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
- Thomas Hood
Fast Facts – Wikipedia
- 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 & More – Grand 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 Train – Coopersville & 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 Festival – Cedar 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 Festival – Trenton
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.
Oktoberfest – Douglas
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 Fallfest – Benzie
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.
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.
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 Festival – Baker 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.
New Buffalo Harvest and Wine Fest – New 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.
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 Village – Dearborn
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.
Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Marathon – Detroit
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.
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.
Food, Wine and All That Jazz – Grand 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.