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.
Last winter Jason Dodge of miskireport.com and his crew spent time at Mount Mancelona and, with intern Justin Vander Velde and the assistance of the documentary class at Grand Valley State, produced this very cool video about long-shuttered Mt. Mancelona. Jason writes:
This project is the pinnacle of things that I have been involved with up until this point. A Man and His Mountain not only tells the story of Mt. Mancelona, but it uncovers the true passion that owner Joe has been hanging onto for the past 22 years.
After having the privilege of meeting Joe, listening to the stories, and working alongside the crew to capture the history, I ask myself why would I not want to come to Mt. Mancelona? Why would I not want my family to experience this place? After all, isn’t this true ski culture? Perhaps I’m a touch traditional and don’t get that knocked out about the fancy high-speed lifts, gondolas and magic carpets. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy riding in a Cadillac as much as the next guy, but there is a lot to appreciate about rusty t-bars, the smell of raw fuel in a 1960’s Tucker, and an old weathered lodge. This is the natural patina of skiing and snowboarding, captured at Mt. Mancelona.
In 1958, Sports Illustrated reported a 1200′ t-bar with a 300′ rise, and 5 ropes. New for 1958 were 3 rope tows, the lodge with locker room and bar, a new trail, lights for Friday night skiing and hi-fi skiing music.
Our latest giveaway is from Northern Pier, a brand-new T-shirt company who is celebrating their Grand Opening this week!
Owner Chris Mock explains “Northern Pier has an immense appreciation for the Great Lake State. In fact, it’s the inspiration for all of our products. We sell premium vintage style t-shirts inspired by Northern Michigan and made in America. Each of our shirts features a Michigan town, lake or destination point.”
“Our goal at Northern Pier is to make our customers favorite places into their favorite shirts. When you visit our online shop, we’ve tried to build a rustic feel coupled with nostalgic imagery that illustrates why we love the state of Michigan. We really want the purchase to be something of an experience for the customer.”
They add that you can let them know about your favorite town/lake/resort/area as a possible future shirt.
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 weirdmichigan.com and on Linda’s twitter.
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. The 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?
Held the weekend of August 19th through the 21st, the Hoxeyville Music Festival boasts 2 stages of national touring artists like Umphrey’s McGee, Mickey Hart Band, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Greensky Bluegrass, Great American Taxi, Ekoostik hookah, The Itals and many more.
This summer Absolute Michigan interviewed Ragbirds front woman Erin Zindel about Electric Forest. She told us, “The heart of Hoxeyville is a community of musicians who are there every year. Many are from Michigan, and it’s wonderful to have so many talented people in one place. I love the bands they choose and the size of the festival. It’s well managed and a has a great vibe!”
Erin is dead on and you can see some of the best and brightest talent from around our beautiful state including The Ragbirds, Breathe Owl Breathe, The Macpodz, Ella Riot, Airborne or Aquatic, Seth & May, The Crane Wives and many more!
It’s more than just music – Hoxeyville is held on 85 acres of northern Michigan farmland and hardwood forest that gets you feeling like you’re away from it all. So you don’t feel too far out there, they have a swimming pool, showers, plug-ins, dump station and wireless Internet. The festival also features a disc golf course with a glow course, VIP and quiet camping options, a vendor village and a beer tent featuring some of the finest brews from the region. To ensure you can enjoy the intimate vibe, attendance is capped at 5000!
Hoxeyville is also a leader among green festivals and offers incentives for “green acts” and was able to compost more than 70% of the waste produced, use biodegradable cups & plates and even to reduce its carbon footprint by powering its stages and productions using biodiesel generators!
All this can be yours with a pair of free weekend passes that include camping – enter below and read on for a highlight from Hoxeyville 2010!
To be entered in every one of the Festival Summer giveaways, just join our email list using the form below!
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!
“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…
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
We’ve pulled together a great collection of Great Lakes & Michigan surfing videos with a few links:
- The photo was taken on Lake Michigan at Leland. You can see more surfing photos on Michigan in Pictures and also on Northern Michigan Surf on Facebook and in the Surfing slideshow from the Absolute Michigan pool!
- The best of the bunch is below, a TV special on Grand Haven filmmaker Vince Deur’s movie Unsalted. the 7 minute short introduces you to the history and present day of Great Lakes surfing. There’s also a couple of outtakes that take you to surfing hot spots like Michigan’s Lake Superior shore in winter! Last December we ran Michigan Film: Unsalted: A Great Lakes Experience that has all the details (including where to get it!) and tons of clips from the definitive work on riding the freshwater wave.
- The Roxy Get Outside Tour recently visited Grand Haven, Michigan with a couple pro female surfers. They also answered the “Michigan question” and visited the Great Lakes Surf Association (more Michigan footage including waterskiing at the Roxy blog)
- Surfing isn’t just for lakes any more, there’s also the Grand River Surf (featuring some cool Police tunes…)
- If surfing isn’t fast enough (or the waves aren’t big enough) there’s always kiteboarding. Boarding Lake Michigan Waves from South Beach in South Haven shows you highlights of surfers, kiteboarders and windsurfers. Every September, the King of the Great Lakes Kiteboarding Competition is held in Grand Haven. You can visit Mackinac Kites for information on the event.
- Pure Michigan gets in the act with the Fresh Water Surfing page.
- Check out Absolute Michigan keyword surf for surfing articles and surfing-related businesses! Might as well try Absolute Michigan keyword kiteboard too!
Did we miss something? Of course we did!! Tell us and/or add a link in the comments.
Remember the sights, sounds, and smells of a summer celebration in your hometown when you were a kid? Well, happy days return to Traverse City’s beautiful Lake Michigan shores July 3-10, 2010, during the National Cherry Festival featuring 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 (2010 will have local cherries!) prepared every way you can imagine!
A Short History of The National Cherry Festival
The Cherry Festival began in 1926 as the Blessing of the Blossoms Festivals in the spring. In 1933 it was renamed the National Cherry Festival and moved to mid to late July in order to coincide with the cherry harvest. It was then later moved again to early July in order to simultaneously occur with the Fourth of July weekend. The festivals annual attendance is now over 500,000 over the course of eight days. The National Cherry Festival has played host to many special guests and dignitaries, including President Gerald R. Ford, Former Astronaut James Lovell, PGA Touring Professional Dan Pohl, Jerry Mathers, and an assortment of Michigan governors.
Global Wine Pavilion
The National Cherry Festival will once again offer wine lovers of all levels an unsurpassed wine experience at the Global Wine Pavillion on the beautiful, tree-studded former Clinch Park Zoo property in downtown Traverse City. The three night event, Thursday-Saturday, July 8-10 from 5-10 PM will feature a superb collection of over 90 wines & almost 40 different grape varieties selected by Master Sommelier Ron Edwards. A $10 entry fee buys you an Andrea Robinson designed wine glass â€“ The One â€“ and your first glass of wine. The One is thought by many experts to be the world’s perfect wine glass, so every wine you taste in the Pavilion and at home will be perfectly presented.
Parades, Music, Fireworks & More!
In addition to two parades and the crowning of the 2010 National Cherry Queen, Cherry Festival boasts an air show featuring the Blue Angels, beach volleyball tournament, Old Mission Peninsula bike tour, bed race, car show, live music, carnival midway and classic events like the cherry pit spitting contest.
More National Cherry Festival Links
- National Cherry Festival web site
- Area lodging, dining & more at Absolute Michigan keyword “Traverse City”
- Food Network: Top 5 Video featuring the National Cherry Festival
- Traverse City Record Eagle: National Cherry Festival Guide
- 1354 Cherry Related Recipes from FoodTV.com
- National Cherry Festival from Wikipedia
- The Unofficial National Cherry Homepage
- Michigan Cherries
- Absolute Michigan keyword search “Cherry”
danenmolly (Molly) is a friend of mine from the real world and her husband Dane is a pilot – hence the rare photo opportunity showing The Whaleback and North Lake Leelanau taken from high above Lake Michigan’s Manitou Passage.
Be sure to check this out bigger and you can see more from this flight in her Fishtown – Leland – Good Harbor – Manitou Islands – Leelanau Peninsula set (slideshow). Her other sets include Aerial Photographs and Lake Michigan Sunsets.
Dive into her Flickriver.
This article originally appeared on Leelanau.com – click the photo for a bigger view!
The Michigan Wildlife Conservancy has released results of an investigation that appears to validate a cougar presence in Michigan. The apparent cougar was photographed near the south shore of Glen Lake in Leelanau County:
On Labor Day, September 7, 2009 Dr. Jerome Wiater and his adult son, Christian, observed what they believed to be a cougar (mountain lion) at about 3:30 p.m. on a clear, sunny day. The sighting was along County Road 675 near its intersection with County Road 616. Dr. Wiater, an orthopedic surgeon (MD) residing in Bingham Farms, Michigan, was walking to Glen Lake with a camera in hand, planning to water ski. He and Christian (who was nearby) were startled to see a large, long-tailed cat they believed was about the size of a big dog. Dr. Wiater snapped two photos of the animalâ€”one when it was in shade and the other when the animal was walking in a shallow roadside depression through a more sunny spot approximately 209 feet away.
The site is adjacent to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore where the National Park Service has had â€œcougar warningâ€ signs at its trailheads since fall of 2003. Dr. Patrick Rusz, director of wildlife programs for the Wildlife Conservancy, took measurements and photos of objects of known size at the site and analyzed the photos in consultation with forensic photography experts. His conclusion is that the animal had the profile (llikely more than 30 inches long) and coloration of a cougar and was too large to be a house cat.
“Both Jerome and Christian Wiater stated that the animal they observed was about the same size as their pet hound,” noted Dr. Rusz. “Based on my analysis, it may have been slightly smaller than the dog, but was definitely the size of a small cougar. The Wiater photos, along with decades of sighting reports and tracks found in the same general area during the past 9 years, provide compelling evidence of the presence of cougars in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore area.”
Click the photo above to see it bigger or head over to Flickr. You can also see Rusz’s full report and see the larger photos at the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy and read more about Michigan cougars at Absolute Michigan.