will be hopping into Bronner’s for visits April 5 – 20! Many other egg-ceptional local businesses join in on the egg-citement, offering fun experiences and classes that are sure to make you hop-py! Still curious? Take a peek in town at Frankenmuth’s 2017 Egg celebration:
BALLOONS OVER BAVARIAN INN & DOG BOWL
Two festivals in ONE weekend and in ONE place! From the magical appeal of watching colorful air balloons float over Michigan’s Little Bavaria and glow into the night, to all sorts of hilarity and entertainment during more than a dozen unique Dog Bowl events – you’ll want to load up the car, turn the sub-woof-er up and head in to Frankenmuth for Memorial Day weekend!
Ranges from FREE to $5
- June 6 – June 9, 2019
- The Bavarian Festival
Frankenmuth’s 61st Annual Bavarian Fest offers fun for all ages whether you make the trek just for the day or stay for the entire weekend! “From the Free Street Party, the traditional Maibaum dancers and Da Frankenmuda Fratz’n to Bavarian Festival Olympics and the Bavarian Festival Parade,” you’re sure to find the stuff memories are made of and more in the full Bavarian Fest Schedule of Events! , (Bronner’s unique parade float entry each year makes for some pretty cool post-parade photo ops too!)
FRANKENMUTH AUTO FEST
FREE to $10
- September 7 – 9, 2019
- Frankenmuth Auto Fest
Even with our deep German roots, Frankenmuth takes pride in celebrating decades of rich American history in automotive innovation during Frankenmuth’s annual Auto Fest weekend. If you love the rumble and roar of fast American muscle, than you won’t want to miss this massive showcase with over 2,500 classic cars, street rods, muscle cars and more! Whether you choose to join us when Main Street shuts down on Friday night for the Big Block Party, find a seat along Main Street Saturday or Sunday to watch the cars cruise by, or head down to Heritage Park where you’ll find even more cars, dancing and live music from the Sound Alternative Band, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed! But you don’t have to take our word for it … you can take Dennis Gage’s word from My Classic Car®!
$10.00 (Kids 15 & under FREE) Sunday is FREE All Day
- September 19 – 22, 2019
- Frankenmuth Oktoberfest
Ever dreamed of visiting Germany to experience an authentic Oktoberfest? You may not have to; Frankenmuth is not just any American – German town! According to the Frankenmuth Oktoberfest website, “Lord Mayor Christian Ude and the German Parliament from Munich gave an official proclamation in 1996. Frankenmuth’s Oktoberfest was declared the first Oktoberfest to operate with the blessing of the original Oktoberfest in Munich. With this proclamation, the event was moved into September to coincide with the opening of the Munich event.” So pack up your dirndl or lederhosen and head into “Michigan’s Little Bavaria,” where music, entertainment, delicious food and authentic, imported Hofbrauhaus Oktoberfest beer awaits you!