The Great Lakes State is home to plenty of well-known festivals. From Tulip Time in Holland to Traverse City’s famous Cherry Festival, there’s no shortage of celebrations to explore throughout the region. But there are dozens of small-town festivals that are also worth visiting, despite their less-famous names. Here are ten marvelous Michigan celebrations to check out in the coming months.
1. Native American Festival (St. Ignace, May 27-28)
Michigan has a rich Native American heritage, and this festival is the ideal place to learn a bit more about the history of our state’s earliest residents. Experience traditional dance performances, explore the world of Native American handicrafts, and try your hand at creating a drum beat or two. No matter what your age, there’s something fun for every participant at this festival.
2. Imlay City Blueberry Festival (Imlay City, July 21-22)
This two-day celebration is the perfect opportunity to indulge in your favorite sweet blue fruit! Treat your taste buds to any and every sort of blueberry dish you can imagine, check out the annual "Little Miss" Pageant, and be sure to stick around for the Blueberry Festival parade on Saturday. You’ll be anything but blue when you’re finished at this awesome event.
3. National Asparagus Festival (Oceana County, second weekend in June)
Lovers of this tasty green veggie will be in heaven with a visit to the National Asparagus Festival, which is just as unique as it sounds. Since 1974, this one-of-a-kind celebration has payed tribute to the area’s agricultural success with a plethora of asparagus-themed activities. You’ll even get to watch the annual crowning of the Asparagus Queen!
4. Lilac Festival (Mackinac Island, June 9-18)
Head to Mackinac Island for this breathtaking celebration of the gorgeous lilac flower. Hop on a carriage tour, enjoy an outdoor concert, and, of course, take in the sweet scent of lilacs across the island. Don’t forget to stick around for the Grand Parade and the crowning of the Lilac Festival Queen!
5. American Polish Festival (Sterling Heights, July 7-9)
Celebrate all things Polish at this fun festival, which features everything from traditional dancing to polka music. Observe a pierogi eating challenge, sip on a beverage or two at the beer tent, or grab a few unique cultural crafts at the on-site craft show. This festival is the perfect place to learn about Polish heritage while bonding with family and friends.
6. Brew Festival (Harbor Springs, October 7)
If you don’t have time for an entire weekend of fun, this is the festival for you! Beer enthusiasts will have a blast at the Brew Fest in Harbor Springs, which is just what it sounds like: a celebration of all things hoppy. Sip on beverages from all sorts of breweries, both local and imported. Just be sure to designate a driver for the ride home!
7. Bay-Rama Fish Fly Festival (New Baltimore, June 21-25)
There’s truly something for everyone at this ultra-fun festival, which is named for the hordes of fish flies that show up in the region every summer. Take a spin on one of dozens of carnival rides, enjoy the festival parade, and cozy up with your sweetheart during a fireworks display. There’s no better place to enjoy small-town Michigan during the summer.
8. National Morel Mushroom Festival (Boyne City, May 18-21)
This might just be the most unique festival in the entire state of Michigan. If you’re a fan of mushrooms, there’s no better place to be than the National Morel Mushroom Festival. Peruse a craft show, taste all sorts of morel-infused dishes, and participate in the National Mushroom Hunt competition. Who knows: you could even go home with a prize!
9. Wizard of Oz Festival (Ionia, June 17)
Gather with fellow fans of the Wizard of Oz at this completely magical event, which takes place each summer in downtown Ionia. Dress up as your favorite character and check out all sorts of Oz-themed activities and events — whether you’re decked out in munchkin garb or donning ruby red slippers, you’ll feel like you’ve taken a wonderful trip over the rainbow at this Michigan festival.
10. Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival (Shepherd, April 27-30)
Are you a maple syrup fanatic? If you’re looking for a way to indulge in everyone’s favorite sweet and sticky topping, head to this weekend-long festival in Shepherd. With pageants, parades, and pancake dinners, there’s no better way to celebrate your favorite sugary delight.
Did we forget any of your favorite small-town festivals in Michigan? Have you visited any of the awesome celebrations listed above? We’d love to hear your thoughts and memories in the comment section!