Fall really comes into all of its colorful glory during October. It brings with it a whole new set of tastes and experiences. Here are a dozen delightful ways to make the most of autumn this month.
If you haven’t experienced ArtPrize in Grand Rapids yet, you’re missing out on one of the state’s most unique experiences. The annual art competition transforms the city into a unique urban gallery. Works of art can be found in expected places like Grand Rapids Art Museum as well as the unexpected, like the Grand River itself. Visitors to the city will find art installations around nearly every corner, in almost 200 different venues, and it’s all free. Through both a juried competition and a public vote, a total of $500,000 in prizes are awarded. www.artprize.org
While Michigan is well known for its Riesling and other white varietals, there has been a recent influx of incredible reds into the portfolio as well. This event is all about discovering those, and supporting a great cause ta boot. Head to Leelanau Peninsula any weekday (Mon-Fri) in October. Your $10 ticket buys you a signature glass, a complimentary pour of the featured red at each of 20 participating wineries, and a $5 donation to support the local American Red Cross Chapter. www.lpwines.com
Every fall some new residents invade downtown Northville, and they love visitors. Join the revelry throughout October, with 110 skeletons scattered about town, including 8-10 newcomers this year. Special activities, including food trucks, a dance company, live music, and street performers, will be held on Oct 6, 6pm-9pm, as part of the city’s monthly First Friday celebrations. The Marquis Theatre will be presenting spooky movie nights on Saturday Oct 14 (Nightmare on Elm Street); Oct 21 (Beetlejuice); and Oct 28 (Hocus Pocus). Movie tickets are only $5 per person and each show starts at 7pm.
Oct 13-14 Haunted Lighthouse Weekend – East Tawas
You can never go wrong visiting a Michigan lighthouse. Tawas Point has been standing tall on the Lake Huron shore since 1876, and the view from her lantern room is breathtaking. By day, festivities on the grounds include games, hay rides, and crafts. Evening events also include trick or treating in the campground and a Monster Bash dance at the pavilion. The event is free, though a Recreation Passport is required for park entry. The biggest treat of all is the opportunity to climb inside the lighthouse by day, or, for this special weekend, even at night. There is a $2 admission per person to enter the lighthouse, and the view alone is worth it.
Even at other times of year it’s not difficult to imagine spirits roaming throughout the night in historic Greenfield Village. In October, they make an effort to conjure them up. The flickering lights of hand-carved jack-o'-lanterns will light your path as you stroll amidst costumed characters, dancing skeletons, witches and wizards. If you’re not careful, the Headless Horseman may even cross your path. www.thehenryford.org
Looking for brews and views? Then this event is for you. Held on the beautiful lakefront in downtown Escanaba, UPtoberfest is the Upper Peninsula’s largest beer and wine festival. All the beer and wine served will be from Michigan, with the majority of it coming from the “yoop” or tip of the “mitt.” There will also be brewing demos, games and music by ToHuBoHu. Tickets are $35. The event runs from 2pm-7pm and proceeds benefit The United Way of Delta County. www.uptoberfest.org
How can a day filled with chocolate be anything but brilliant? Join the team at Michigan’s famous chocolatier, Sanders, as they celebrate their newly renovated flagship store. You’ll see North America’s only waterfall of real chocolate, and watch the candy makers create scrumptious treats before your very eyes. There are plenty of fun activities for the kids including face painting, caricatures, balloon twisting, and a visit from the Lions’ mascot, Roary. There will also be exclusive deals to stock up on your faves and even a few chances to win prizes. www.sanderscandy.com/reopening
If you want a really unique setting and some unusual friends with which to sample some of Michigan’s finest microbrews, how about a zoo? Tip back a few amidst the cheetahs, wolves, and snow leopards, while enjoying live music, tasty specialty dishes, and animal presentations. This event is 21 and over only, and tickets are limited. www.binderparkzoo.org
There’s hardly a better place to celebrate the city’s rich brewing history than at one of the nation’s oldest farm markets. Beer aficionados and revelers will descend upon Eastern Market for this lively 2-day event, now entering its 9th year. More than 800 beers from nearly 120 Michigan breweries are expected to be on tap. Tickets for Friday are $40 in advance (and $45 at the door, if any remain available); Saturday tickets are $45 in advance. Admission includes 15 tasting tokens, each good for a three-ounce sample. Additional tokens are 50-cents each. www.MIbeer.com
A quiet Michigan town named Howell, would almost be foolish not to create an event by this name. Come in costume to truly embrace the spirit of the season. Now in its 15th year, this gigantic outdoor trick or treating event is also host to the Headless Horseman 5k/10k & Monster Mile, along with other activities like hay rides, a canine costume contest, and a kids’ maze. www.sleepyhowell.com
Head to the Jackson County Fairgrounds for some early holiday shopping and loads of fall fun. Kids can play games, paint gourds, pet some furry friends, and even meet Roary, the Detroit Lions Mascot, all for free, courtesy of American 1 Credit Union. “Steampunk Eddie,” winner of Game Show Network’s show, Steampunk’d will also be on hand with his Steampunk Smash machine. Watch a show, grab a bite from a food truck, and explore the main attraction—plenty of vendors selling Michigan-made products. www.buymichigannowfest.com
This wacky event has become a Halloween tradition in TC. With Right Brain Brewery as the host, the celebratory beer is bound to be Spooktacular, and you never know what kind of zombie you might sight. Proceeds benefit T.A.R.T (Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trails). Go for the run, stay for the beer. www.tczombierun.com
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