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12 Things to Do During July in Michigan

by Lisa Diggs

Festivals really take main stage around the state this month. Live music, amazing food, incredible attractions, here are a dozen fun ideas worth taking in.


July 4-11 National Cherry Festival – Traverse City

If you haven’t been yet, be sure to head to T.C. at least once in your lifetime for this exultation of our state’s cherry goodness. Michigan produces nearly 75% of America’s tart cherries, so it’s no wonder this long-standing local tradition is called the National Cherry Festival. In all, there are more than 150 events to enjoy along the shores of Lake Michigan's stunning Grand Traverse Bay. This fest has been named in USA Today’s top ten festivals for several years running. The best part of all is that it’s chock full of cherries served up in nearly every scrumptious way you can imagine, and some that you can’t even…yet.  

July 7-12 Common Ground Music Festival – Lansing

If you love music, there is definitely something for you at this weeklong celebration in Adado Riverfront Park. From country to alternative, rock to hip hop, pop to rap, this event features national headlining artists mixed with regional and local favorites to create the summer’s six most entertaining nights in Lansing. This year’s featured artists include: Meghan Trainor, Jane’s Addiction, The Band Perry, Snoop Dogg, and many more.  


July 7-12 Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians Pow Wow – Sault Ste. Marie

For an incredible cultural experience and perhaps a glimpse into times past, take in the Pow Wow, or Jiigtamok, which has historical, social and spiritual value to American Indian people. Pow Wows, or celebrations, as they were called, were originally held in the spring to celebrate the new beginning of life. Witness or participate in traditional dance, drumming, and songs. You’ll also find unique arts and crafts.

July 9-11 Kalamazoo Blues Fest – Kalamazoo

Like they said in the 1987 teen angst classic, Adventures in Babysitting, “Nobody leaves this place without singing the Blues.” You’ll be tapping your foot and nodding your head at this fest, which features an array of well-known artists including Shemekia Copeland, Southern Hospitality, Dawn Tyler Watson with Ben Racine, Larry McCray, Scott Holt, Ghost Town Blues Band, and The Reverend Peytons Big Damn Band. This year's event will bring a total of 22 local, regional, and national blues acts to twin stages at downtown Kalamazoo's Arcadia Festival Site.  

July 15-18 Ann Arbor Art Fair – Ann Arbor

Like the Cherry Festival is to Traverse City, this annual celebration is an absolute mainstay in Ann Arbor. Bigger than a single event, this is actually a group of four award-winning art fairs together. It attracts over 500,000 visitors annually. The concurrent fairs include the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair, South University Art Fair and the State Street Area Art Fair. The varied parts of the fair fit together to form a gigantic, amazing, colorful array of sights and sounds that you have to experience to believe.  

July 18 Be a Tourist in Your Home Town – Flint

Most of us do a much better job of exploring destinations unknown, than we do taking a closer look in our own backyards. That concept is the impetus behind this one-day discovery event in Flint. For just $1.00 per person, “tourists” can visit and enjoy many different venues around Flint & Genesee. The Be a Tourist Passport is also valid for discounts at many businesses and restaurants in Downtown Flint’s Entertainment District. Passports can be picked-up at the Riverfront Banquet Center in downtown Flint on the day of the event.


July 18 Bayview Port Huron to Mackinac Yacht Race – Port Huron

We love our Great Lakes, and there are few views more spectacular than watching yachts glide across one of them. This sailing tradition is one of the largest fresh-water sporting events in the world and has easily grown into Port Huron’s greatest summer celebration. Sailboats even begin gathering in the harbor in the days prior to the race. Come early on race day, where boats begin parading out of the harbor and into Lake Huron as early as 8AM to line-up for the race.

July 18-19 Quake on the Lake – Waterford

The big boats are back! If you’ve ever been to a hydroplane boat race and felt the thunder as those monsters fly by, you’ll understand how this sporting spectacle came to be called “Quake on the Lake.”  These beasts are 12’ wide, built of carbon fiber and other lightweight composite materials and weigh-in at around 2,900 pounds. The event is the proud to have prompted 19 American Power Boat Association (APBA) world speed records set in five different racing classes. The action is thrilling as Pontiac Lake provides one of the fastest one-mile race courses in the country.


July 23-25 FAB MagiCelebration Magic Festival – Colon

If you have a would-be magician in your household, this is the place to be. Once home to Harry Blackstone and now home to the world's largest manufacturer of handmade magic apparatus, Colon has been dubbed the “Magic Capitol of the World.” Each year performers from around the globe cast a spell on the tiny town. Acts from Las Vegas and elsewhere appear in order to create a magical experience for families. Each night includes a featured illusionist and there’s plenty of family-friendly comedic magic too.

July 23-26 Wish-A-Mile Bicycle Tour – Brooklyn

If you love cycling, there are few more rewarding events to take part in than the 28th Annual Wish-A-Mile Bicycle Tour (WAM). Cycle through 300 hundred miles of beautiful countryside from Brooklyn to Traverse City and back. In addition to scenic rides, the event raises dollars to grant wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. WAM also offers a fun one-day, 50-mile ride. Both rides travel through a special designated area named the Silent Mile to honor loved ones lost too soon but never forgotten. Not a rider? You can still support WAM and Make-A-Wish Michigan by joining in as a volunteer or donor.

July 24-25 Michigan Summer Beer Festival – Ypsilanti

You’ll find few Craft Beer Month celebrations that are bigger or better than the Summer Beer Festival. This event is the oldest of the Michigan Brewers Guild’s four annual festivals. Located along the banks of the Huron River, it features more than 80 different Michigan breweries and 800+ beers! A variety of tasty food items are available for purchase from independent food vendors inside the festival accompanied by a diverse selection of live music from local bands.

July 25-26 Art on the Rocks – Marquette

For well over fifty years this event has been an Upper Peninsula tradition. It has grown to be one of the finest art shows in the country, attracting over 175 artists and 10,000 people each year. Located in Mattson Lower Harbor Park, this ideal setting is sandwiched between Marquette’s historic downtown and the Cinder Pond Marina on beautiful Lake Superior. It’s a gorgeous time of year to check out the big lake they call Gitche Gumee, and some incredible art as well. 

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