We’re all ready to march into spring. Here are a dozen delightful ways to get started.
If the the beauty of these glorious little creatures isn’t enough of a draw, then how about the temperature? You don’t have to head to the tropics to warm up, this exhibit is 85 degrees with 70% humidity. It’s the perfect way to usher in spring as butterflies emerge from chrysalides, or cocoons, daily at the Butterfly Bungalow. With over 7,000 butterflies representing 50 different species, the Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming exhibition at Meijer Gardens is the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the nation. If you’re lucky one or two may even land on you…but make sure they don’t leave with you too. www.meijergardens.org
If you’re a beer aficionado, chances are you either crave, or are dying to try, Founders’ Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Affectionately known as KBS, this delectable imperial stout is brewed with coffee and chocolates and ages in oak bourbon barrels for a year in the caves beneath Grand Rapids. It is frequently included in lists of the best beers in the world, so demand often exceeds supply. That is why the annual release has grown from a day to a weeklong celebration. Fans can order the brew in limited quantities to be picked up from Founders during this week. Many hotels offer discounts and restaurants and bars offer the popular beer on tap. www.kbsweek.com
Whether you enjoy the performances or would like to someday be the performer, March is truly a magical time in Michigan. The Abbott Magic Close-up Convention provides aspiring magicians the chance to expand their repertoires and audiences a chance to simply be awed by some of the greatest close-up talent in the world. This year’s event includes performances by Michael Ammar and Bruce Bernstein. www.abbottmagic.com
Combine your butterfly viewing with some seriously good giggles by visiting Grand Rapids during Gilda’s LaughFest. Now more than ever it seems like people could use more humor and this event puts an emphasis on laughter as a healer. The 10-day fest includes stand-up comedy, improv, music, dance, speakers, films, and showcases. Best of all, 100% of the proceeds benefit Gilda’s Club. This year’s talented lineup includes Howie Mandel, Joel McHale, Sinbad, and Katt Williams among others. www.laughfestgr.org
March 11 Southern Michigan Winter Beer Festival – Jackson
Quench your thirst at the 7th Annual Southern Michigan Winter Beer Festival, and try a variety of Michigan’s best. The party takes place from 12pm-5pm in the American 1 Event Center at the Jackson County Fairgrounds. It’s a great opportunity to sample from a choice of over 150 different brews including offerings from Arcadia, Bell’s, Dark House, Founder’s, Grand River Brewery, North Peak, and Witch’s Hat to name but a few. Compliment your beverages with hearty vittles, play some cornhole, and hang out with friends around a campfire. www.jacksoncountyfair.net
While in Jackson, pop by the Women’s Expo presented by American 1 Credit Union at the Middle School at Parkside. Female energy takes center stage at this shopper’s paradise that is filled with health, beauty, and fashion products as well as other ways for women to pamper themselves. The event runs from 10AM-4PM and admission is free. www.american1cu.org/womens-expo
Corktown, Detroit’s oldest neighborhood, has a storied history of welcoming Irish immigrants so it’s the perfect place to usher in our greenest holiday. While the neighborhood is much more diverse these days, it’s still home to a seriously fun party to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Come early and participate in the Corktown races in the morning and/or take in the parade at Noon. Either way, stay and join in the revelry at many of Detroit’s best known watering holes. www.detroitstpatricksparade.com
Clare County got its name from County Clare in Ireland so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it plays host to one of the state’s best Irish celebrations at this time of year. The 5-day flurry of events includes: bowling tournaments, road races, bed races, parades, silent auction, live music, pub crawls, and of course lots of fun for the little leprechauns in your family. Don’t forget to stop by Cops & Doughnuts for a sweet treat while in town. www.clareirishfestival.com
New Orleans may be best known for Mardi Gras celebrations, but make no mistake, for some, venturing to Nub’s Nob is an annual tradition too. Weather permitting, there’s something special about welcoming spring with shorts and skis. Festivities include a costume contest, silly races, the Dorie Sarns Challenge, the Petoskey Steel Drum Band and their infamous Soaker Cup. www.nubsnob.com
Whether you’re a regular visitor to one of the nation’s oldest markets, or have yet to discover it, an insider tour provides a unique perspective. During the guided tour, guests stroll from shed to shed and visit specialty stores to learn about unique products, hear fun facts and history of the area, and sampling various foods. Enjoy seasonal nibbles, hot soups and beverages while exploring the stunning art murals that have become an area staple. You’ll also visit an art gallery, jazz club and possibly even a letterpress shop. www.enjoythed.com
Now entering its seventh year, Grand Rapids’ premiere Celtic celebration seems to grow each season. This year it stretches along Ionia from Oakes to Fulton and on Weston to Commerce. DJs will be spinning tunes and live performances can be found on two stages. Scheduled entertainers include: Arden Academy of Irish Dance, Blarney Castle, Crossbow, and Stone Clover. The event runs from 7AM-10PM, and tickets range from $15-$60. www.irishonionia.com
March Madness takes the nation by storm each year, but in East Lansing, March Magic Hoopfest adds extra basketball excitement. The famous Jenison Field House at MSU is converted into an interactive basketball playground for children of all ages in conjunction with MHSAA Boys' Basketball Semi-Finals and Finals. The event includes a variety of games, basketball skill venues, historical displays, and educational activities. Admission is free to tournament ticket-holders and only $2 for the general public. www.marchmagichoopfest.com
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