Area Information

Seeking Michigan: Main Street, St. Ignace

Seeking MichiganBy Mary Zimmeth, Archives of Michigan and courtesy Seeking Michigan and the Archives of Michigan. The goal of Seeking Michigan is simple: to connect you to the stories of this great state. Visit them regularly for a dynamic & evolving look at Michigan’s cultural heritage and see more stories from Seeking Michigan at Absolute Michigan.

“. . . With the Martel furnace, Mackinac Lumber Company, and the iron ore docks in full blast, shipping ought to be lively next summer.”The Northern Spy[weekly newspaper], February 16, 1882.

St. Ignace bustled with development in 1882. The week before this issue of The Northern Spy, (February 6-15, 1882), a census was compiled of the population for the purpose of incorporating the village of St. Ignatius. The formal incorporation petition was sent to the Mackinac County Board of Supervisors on February 23, 1882. The board supported the petition, but changed the village’s name to St. Ignace. By March 14, 1883, St. Ignace became an incorporated city.

Fat Tuesday is Paczki Day in Michigan

A couple of years ago, comedian and commentator Mo Rocca traveled to Hamtramck for CBS Sunday Morning to get this report on Pazcki Day, but as we know, sugary treats never go out of style!

Hamtramck’s Paczcki Day page (now offline but available through had all kinds of lore and legend on these traditional Polish doughnuts which are also known as Bismarcks or plain old jelly doughnuts:

Paczki is the plural form of the word paczek in Polish, but many English speakers use paczki as singular and paczkis as plural. A paczek is a deep-fried piece of dough shaped into a flattened sphere and filled with Plums or other sweet filling…

Paczki have been known in Poland at least since the Middle Ages. Jadrzej Kitowicz has described that during the reign of the August III under influence of French cooks who came to Poland at that time, paczki dough baked in Poland has been improved, so that paczki became lighter, spongier, and more resilient Paczki Day Traditionally, the reason for making paczki has been to use up all the lard, sugar and fruit in the house, which are forbidden during Lent.

paczki in AmericaI guess that if you’re facing 40 days without sugar & fruit, a plateful of paczki makes a lot more sense. Dig in with the links below!

February is National Cherry Month!

Michigan Cherries by jdurchen

Did you know that Michigan is the largest producer of Montmorency tart cherries, growing 70-75% of the crop? February is National Cherry Month, and the Cherry Marketing Institute (link below) has bushels of info about the history and present state of the cherry industry including growing research showing that antioxidants in tart cherries may relieve the pain of arthritis and gout & help fight cancer and heart disease.

The Legend of Heikki Lunta

Kenny Svenson of Traprock Valley as Heikki Lunta, Heikinpäivä Festival, Hancock, MI, ca. 2001 (

Now I’ll sing my song
, to make the snow come down
And I’ll do my snow dance
. Whoops! I almost lost my pants
I’ll holler and yell,
 And really give it —-
It’s Heikki’s snow dance song, 
Heikki’s snow dance song

~from the original Heikki Lunta Snowdance Song

This weekend (January 20-21), the annual Heikki Lunta Winterfest (Hey-Key Loon-ta) takes place on and around Negaunee’s Teal Lake. The festival celebrates the legendary (and pretty much made up) Finnish show god who is said to have the ability to perform a dance causing snowfall. I came across the original version of the Heikki Lunta Snowdance Song on a cool blog called Letters for George. In his Heikki Lunta letter, he explains:

There’s a little town called Atlantic Mine about five miles away from Houghton where they hold an annual snowmobile race every winter. In 1970 the race was at risk of being cancelled because there wasn’t any snow. The race was sponsored by radio station WMPL in nearby Hancock. With no snow in sight, one of the station’s salesmen, David Riutta, composed a song called the “Heikki Lunta Snowdance Song.” It took him about twenty minutes to invent the lyrics. “Heikki Lunta,” it turns out, means “Henry Snow” in Finnish, and Riutta chose the name because his favorite musician was country western singer Hank Snow.

Heikki Lunta was said to live in the back woods of a Finnish farming community south of Houghton, and he reportedly had the ability to do a dance which would cause snow to fall from the skies. Riutta’s song asked “Heikki Lunta” to do his dance to make it snow in time for the snowmobile race. They started playing the song on WMLP, it immediately became a local hit, and, lo and behold, it soon began snowing. According to local lore, it snowed and snowed for days. So much so that they had to cancel the snowmobile race.

Click through for lots more including some photos. Now here’s Heikki Lunta by  Da Yoopers.

January Michigan Event Calendar

Frankfort, Michigan Lighthouse and Beach by forestlady
Frankfort, Michigan Lighthouse and Beach by forestlady

Here’s a few highlights of the many events being held around Michigan for the month of January (be sure to click Read More to see them!). A lot of them are out in the snow for snowmobiles, skates, skis and sled dogs, but there’s also a chance to heat up with the Ann Arbor Folk Fest, Ferndale Blues and the Detroit Auto Show. The weatherman says there’s a 100% chance we didn’t get them all so please add links and information for those we missed along with reviews of ones we list in the comments below!

Fast FactsWikipedia

  • January is named after Janus (Ianuarius), the god of the doorway; the name has its beginnings in Roman mythology, coming from the Latin word for door (ianua) – January is the door to the year.
  • January’s birthstone is the garnet which represents constancy.
  • Its birth flower is the Dianthus caryophyllus or Galanthus.


“New Year’s Day is everyman’s birthday.” – Charles Lamb

“January brings the snow, makes our feet and fingers glow.” – Sara Coleridge

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” – Edith Sitwell

Happy Birthday, Sault Ste. Marie Michigan

Soo Aerial by Marge Beaver
More aerial pics of Sault Ste Marie

Soo Aerial by Marge Beaver’s Day in History for October 4th says that Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan was founded on this day in 1641. Michigan History Magazine expands on this, relating that French Jesuits Isaac Jogues and Charles Raymbault held the first Christian services in Michigan at Sault Ste. Marie on that date. As you’ll see in a moment, it’s not really possible to get a date for the founding of the Soo, but everyone has to have a birthday, right?

Of course the Soo Locks are the first thing most people think of when they think of the Soo. You can see a webcam of the locks, and while your browser may have a problem with the secure certificate they use, it’s a US government certificate and site so you’re probably safe. relates that that the first lock was built way back in in 1797 by the Northwest Fur Company. It was just 38 feet long and remained in use until it was destroyed in the War of 1812, forcing boats again to portage around the rapids. Read on for much more.

The history page on on the Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan website:

Sault Ste. Marie is the oldest city in Michigan, and among the oldest cities in the United States. Over the course of history, the flags of several sovereign nations have flown over the Sault.

Over 2,000 years ago, Native Americans began to gather here for the wealth of fish and fur found along the rushing waters of the wide, turbulent river that linked the Great Lakes of Superior and Huron. Spring and fall were important seasons for these original settlers, and they called the area “Bahweting,” or “The Gathering Place.”

…In the 1600s, French missionaries and fur traders began to venture into the beautiful territory. The traders began calling the wild area Sault du Gastogne. In 1668, the legendary Jesuit missionary and explorer Fr. Jacques Marquette renamed this burgeoning European settlement Sault Ste. Marie, in honor of the Virgin Mary—the first “city” in the Great Lakes region.

While there is some debate on the exact meaning of “Sault,” scholars of early French note that the word translates into jump, referring to the place where one needs to “jump”, or put into the St. Mary’s River. This translation relates to the treacherous rapids and cascades that fall over 20 feet from the level of Lake Superior to the level of the lower lakes. Hundreds of years ago, this prohibited boat traffic and necessitated an overland portage from one lake to the other. This is how Portage Avenue, the main street running along the river, acquired its name.

Ashmun Street in 1888 courtesy Seeking Michigan

Ashmun Street in 1888 courtesy Seeking Michigan

Some other good sites for area history include Sault Historic Sites,  the History & Culture of the Sault Tribe, and Sault Ste Marie, Michigan in Wikipedia. You can get links to Sault businesses and website and also articles for the Soo at including Sault Ste. Marie: The Gathering Place, which offers more in depth history and a larger version of the photo above. Other good sites for modern day information are the Sault Area Chamber of Commerce,  Sault Ste Marie at, the Soo Evening News and the EUP News blog.

I Love the Soo on facebook!

You can see some pictures from the Soo at saultstemarie on Michigan in Pictures. Seeking Michigan has some great old photos of the Soo from the Archives of Michigan, but the best I found were from the Facebook page of I Love Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, particularly the History of Sault Ste Marie Michigan in Photographs and this gallery from Soo photographer Glenn W. Gregg. There’s also 200+ Soo photos in the Absolute Michigan group on Flickr.

If you grew up in the Soo (which I didn’t) I bet you’ll love this video featuring photos & Bob Seger’s Main Street from ILovetheSoo. While I enjoyed that one a lot, the one below features some of those great photos from Glenn Gregg.

October Michigan Event Calendar

october day by PepOmint
october day by PepOmint

A sampling of Michigan festivals & events for the month of October. As usual, there’s no way we’ll get them all, so please add links and information about those we’ve missed (or reviews of ones we have here) in the comments below. Don’t forget that one of Michigan’s big attractions is fall color touring – click that link for tours and photos from Absolute Michigan!


“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.”
- John Burroughs

“October’s poplars are flaming torches
lighting the way to winter.”
- Nova Bair

“On the motionless branches of some trees, autumn berries hung like clusters of coral beads,
as in those fabled orchards where the fruits were jewels . . .”
- Charles Dickens

“I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand, shadowless like Silence, listening
To Silence.”
- Thomas Hood

Fast FactsWikipedia

  • October’s birthstone is the opal. The opal is thought to have the power to predict illness. This is because the opal responds to heat. If you are sick your temperature increases before signs of illness appear. The increased body heat causes the opal to loose its shine, leaving it dull and lacking color. It is also said that the opal will crack if it is worn by someone who was not born in October.
  • Its birth flower is the calendula.

Things to Do and Places to Go

Be sure to also check out the Absolute Michigan Calendar for even more Michigan events, October Events from the Pure Michigan blog, and the Upper Peninsula Calendar of Events from the Upper Peninsula Travel & Recreation Association.

through October 9
ArtPrize – Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids’ radically open art competition awards the world’s largest art prize and transforms the city into an amazing canvas for creation. Part arts festival, part social experiment – this international art contest is decided solely on a public vote. Art is the focus of the competition, but the main event is community. Artists take over the city, visitors explore and new relationships form. This event has Absolute Michigan’s highest rating and is not to be missed!

Thru October 30
Chrysanthemums & MoreGrand Rapids
This annual celebration of autumn at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park highlights thousands of flowering chrysanthemums in both interior and exterior venues. New this year, a spectacular display in the Seasonal Display Greenhouse features vertical columns four to six feet high. The redesigned and renamed Chrysanthemums and More! exhibition (formerly called ColorFall) is the largest display of its kind in Michigan.

Saturdays and Sundays in October
The Famous Pumpkin TrainCoopersville & Marne Railway
Saturdays and Sundays in October passengers are entertained with music, jokes, songs and dance written especially for the youngest riders and performed by The Great Pumpkin, Scarecrow and Little Crow.

September 30 – October 1
The Red Flannel FestivalCedar Springs
The Red Flannel Festival is held the last weekend in September and the first weekend in October, attracting between 30 and 40 thousand visitors. The first “RED FLANNEL DAY” was held in the fall of 1939. The love, pride and support of the community has kept the rich tradition alive! It has continued to be an annual event for 71 YEARS, making it the 15th oldest festival in the State of Michigan!

September 30 – October 2
Scarecrow FestivalTrenton
The Trenton Scarecrow Festival is one of the best of its kind in the Southeast Michigan area. It is a family fall festival for all ages featuring a Scarecrow Contest, Dog Costume contest, children’s area with games/rides, a carnival, local and national musical acts, a karaoke Scarecrow Idol contest, and many other events.

October 2
Beery Field in Douglas, while it’s not Germany, it does have a festive atmosphere with beer, brats, prizes galore, parade, 35 piece German Band, Strudel Meisters 12 piece band, Kinderplatz kids games, games for grownups, and Best Dressed Herr & Fraulein Competition and lots more from noon to 8 PM.

October 1-2 & 8-9
Benzie County FallfestBenzie
Enjoy a scenic chair lift ride, taste the great soups in the Fall Soup Contest, get your “once a year chance” to get a piece of Cherry Hut’s apple cinnamon pie, watch the pumpkin carving of Ed Moody and Pat Harrison the “Lord of Gourd” Carvings, all kinds of kids & family fun, pumpkin launching abd giant pumpkin weigh off and car drop! Enjoy the parade, or canoe or kayak while enjoying the beautiful colors of Fall!

October 2 – 8
Blue Water Film Festival – Port Huron

Each year the Blue Water Film Festival selects films from the State of Michigan and the Sarnia/Lambton area that represent the best in quality and performance, are visually stunning, thought-provoking and compelling to an audience.

October 6
Marquette Art Stroll – Marquette

Downtown Marquette & the Third Street Village offer an evening of art, entertainment, and exploration. Shops, restaurants, and galleries feature local artists, complimentary hors d oeuvres, and beverages.

October 6-9
Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival – Alpena
The four day event provides activities for the young and old including lighthouse tours (aerial, boat or personal vehicle), entertainment, and vendors. The 2011 festival features tours, talks from noted Great Lakes lighthouse experts including noted author & photographer Terry Pepper and boasts over 100 maritime related vendors including lighthouse preservation groups, artists, authors and more.

October 6 – 8
Pumpkinfest – Zeeland

The Zeeland Pumpkinfes is a family festival featuring very cost-effective and FREE activities, games and events to be enjoyed by all ages including a chili cook off, 5k and fun run, pet contest, costume contest, pumpkin hunt and the Pumpkinfest bake-off.

October 7 – 9
Color Cruise & Island Festival – Grand Ledge
See the fall colors and 60 foot sandstone ledges on the Grand River from the Princess Laura riverboat or rent a canoe. You can also take a trip back in time with an old-fashioned covered wagon ride, demonstrations of black kettle caramel corn, apple cider pressing, blacksmithing, weaving, spinning, wood carving and other old time activities. Visit a fur trader encampment, enjoy good food and live entertainment and take a covered wagon or boat ride. Children can visit the petting zoo, paint a pumpkin or dip a candle for a small fee.

October 7 – 9
Sandhill Crane & Art FestivalBaker Sanctuary
More than 6,000 cranes are expected to greet more than 5,000 CraneFest visitors again this year. With autumn color predicted to be near its peak the same weekend, everyone should consider making CraneFest 2010 part of their fall color tour.

October 8
New Buffalo Harvest and Wine FestNew Buffalo
Join your favorite local wineries and microbrews at New Buffalo’s Lions Park for some harvest time fun. Celebrate the season’s harvest with a Farmers Market, wine tasting, cuisine, and live music. Bring the kids for hayrides through town and pumpkin painting. $5 suggested donation benefits local charities.

October 8
Leif Erikson Viking Days Fall Festival – Norway

An annual fall festival on Columbus Day weekend featuring a Viking themed parade, crafts, variety of ethnic food booths. Enjoy the Taste of Norway, music, business specials, lots of activities for children and other special events.

October 14 – 16
Applefest – Charlevoix
Experience the magic of Autumn in northern Michigan at Charlevoix’s Apple Fesitval. Northern Michigan’s cool temperatures are said to produce tastier and more colorful fruit than those grown in warmer climates, and the festival honors local orchards who bring the fall harvest to you. Enjoy over 30 varieties of apples, hot food, and fresh cider. A fine art & craft show takes place in East Park too, along with a petting zoo and pony rides for the kids!

October 14-16, 21-23 and 28-30
Hallowe’en in Greenfield VillageDearborn
Step back in time to a turn-of-the-20th century Hallowe’en. Follow an endless path of hand-carved jack-o-lanterns and meet colorful characters along the way. Feel the whoosh as the headless horseman rides by, banter with a clever witch, and make stops at several treat stations spread throughout Greenfield Village. It’s frightfully fun for the whole family!

Saturday October 15th
Hoptoberfest – Grand Rapids

An amazing party that you definitely shouldn’t miss. From 2PM-11PM Hopcat will be serving up beers from in an around Grand Rapids in two beer tents along with some smokin’ hot blues from headliner Lonnie Brooks.

October 16
Detroit Free Press/Flagstar MarathonDetroit
Get down to Motown for the 2010 Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Marathon! They’re celebrating their 33rd anniversary with an exhilarating, world-class, international marathon. With a unique course crossing the U.S./Canadian border twice and great musical entertainment along the way, there’s no end to the excitement of running this race!

October 17 – 18
Ann Arbor Art Walk – Ann Arbor

The annual Art Walk gives visitors a chance to walk through galleries, artists’ studios, and exhibition spaces in the greater Ann Arbor area including the Ann Arbor Art Center, the U-M Museum of Art, and the U-M School of Art and Design.

October 21
Detroit Fall Beer Festival – Detroit

The Detroit Fall Beer Festival (formerly Harvest Beer Festival) at Eastern Market will feature more than 40 Michigan microbreweries and brewpubs tapping nearly 200 different beers. It’s presented by the Michigan Brewers Guild and Metrotimes and Absolute Michigan will be giving away a pair of tickets next week to one lucky person on our email list! Check for a feature on Monday with all the details!

October 21 – 22
Made-in-Michigan Film Festival – Lapeer

The 4th annual festival will be held at the Pix Theatre, in historical downtown Lapeer, and MiMFF is accepting films in every category & genre – short, feature, academic, documentary, narrative, comedy, drama, horror, experimental, whatever – just as long as there’s a material connection to the State of Michigan.

October 21 – November 21
Northern Michigan C.S. Lewis Festival

An award-winning, month-long celebration of the man who created the celebrated children?s series, The Chronicles of Narnia. This annual nonprofit collaboration between local arts organizations, area schools, and faith-based groups offers children’s programs, theater performances, literary discussion and world-renowned speakers.

October 28
Food, Wine and All That JazzGrand Rapids
Join WGVU and D&W for more than 300 domestic wine and beer selections from throughout North America. In addition, tempt your tastes with over 25 tables of select gourmet foods and live jazz.

Also be sure to check out Absolute Michigan keywords “haunted“, “maze“, “apple” and “harvest“!

Weird Wednesday: Michigan Sea Monsters

The last Wednesday of every month is a “Weird Wednesday” on Absolute Michigan. Usually we get a feature from Linda S. Godfrey, the author that fascinating tome of Michigan mysteries: Weird Michigan. Linda is hard at work on her latest book so we’ve gone down to the vault and pulled out some watery weirdness! Stay up-to-date with the uncanny at and on Linda’s twitter.

at Mackinac
at Mackinac
:: a composite from -3 and -43 by Emery Co Photo

Sea Monster of the Straits

The authorities tried hard to convince the public what they saw were only giant catfish, but even the oldest, orneriest cats would be hard-pressed to attain a length of forty-five feet! The owner of a resort along the Cheboygan lakefront reported seeing something of just that size, and two of them, frolicking in the Mackinac Straits on Lake Huron in front of his property, about 600 feet from shore, according to an article in the June 25, 1976 Grand Rapids Press. The day after the resort owner called authorities about it, Cheboygan County Sheriff Stanley McKervey stopped by to have a look for himself. To his surprise, he also was able to observe one of the creatures. “I went down to the beach, and sure enough, I’m looking at something 20, maybe 30 feet long, swimming just below the surface,” he said in the article. “I was amazed. I didn’t know what it was, but it sure wasn’t a publicity stunt.”

The sheriff continued watching the creature through binoculars. It only rose about an inch above water level, he said, but any disturbance on shore would cause it to dive deeper again. And that’s exactly what happened when the sheriff ordered a couple of deputies to surveil the thing in a canoe. It was gone long before the pair got there. Unfortunately, rough water conditions set in the next few days and no one could go out for another look. It wasn’t observed again, and other experts theorized that perhaps it was a giant eel or carp. But neither of those sound like what the sheriff and the resort owner saw!

Lake Leelanau Monster

The story of an early 20th Century sea monster sighting was sent to The Shadowlands Web site by a reader whose great-grandfather was the witness. The boy was fishing for perch one day in 1910 in the shallows of Lake Leelanau in Leelanau County. The lake had been dammed in the late 1800′s to provide water power for the local mill and to enable logging. The dam also flooded much surrounding area, turning it into swamps and bogs punctuated by dead, standing trees.

On that particular day, the young great-grandfather, William Gauthier, rowed out to a new fishing spot near the town of Lake Leelanau. Looking for good perch habitat, he paddled up close to a tree that he estimated to stand about five feet tall above the water, with a six-inch trunk. He was in about seven feet of water, and after deciding this would be a good place to stop and cast a line, began tying the boat to the tree.

That’s when young William discovered the tree had eyes. They were staring him dead in the face at about four feet above water level. The boy and serpent exchanged a long gaze, then the creature went, “Bloop” into the water. Gauthier said later that the creature’s head passed one end of the boat while the tail was still at the other end, though it was undulating very quickly through the water. Uncanny RadioThe writer noted that Gauthier always admitted to having been thoroughly frightened by his encounter, and that the event caused him to stay off that lake for many years.

The writer added that his great-grandfather came from a prominent area family and was very well-educated, and that he knew others who would admit privately but not publicly that they, too, had seen the creature. No sightings have been reported in recent times, but who knows how many people have believed they were passing by a rotting old cedar when in fact they had just grazed the Leelanau lake monster?

Blogs We Dig: Awesome Mitten

awesome mittenLast week I had a chance to sit down with Alex Beaton, founder of Awesome Mitten, who introduced me to her blog that’s dedicated helping Michigan residents discover all things awesome in their own backyard. In their first campaign, “365 Days of Awesome,” they are featuring one cool person, place, business, product, band, event, etc. from Michigan every day. From cool companies like Doorganics in Grand Rapids to innovative restaurants like Trailer Park’d in Lansing to the Showboat Concert Series in Lowell, Awesome Mitten and their regional editors bring you interesting stories of people, places and things to do that make Michigan such a great place to live.

Laketown-BeachA recent example is Day 63: Laketown Beach, in which Holland Area Regional Director Mike Guisinger writes:

Laketown is a bit off the beaten path but it’s worth finding. (For directions, click here.) It is sandwiched between two long stretches of private beachfront, so it is small, but rarely crowded. The beach may lack a lot of space, but it definitely makes up for it in serenity.

…Probably one of the biggest draws to Laketown isn’t actually within its boundaries however, but what is known locally as “The Bowl.” The Bowl is an gigantic sand bowl and allows you to be surrounded on all sides by enormous walls of sand. A landscape is truly like no other.

Traverse City Wine & Art Festival on FacebookSo tune into Awesome Mitten, and if you like them, you can even show your support with some Awesome Mitten clothing!

July Michigan Event Calendar

Our Festival Summer Giveaway offers you a chance to win a pair of FREE tickets to many cool events in July & beyond. They are in the blue boxes below and all you have to do for a chance to win is be a subscriber to our email list. We'll randomly select winners all summer long, so sign up today!

Expanse by g. s. george
Expanse by g. s. george

You don’t have to travel far when you live in Michigan to find a whole lot of fun. We encourage you to support the festivals, events, cities and businesses that are making all the cool things happen around the state. So get out this summer and have some fun and create some great memories in the process. Carpe diem!!

As usual we by no means have listed all the events happening around Michigan. Add ones we missed (with links) in the comments below!

July Quotes

“Many public-school children seem to know only two dates: 1492 and 4th of July; and as a rule they don’t know what happened on either occasion. – Mark Twain

“Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.” – Mark Twain

“Live in each season as it passes: breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit.” Henry David Thoreau

“You know, when you get your first asparagus, or your first acorn squash, or your first really good tomato of the season, those are the moments that define the cook’s year. I get more excited by that than anything else.” – Mario Batali

“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.” – Lewis Grizzard

Fast Facts – via Wikipedia’s July entry

  • The second half of the year commences in July
  • The birthstone for July is a red ruby
  • July was renamed for Julius Caesar… Previously, it was called Quintilis…

Pure MichiganAlso be sure to check out Pure Michigan’s July Event Round-up and our Absolute Michigan Event Calendar for more great Michigan events!

July 2 – 9
National Cherry Festival Traverse City
The National Cherry Festival features over 150 events including free air shows over the Bay, colorful parades & marching bands, music shows, sporting events, rides & carnival games on the midway, pie-eating contests, clean blue skies, warm sunshine, crowds of smiling faces, and loads of luscious cherries prepared every way you can imagine!

July 11 – 17
Common Ground Lansing
Common Ground is situated in downtown Lansing along the banks of the Grand River in Adado Riverfront Park. Common Ground is an event for all your senses. This annual celebration features an outstanding line-up of musical acts, focusing on top-level, national, contemporary music performers, scores of food vendors, and a dynamic display of outdoor interactive activities for kids. With an attractive, intimate venue, state-of-art production and a comprehensive array of patron amenities, the festival is the premier special event of the summer in the greater Lansing region. Absolute Michigan gave away a pair of tickets!

July 8 – 9
Michigan Elvisfest Ypsilanti
The world-renowned Michigan Elvisfest began in 2000 in Ypsilanti, Michigan’s Historic Depot Town. Beautiful Riverside Park is the place where Elvis fans flock by the thousands every July to pay homage to the King of Rock & Roll and to hear the most award-winning professional Elvis Tribute Artists in North America, as well as other talented Legend Tribute Artists.

July 8 – 10
Blissfest Cross Village
The 30th Blissfest Music Festival will be a celebration of music, culture, art and community featuring a world of diverse and innovative folk and roots music and dance at the Festival Farm in picturesque rural northern Michigan. It is truly a blissful musical weekend to be shared with families, friends and music-lovers of all ages. The annual event is a showcase of the many musical styles that define American roots and world music. Bluegrass, Blues, Cajun, Celtic, Folk, Jazz, Latin, Ethnic, World music and dance all share the stage.

July 9 – Aug 7
Silver Leaf Renaissance Faire Battle Creek
Neither heat, rain nor scary beast will shut their gates that hold jousting and performances and all manner of medieval fun. The Faire is also West Michigan’s premier Artisan Marketplace with over 100 vendors selling their wares and crafts, you will find everything from turkey legs to wood-carving, leather to silks, and blacksmiths to fairy wings.

July 14 – Aug 7
The Michigan Shakespeare Festival Jackson
The Michigan Shakespeare Festival has been presenting the timeless themes and glorious language of William Shakespeare since 1995, growing each year into a premier regional event that draws respected actors from across the nation, and satisfied audiences from throughout the Midwest.

July 14 – 17
Venetian Festival St. Joseph
The name implies gracious glides on a glowing river and the gentle sounds of water rippling as gondoliers pole their slender boats and sing soft love songs to couples snuggled in the bows. Such were the hot days and long nights in Venice, Italy, where Venetian Festivals started so many years ago. In St. Joseph, they still celebrate hot July days and long summer nights with boat rides and love songs and couples holding hands. The Venetian Festival on the St. Joseph River is all of that plus music, fine food and fun for all ages!

July 14 – 17
Concert of Colors Detroit
The Concert of Colors is metro Detroit’s free annual diversity music festival. It is presented by ACCESS/Arab American National Museum, New Detroit Inc. and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) with the goal of bringing together metro Detroit’s diverse communities and ethnic groups by presenting musical acts from around the world. Over its 17-year history, the festival has become a beloved highlight of metro Detroit’s summer festival season.

July 15 – 16
Michigan Storytellers Festival Flint
It’s free fun for all INSIDE the Flint Public Library. Don’t miss our master storytellers who bring the oral tradition to life. As always there will be several workshops and storytelling concerts during the day on Saturday with storytellers in concert beginning at 7PM on Friday and Saturday.

July 15
Sip of Michigan Birthday Bash Detroit
Drink Michigan and the Rattlesnake Club in Detroit are joining forces for the 2nd annual Sip of Michigan party. In addition to being Drink Michigan’s 1st birthday, the event is a benefit for Homefront Hugs, a Michigan-based organization dedicated to helping our troops, their families and our veterans. Enjoy Michigan wine, beer and spirits, food pairing stations, and live entertainment on the Detroit riverfront from 8-midnight at the Rattlesnake Club. The event is $35 and includes 35 tasting tickets and all appetizers and entertainment – Absolute Michigan has a pair of tickets for our winner!

July 16 – 17
Quake on the Lake Waterford
Over the past 10 years, the “Quake” has become on of Oakland County’s must-attend events and is the North American Inboard Hydroplane Championship. The event is the proud holder of 17 American Power Boat Association (APBA) world speed records being set in 5 different racing classes making Pontiac Lake one of the fastest one-mile race courses in the country! There’s also music from Rare Earth, the Verve Pipe and others.

July 16 – 17
Ragtime Street Fair Dearborn
Savor an American original -Ragtime music. You’ll hear Scott Joplin rags like “Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer” along with  much, much more as scores of other musicians travel from all over the country to perform on nearly a dozen stages throughout Greenfield Village. It’s syncopated, jazzy, hot and live. Fresh summer food, too, and dancing in the streets!

July 20 – 23
Ann Arbor Street Art Fair Ann Arbor
Established in 1960, the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair is the Original of the now four award-winning Ann Arbor Art Fairs: The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original, The State Street Area Art Fair, The Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair and the Ann Arbor’s South University Art Fair. Together, the fairs attract over a half a million attendees from across the nation. The Original Fair was named the Number One Art Fair in the country by AmericanStyle magazine readers survey (October 2004) and has made the Top Ten Fairs and Festivals list every year since.

July 21 – 23
Taste of Kalamazoo Festival Kalamazoo
Every year, on the fourth weekend of July, thousands of hungry festival-goers flock to downtown Kalamazoo to enjoy the endless variety of foods prepared by Kalamazoo’s most popular eateries. More than 30 local restaurants and chefs will offer mouth-watering combinations of ethnic items, family favorites, exotic dishes, and local specialties along with music and all kinds of family fun – Our Festival Summer giveaway includes $10 in tasting tickets!
July 22 – 24
Hiawatha Music Festival Marquette
The Hiawatha Festival is the only event of its size and scope in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Without Hiawatha, local performers and fans would have to travel between four and six hours to the nearest festivals of its size and type. Each year’s event features traditional-music styles that include bluegrass, old-time, Cajun, Celtic, acoustic blues and folk – including singer/songwriters – and dance. Mainstage acts include nationally known performers as well as regional and local favorites. Absolute Michigan will be giving away a pair of tickets through Festival Summer so stay tuned!

July 22 – 23
Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival Ypsilanti
The Summer Beer Festival is the Michigan Brewers Guild’s oldest and largest of our four annual festivals. The festival takes place outside in a lovely riverside setting and will feature more than 300 different beers from more than 50 different Michigan breweries. A variety of tasty food items are available for purchase from independent food vendors inside the festival and there will be a diverse selection live music from a variety of local bands.

July 23 – 24
Thunder Over Michigan Air Show Ypsilanti
The Yankee Air Museum’s annual at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti welcomes back the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels in 2011. The show also features the USAF F-16 Viper East Demo Team, realistic re-enactments, Vietnam era aerial dog fight aircraft display and tours including the revolutionary MV-22 Osprey and over two dozen F/A-18 Hornets from across the country. A pair of general admission tickets could be yours!

July 26 – 31
Traverse City Film Festival Traverse City
The Traverse City Film Festival has grown to become one of the largest film festivals in the Midwest, and one of the most respected in the country. Last year, there were over 80,000 admissions to nearly 100 screenings, a number of them U.S. or world premieres. A special emphasis is given to foreign films, American independents, documentaries, and films which have been overlooked but deserve the attention of a public starved to see a good movie.

July 29 – 31
Yale Bologna Festival Yale
Every July Yale plays host to the Yale Bologna Festival, a 3 day weekend event that closes the streets and transforms this small community of just under 2,000 to a gathering of over 20,000 Bologna starved party-goers! A tradition in Yale since 1989, this festival has grown considerably since its humble beginnings. The festival draws people from all around Michigan as well as other states, eager to see who will be the next King and Queen of Bologna. The Bologna Festival includes such events as the famed outhouses races, a street dance, fireworks and a parade down Main Street that continues to grow each year.

July 29 – Aug 7
Coast Guard Festival Grand Haven
The United States Coast Guard has a long and prestigious history in Grand Haven and around the world. Celebrate the Coasties with activities, events, and attractions for all ages. Many are free, and you will find plenty of fun and choices from Kid’s Day to the Street Dance and Cruise-In Car Show, to carnival rides, picnics, parades, fireworks and ship tours.

July 30 & 31
Maker Faire Detroit Dearborn
Motor City becomes Maker City with over 300 exhibiting makers, demonstrations, hands-on workshops, music & vendors. From robotics, electronics, and rockets to food and fashion finds – if it’s made, there’s a good chance it’ll be at Maker Faire! The 2 day event at the The Henry Ford in Detroit is an interactive and family-friendly showcase of creativity and cool technology that takes the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset to the next level. We have a pair of passes to give away through Festival Summer, so stay tuned!

July 30 – 31
Art On The Rocks Marquette
Located in a beautiful wooded area on the shore of Lake Superior in north Marquette, the annual Art On The Rocks at Presque Isle Park features a huge variety of artwork in all media for show & sale.