Festivals, Attractions & Event Calendars

2014 Traverse Microbrew & Music Festival

Feature via eatdrinkTC – Traverse City’s Culinary Almanac…

Microbrew Festival TixWhat would winter in northern Michigan be like without the Winter Microbrew & Music Festival? It’s an annual event that plays tribute to some of the things that make Northern Michigan special: real winters, the great outdoors, good spirited people, incredible musicians and of course craft microbrews created by artisans and entrepreneurs!

The Brew ShackThe festival takes place on Saturday, February 8, 2014 from 4-10 PM in Downtown Traverse City in the Farmers Market lots onthe Parkway. Attendees can enjoy 30-40 Michigan craft breweries & wineries along with a handful of carefully selected national brands pouring 150+ flavors of brews, wines, ciders and meads. There will also be some great live musical acts, marching bands, silent disco and local food vendors. Festivities are scheduled to take place from 4-10 p.m. New in 2014 features will be a curated selection of brews you won’t be able to find elsewhere including a few custom “Microbrew & Music Festival” brews from select brewers.

Tickets and festival details are available at www.microbrewandmusic.com.
Tickets always sell out, and they go on sale on Saturday (Dec 7) at noon. You can get them online or at Oryana and both of High Five Threads locations in Traverse City (downtown and Village at the Commons). Festival announcements, give-aways, and other information can be found on their Facebook.

Michigan History: Jammin’ in Jackson

Also see Michigan’s Woodstock: The Goose Lake Festival on Michigan in Pictures.


Goose Lake Rock Festival by edwards_sa

The headlines of the local newspaper read, “125,000 and Still Coming.” The reporter of the story wrote, “Goose Lake Park’s rock festival is no county fair, state fair or world’s fair. It’s a young people’s fair.”

Held in August 1970, the Goose Lake festival was similar to the more famous outdoor concert near Woodstock, New York, that took place a year earlier. Some reports said 200,000 people attended the three-day outdoor concert near Jackson, Michigan. The two dozen bands that played at Goose Lake included such big names as Chicago, Jethro Tull and Bob Seger.

But Goose Lake was not without controversy. Local residents opposed the festival, fearing the commotion that would result when thousands of young people gathered near their homes.

Despite the huge crowd of people, there were no reports of physical violence. A University of Michigan doctor, one of a dozen doctors at the festival providing free medical treatment, thought the absence of violence “was a credit to a generation.”

While there was no violence at Goose Lake, the popular use of illegal drugs, especially marijuana, was a concern for authorities. To avoid sparking a “riot,” the police only arrested drug users or dealers who were outside the park. After the concert, Governor William Milliken was outraged about drug use at Goose Lake. “Rock festivals are a great idea,” the governor said, “but without the drugs.” A doctor at the concert wondered if the reports of drug abuse “may have been exaggerated.” At the festival’s four hospital tents, 400 people were treated for an assortment of illnesses and injuries. But there were only a few drug overdose patients.

When the Goose Lake festival ended, local citizens expressed their thoughts about having hosted the biggest rock festival in Michigan history. Some complained of a lack of sleep because the music was so loud. One local resident found the concert “a nerve-racking deal,” while another said he would fight future rock festivals “to the last ditch.” Others disagreed. A Goose Lake farmer said all the noise and activity did not affect his cows who he said were “contented.” A gas station attendant said the station was unusually busy during the weekend, but things went “smoothly . . . we had no problems at all.”

To learn more about Michigan’s history, visit Seeking Michigan.

Here’s a video of crowd scenes at Goose Lake and check out this overflight:

April is Michigan Wine Month!

Future wine.. by Daylily18
Future wine.. by Daylily18

Governor Rick Snyder has declared April as “Michigan Wine Month” to honor Michigan’s wide selection of quality wines and the wine industry’s significant contribution to the economy. Sales of Michigan wine in the state rose more than 6 percent in 2012, while total wine sales increased just 1 percent. Michigan wine sales have outpaced total wine sales over the past 10 years, doubling Michigan wineries’ market share to 6.5 percent.

The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council has added 11 new wineries to its roster over the last year — for a total of 101 wineries that support Michigan agriculture by using primarily Michigan grapes and other fruit for their wines. Michigan’s wineries welcome more than 1 million visitors to their tasting rooms each year, and Michigan’s wine and grape industries contribute more than $800 million to the state’s economy annually.

A Very Michigan Thanksgiving


Turkey by Vaughan

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and over a million Michiganians will soon be hitting the road to attend family get-togethers and enjoying annual traditions. To help get ready for the upcoming holiday we have compiled a bunch of informative and entertaining Thanksgiving related links for you to enjoy.

Michigan Wine Grape Acreage Growth and the Grand Rapids Wine Festival!

Pour-Over by TerryJohnston
Pour-Over by TerryJohnston

Our winner is Kimberly W. who writes she’s excited to check out Six-One-Six restaurant. Their festival menu looks delicious: Braised Devries Pork Shoulder with Butternut-Chipotle Crema, Salsa Verde, Micro Cilantro and Lime! Six-One-Six is a special favorite of of Absolute Michigan as in addition to their delicious offerings, they have a focus on locally sourcing food & drink!

Before we get to the great news on Michigan’s wine industry, we’d like to give you a chance to meet a lot of the industry leaders with a pair of tickets to the Grand Rapids Wine, Beer & Food Festival good for either Friday or Saturday!

The festival takes place November 8-10 at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids and is not to be missed! It brings together dozens of Michigan wineries, breweries, cideries and restaurants along with wine & food distributors from around the nation and world and a host of acclaimed food & wine experts offering tasting & seminars to create one of Michigan’s best culinary experiences. Click the link or watch the video below for more!

To enter, all you have to do is send an email to giveaway@absolutemichigan.com with your name, a contact phone number and either your favorite Michigan wine, beer or cider OR a restaurant, winery or brewery that you are excited to check out. We’ll draw a winner from the emails we receive tomorrow (Friday) at 11 AM!

Michigan’s wine grape acreage doubled over the past decade, according to a report recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service. While acreage of juice & jelly grapes have remained steady at about 12,000 acres over the past decade, acreage of wine grapes has doubles from 1,300 to 2,650 acres, making Michigan the 5th largest grower of wine grapes in the US. According to the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, there are 101 commercial wineries producing more than 1.3 million gallons of Michigan wine annually. That number has increased from 32 wineries in 2002 producing 400,000 gallons. For more information about the Michigan wine grape industry, visit the council’s website, www.michiganwines.com.

“This data confirms the steady growth of the wine industry,” said Gordon Wenk, Deputy Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, who also chairs the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council. “Michigan’s wineries are committed to the concept of regional identity by utilizing a high percentage of Michigan-grown fruit in their wines.”

grapes after sunset rain by aimeeern
grapes after sunset rain by aimeeern

Riesling is the most widely planted wine grape, with acreage nearly tripling in the past decade, and Michigan Rieslings and earned more than 20 top awards in 2012 for Riesling wines from bone dry to sweet late harvest & ice wine. It’s more than Riesling though. Cabernet Franc, a hearty, cooler climate red grape akin to the better known Cabernet Sauvignon also tripled in the past decade. Pinot Gris nearly quadrupled and Pinot Noir moved past Chardonnay as the state’s second most planted variety, with acreage increasing 150 percent in the last 10 years.

All in all, more than 40 varieties of wine grapes with at least two acres of production were reported. Traditional European varieties (vinifera) account for two-thirds of Michigan’s wine grape acreage. The balance is mainly comprised of hybrid varieties (crosses between European and native North American varieties). Get the complete results at michiganwines.com/fastfacts!

Here’s a video from last year courtesy our friends at Michigan by the Bottle:

Celebrate October in Traverse City w/ Greensky Bluegrass

Our winners have been drawn!!

Char B from Ohio wrote “We love the views, wine, cherries, and hopefully beautiful fall leaves. We are planning on climbing Sleeping Bear Dunes. Can’t wait to get there!” and Cindy P of Traverse City said simply “Michigan is Magnificent” – congratulations!

Absolute Michigan’s headquarters is at the gorgeous The Village at Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City. This Friday, October 12 from 5-10 PM Porterhouse Productions hosts a celebration of the bounty of Michigan at the October Festival at the Commons with Greensky Bluegrass.

The event features a food truck rally and wines from Black Star Farms, ciders from Left Foot Charley and 19 great seasonal ales including the festival’s Omena Harvest Ale (brewed with 50 pounds of freshly picked hops from Amy and Brian Tennis of New Mission Organic Hops), Filling Station Bayreuth Oktoberfest, Bell’s Best Brown, Arbor Strawberry Blonde, Founders’ All Day IPA & Breakfast Stout, Jolly Pumpkin Weizen Bam, Arcadia Jaw Jacker, Dark Horse Octoberfest and Cheboygan Oktoberfest and North Peak Hooligan! In addition to full meals, the food trucks will be selling tasting portions and all the libations, food & music is 100% Michigan. Even better, 100% of the alcohol sales support the great work of Bay Area Recycling for Charities.

There’s also a Silent Disco with DJ Dominate, glow in the dark LED disc golf, bonfires & heated tents. And speaking of that Michigan music, acts include Lindsey Lou and the Flatbellies, the Joshua Davis Band and Greensky Bluegrass - all Michiganders and all very good. Greensky Bluegrass all hail from Michigan and regularly light up stages across the nation with some of the finest names in bluegrass & music.

Tickets are available online where you can also see a promo video – $20 in advance or $25 day of event. Here’s Greensky Bluegrass absolutely tearing it up with Scott Law. It was a show that also featured May & Seth Bernard and is a treat!

A great weekend for beer in the Great Lakes State!

We got an email from the Traverse City Microbrew & Music Festival asking us to remind folks about this weekend’s festivities. A quick check revealed several opportunities to raise a glass to the Great Beer State on tap.

This Friday & Saturday (August 24 & 25) the 4th annual Traverse City Microbrew & Music Festival returns to the beautiful grounds of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. It’s our front yard at Absolute Michigan and an incredible place for a summer festival. The crew at Porterhouse Productions brings together over 50 breweries, cideries & wineries from Michigan and elsewhere and backs that up with a top-notch slate of entertainment. Friday night is Pint Night (alcohol sales benefit Cherry T Ball & Goodwill Inn) and a concert with country music stars Dierks Bentley & Rachel Holder. Saturday  features all the breweries plus a great musical lineup that includes Absolute Michigan favorite The Ragbirds along with a full slate of entertainment that includes Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, the Dirty Guv’nahs and more.

Gallery of photos right herehere and click for all the who, what & when of this big celebration.

If you can’t make it up to Traverse City, don’t despair. This week is also the first-ever Lansing Beer Week. There’s a Beer Tasting Cruise on Friday night and a Brewery Bus tour on Saturday. Click the link for all the details.

Beer Color Wheel

Beer Color Wheel by dblstripe

The good folks at New Belgium Brewing (makers of the “Fat Tire” ales) are also kicking off a tour of Michigan next weekand as a part of that, Brewery Vivant of Grand Rapids is releasing the first of 2 collaborative brews called “Escoffier”.

The beer is named after the French master chef of the same name. It’s deep amber in color and uses one of Brewery Vivant’s house Belgian yeast strains, as well as wild yeast from New Belgium called Brettanomyces Bruxellensis.

“Michigan has already been a great partner with a broad network of breweries, distributors and beer lovers,” said Bryan Simpson, New Belgium’s spokesman. “Working with Brewery Vivant has been a great way to meet and work with local brewers while making something new and unique for both breweries.”

A release party is scheduled at Brewery Vivant on August 27, followed by a Michigan release of draft and signature 16-ounce cans.

All this interest in craft brewing is doing more than putting new, local beers on the shelf. The Rapidian has a great feature about how it’s feuling a boom in organic hop growing in Michigan.

Here’s another of our favorite Michigan acts, the now defunct Ella Riot / My Dear Disco performing last summer!

Leland Wine & Food Festival ~ Saturday, June 9, 2012

Today on The Daily Michigan we have a pair of tickets to the Leland Wine & Food Festival.

Leland Wine Festival by farlane
Leland Wine Festival by farlane

It’s Michigan’s oldest wine festival and held on the second Saturday in June (June 9, 2012) from noon-6 PM. This year will be the 27th annual of this fundraiser for the Leland Chamber of Commerce, and there’s few things better than a day in the Leland Harbor and historic Fishtown tasting wines from local wineries and enjoying delicious food prepared by local restaurants.

There’s also live music all day and (of course) the beautiful views of Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands. Absolute Michigan is happy to be offering a pair of passes to the festival – click here for all the details and a listing of wineries & restaurants and check out the video below!

Click here to sign up (and to learn how you can win)

June Michigan Event Calendar

Summer is just around the corner so take a look at our list of featured events and mark your calendars for some June fun! As usual we by no means have listed all the events happening around Michigan. Add ones we missed (with links) in the comments below!

Points of Light by StacyN
Points of Light by StacyN

June Quotes

“Summer is a promissory note signed in June, its long days spent and gone before you know it, and due to be repaid next January.” – Hal Borland

“There are moments, above all on June evenings, when the lakes that hold our moons are sucked into the earth, and nothing is left but wine and the touch of a hand.”- Charles Morgan

“June is bustin’ out all over.” – Oscar Hammerstein II, 1945

  • Great Wakes Festival
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    The Daily Michigan: 2 tickets to the Great Wakes Festival in Traverse City

The Daily Michigan: 2 tickets to the Great Wakes Festival in Traverse City

Friday Flash! We’ve got 5 pairs of tickets for tomorrow night’s 5-10 pm entertainment at the Great Wakes Festival. If you’re interested, just send an email to dig@absolutemichigan.com. We’ll randomly select 5 winners at noon!

Today on The Daily Michigan we have 2 tickets to this weekend’s inaugural Great Wakes Festival from Porterhouse Productions.

The 2012 Great Wakes Festival is a brand new event that comes to the Traverse City bayfront June 1 & 2, 2012. In addition to music from local and regional musicians including That 1 Guy, Heatbox, Funktion & Garrett Borns, the event features all kinds of water-themed education and competitions including water education & expo, stand-up paddleboard race, a zany Great Wakes Beach Race, Wakeboard Aerials & Pro Competition, demos and much more.

One of the highlights is a 21-up local beer & wine tent that features wines from Traverse City’s amazing wineries and beer from Kalamazoo Brewing, North Peak & Arbor Brewing. Click the poster to the right for more.

Many of the daytime events are free, but to make sure you can enjoy it all, we have 2 Friday & Saturday evening tickets (available only in advance – winner MUST be 21 years of age or older). Head over to Porterhouse Productions for all the information and to purchase tickets and check below for Grand Rapids’ own Garrett Borns doing Mitten.

Click here to sign up (and to learn how you can win)