Every season is festival season in Michigan, but the spring and summer months brim with vibrant celebrations and cultural gatherings. Ethnic foods, live music, local art, and blooming flowers are just a sampling of what groups experience at Michigan’s festivals. From the sunny shore of Lake Michigan to urban city centers, Michigan’s festival destinations welcome groups to join in on the fun.

Head to downtown Detroit over Labor Day weekend to celebrate the city’s rich jazz history. For over 40 years, the Detroit Jazz Festival has joined music enthusiasts and musicians in what is now the largest jazz music festival in the world. Rising stars and jazz legends take the stage to captivate festivalgoers with tunes from over 60 performers in the historic Hart Plaza and Campus Martius Park.

Mackinac Island Lilac Festival
Credit: Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau

Experience spring in full bloom at the eight-day Tulip Time Festival in early May and 10-day Mackinac Island Lilac Festival in early June. Each spring, the Tulip Time Festival celebrates Dutch culture and a rainbow of color when 5 million tulips shoot up from the soil in Holland, Michigan. Four hours north of Holland, the Mackinac Island Lilac Festival honors the common lilac that blooms across the island in every shade of pink and magenta imaginable.

Traditional German music and Polka bands fill the streets of downtown Franken- muth at the annual Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival in early June. Groups can clink beer steins, watch Bavarian dancers twirl, and listen to authentic German bands during the four-day street festival, culminating in a final celebration during the massive Sunday Bavarian Festival Parade.

Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival
Credit: Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival

Head north to the “Cherry Capital of the World” to experience the National Cherry Festival in downtown Traverse City. During the eight-day celebration in early July, more than 500,000 visitors sample cherry-inspired dishes, listen to live music, and soak up lazy summer days on the Grand Traverse Bay. Freshwater enthusiasts will also love the annual Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival, a 10-day festival from the last weekend in July to early August. The “Coast Guard City” celebration gathers locals and visitors to honor the men and women of the United States Coast Guard and enjoy family- friendly activities, boat parades, and local art and food vendors.

7 Can’t-Miss Midwest Festivals

Take a selfie with Elvis,fill up on pierogies, and chuck dried ‘cow chips’ at quirky Midwest events

Grumpy Old Men Festival (Wabasha, Minnesota)
Pay homage to the film “Grumpy Old Men” every February with ice fishing competitions, live music, and the annual Grumpy Plunge.

Superman Celebration
Credit: Metropolis Chamber of Commerce

Logan Washboard Arts & Music Festival (Logan, Ohio)
Listen to washboard music and support local vendors every June in the home of the only remaining washboard manufacturing company in the United States.

Metropolis Superman Celebration (Metropolis, Illinois)
Join hundreds of Superman fans to celebrate the comic icon every June.

Niagara Falls Elvis Festival (Niagara Falls, Canada)
This memorial tribute in April fea- tures the best Elvis impersonators from around the world.

Pierogi Fest (Whiting, Indiana)
Eat an abundance of pierogies and other ethnic foods from around the world at this famous local street festival held every July.

Walcott Truckers Jamboree (Walcott, Iowa)
Celebrate America’s truckers at the world’s largest truck stop, The Iowa 80 Truckstop, every July.

Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw (Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin)
Compete or cheer on contestants as they see how far they can chuck a “cow chip” at this annual September event.

Written by Erica Zazo

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