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12 Things to Do in Michigan in August

by Lisa Diggs

August means it's almost time to start thinking "back-to-school," but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of summer fun still to be had. Here are our highlights for August.

July 29-August 3 Traverse City Film Festival – Traverse City

Academy Award winning filmmaker, Michael Moore, is the brains behind bringing a world class film festival to Michigan. The host city provides a scenic respite for actors and directors to come in and promote their films, and it’s also home to the State Theatre, a venue that harkens back to the golden age of cinema. It was recently named the #1 theater in the world to see a movie by the Motion Picture Association of America, and it’s one of fourteen venues around the town that comprise the festival. You can even see a movie on a boat this year! www.traversecityfilmfest.org.   

 
August 1-2 JazzFest – Lansing

The streets of historic Old Town in Lansing will be teeming with jazz for 20 hours. The event is free with music on three stages, activities for children, and wonderful food and crafts vendors. Event organizers say an average of 10,000 jazz fans from Mid-Michigan and beyond have been enjoying this event since 1995! www.jazzlansing.com

 
August 1-3 Buy Michigan Now Festival – Northville

Admittedly we might be biased, but there is no better place to celebrate Buy Michigan Week than at this festival. Chock full of Michigan-made foods like marinades, condiments, salsas, spice mixes, candy, fudge, shortbread, and pies, it’s a delight to the palate. You’ll also find plenty of other local products, talented musicians, the Fox Sports April in the D bobble statues, and a kids zone to entertain the whole crew. www.buymichigannowfest.com  

 
August 7-9 Ribfest – Kalamazoo

If you love good barbecue then get yourself to Arcadia Creek Festival Place in Kzoo for Ribfest. This 20-year tradition features national and local vendors selling ribs and chicken in outstanding barbeque sauces. Michigan makes an amazing array of sauces, so naturally we hope you’ll give the locals extra attention. Additional food vendors will be offering side items and sweet treats to top off the food experience and your ears will be as delighted as your tastebuds with a stellar lineup of live music, including country star, James Wesley, and Dennis DeYoung of Styx-fame. www.kalamazooribfest.com

 

August 8-9 Festival of the Horse – Mackinac Island

Anyone who has ever had the joy of visiting Mackinac Island knows that the clomp of horse hooves is such a familiar sound that you miss it when you leave. So it’s no surprise that the engines that fuel the island warrant a party of their own. The Mackinac Island Festival of the Horse is an annual event celebrating all things horses including a saddle horse and carriage parade, the Breeds of Mackinac presentation, special guests, pony rides and all kinds of fun for the whole family. It’s a great chance to go meet Mackinac's horses up close. www.mackinacislandfestivalofthehorse.org

 
August 8-10 Mint Festival – St Johns

Celebrate over 100 years of mint farming in Clinton County with arts & crafts, a flea market, food concessions, a parade, five sports tournaments, mint farm tours, free entertainment and new & old cars. Hopefully those cars are in mint condition. A passion of the festival is family fun including Kids World all weekend long and Kids Day on Sunday with exotic animals and games. www.clintoncountychamber.org/mint-festival

 
August 14-16 Riverfest – Mendon

Chances are you may have never visited the tiny village of Mendon, nestled along the St. Joseph River, but this is a good time to change that. Reed Riverside Park features a strolling boardwalk, a large gazebo overlooking the river, a large pavilion, and a small gazebo overlooking the park that is your source for festival and town information. The event includes a fishing tournament as well as kayak, toy boat, canoe, and duck races. Bring your swimsuit to partake in the “Canoe Swamp.” or stay dry and enjoy a leisurely pontoon ride. www.mendonriverfest.net

 
August 15-17 African World Festival – Detroit

After a successful 31st African World Festival that brought over 150,000 attendees to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, the African World Festival will be celebrated once again on the grounds of museum. This culturally-rich celebration features performances, poetry, arts and crafts, African drumming and dance, hundreds of vendors, ethnic foods, and events for all ages. www.thewright.org/african-world-festival

 

August 16 Woodward Dream Cruise – Southeastern Michigan

It’s hard to believe that the Dream Cruise started as a simple fundraiser for a soccer field in Ferndale. That was back in 1995. The event drew nearly 250,000 people, and organizers knew they were onto something. Appropriately enough for Motown, this is now the world’s largest one-day celebration of car culture and attracts more than 1.5 million visitors and more than 50,000 muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special interest vehicles. They park and cruise from 9am to 9pm through eight communities of Berkley, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Ferndale, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, Pontiac and Royal Oak. Technically it’s a one-day event, but fans will tell you the cars can be seen cruising all week long. www.woodwarddreamcruise.com

 
August 22-23 Great Lakes Gathering – Saginaw

It doesn’t have to be St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate the Irish. Saginaw will be getting its Irish on in August. This inaugural event at The Dow aims to share some of the finest traditional as well as contemporary Irish music being performed on stages across the country and across the ocean! The event will also include dancers, storytellers, as well as workshops in music, dance & Irish language. www.doweventcenter.com

 

August 29-September 1 Michigan State Fair – Novi

A few years ago the tradition of a state fair was in jeopardy of disappearing forever. Now the tradition is back, and growing. This year’s State Fair will include an expanded Midway, live entertainment, the ever-popular racing pigs, livestock and home arts exhibits, the state of Michigan Butter Cow, special performances by the Detroit Shrine Circus, a Made in Michigan Pavilion, tasty carnival treats, and other delights. www.michiganstatefairllc.com  

 

August 29 – September 1 Arts, Beats & Eats – Royal Oak

It’s hard to truly decide what takes center stage at this gigantic fest that has been helping Michiganders bid adieu to summer for seventeen years. Perhaps it simply depends on what draws you. With more than 200 performances on ten stages, a highly ranked Juried Fine Arts Show, and local restaurants offering some of the finest cuisine in metro Detroit, there truly is something for nearly everyone. www.artsbeatseats.com  

 


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