As summer winds down in Michigan, we pack our weekends full of festivals, indulging in the last of the warm, sunny days, and ringing in the harvest season. There are dozens each week, including music festivals, beer fests and art fairs. We’ve gone through the lengthy list and picked out some of the best family friendly events coming up in the next few months.
Michigan’s State Fair in the Upper Peninsula
Escanaba, August 15 – 21
Considered the crossroads of the U. P., Escanaba is nestled in the Northwoods along Lake Michigan. Since 1928, it’s hosted the Upper Peninsula State Fair. Visitors come from all over the country to the fair to experience and celebrate the unique culture and heritage of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Events include a lumberjack show, live music, chainsaw carving, and sand sculpture demonstrations. And just like any other fair, you’ll find a midway and livestock on exhibit.
Festival on the Bay
Petoskey, August 19 – 20
This Northern Michigan festival in Petoskey is held along the waterfront of Little Traverse Bay. It’s bursting at the seams with family friendly events. A fun Children’s Area is open all weekend with activities to keep the kids busy. Children can show their artistic side during Chalk the Walk. They’ll also enjoy the petting zoo and Petoskey Stone hunting. Older kids can let loose at the teen dance. Friday is Free Family Fun Night featuring live entertainment from Brotha James. A midway will also be on tap.
Dragon on the Lake
Lake Orion, August 25 -28
For over 30 years, the community of Lake Orion has celebrated art and music at this unique festival that features dragon boat racing. There’s something for everyone with a chalk art challenge that includes a kid’s category and prizes for the winners. The Kid’s Zone hosts magicians, dance performances, martial arts demonstrations and local music. At night the lighted boat parade dazzles spectators, and of course folks of all ages will thrill to the site of dragon boat races across the lake.
St. Clair County Farm Museum Harvest Festival
Wales, August 26 – 28
This festival brings history to life while celebrating Michigan’s rich farming heritage. Travel back to the past with steam engine demonstrations. See an old Sawmill at work. Learn threshing techniques from the old days and so much more! The historical museum in town will also be open. Kids will have fun on the barrel train ride and find even more to do in the kid’s activity tent.
Ypsilanti, August 26 – 28
Ypsilanti, located between Ann Arbor and Detroit, is home to Eastern Michigan University. Every year the town celebrates with a festival that features a rubber duck race down the river. You’ll also find live entertainment and plenty of yummy food. Kids will enjoy the Touch-a-Truck event and special activities in the children’s tent.
Charlotte, September. 8 -11
Charlotte is just outside of Michigan’s capital city, Lansing. Kids will love this western-themed festival. A rodeo is the main event. There are also pony rides, woodworking demonstrations and a parade featuring cowboys. Visitors can put on their cowboy hats, pull on their boots and participate in the western wear contest.
Frankenmuth, Sept. 9 – 11
If you love cars, this festival in the Thumb city of Frankenmuth is the place to be. Over 2000 classic cars come to town for this event, throwing one big party the whole family will enjoy. Prizes are awarded to exhibitors on the last day. Live music, food and spectator giveaways round out this event.
Tecumseh, October 8 – 9
Kick off the fall season at the appropriately named Appleumpkin Festival. The Scarecrow Make-and-take lets your family create their very own scarecrow to take home. Kids will enjoy the midway rides, carnival games, inflatables, straw maze and corn box. Take the shuttle bus to an orchard just outside of downtown where you can go on a hay ride and treat yourself to cider and donuts.
Charlevoix, Oct. 14 – 16
Celebrate nature’s bounty at this fall harvest festival in Northern Michigan along the shores of Lake Michigan. You’ll find more than 30 types of apples as well as pumpkins, mums, squash, jam, cider and more. Locally sourced honey, meat and vegetables will also be available. Kid’s activities include face painting and a petting zoo.