Vehicles, music, foods, even the wild and wacky, take center stage this month around the state. Get your summer fun on at some of these intriguing events. Here are our 12 things to do in Michigan in August 2021.
July 30-August 8 Coast Guard Festival – Grand Haven
Of all the summer festivals, this is one of the few that truly serves a purpose. That is, it gives us a chance to demonstrate our collective appreciation to the men and women who serve in the United States Coast Guard. In fact, there are several special events geared specifically toward active Coast Guard, retirees, and their families. In addition, this 10-day celebration includes fun for the general public. For example, there are water events like Cardboard Boat Races, Parade of Ships, and water ski shows. Guests can also enjoy a car show, community picnic, flea market, concerts, a parade, and a fireworks extravaganza. In just a single year, the Coast Guard responded to 19,790 Search and Rescue cases. They saved 3,560 lives and more than $77 million in property. We proudly join the Grand Haven community in thanking them for their service.
August 6-7 BluesFest – Port Sanilac
Cold beer and hot blues along the water? Count us in. Set sail for Harbor Park in Port Sanilac and enjoy an afternoon and/or evening of phenomenal music. The tunes are complemented by scrumptious refreshments, shopping, and even a 50/50 raffle. The stellar lineup includes Thornetta Davis, David Gerald Band, The Boa Constrictors, Mike Wheeler Band, just to name a few. Make a day or weekend of it. While you’re at it, why not enjoy these other wonderful things to do while exploring the Thumb region?
August 7-8 Thunder Over Michigan Air Show – Belleville
The infamous Thunder Over Michigan Air Show is returning to the Willow Run Airport. Uniquely, this year it features the U.S. Navy Blue Angels at select performances. You can also witness historic aircraft flying. They’ll be turning, twisting, and flipping with amazing aerial acrobatics. Everyone has a prime viewing area this year with parking on the airfield. You are welcome to bring chairs, food, and non-alcoholic beverages of your own. Alternatively, visit the concession area on site. Walk around and enjoy the displays. Meet some Warbird pilots. You may even get a chance to take a Huey helicopter ride. One Drive-In Pass is required per vehicle, and runs $185. The pass is good for one show. There are two shows from which to choose each day. Be sure to explore the incredible Yankee Air Museum to learn about Rosie the Riveter and Michigan’s incredible role in defending democracy during WWII.
August 13 DSO’s Music of Star Wars – Rochester
The Star Wars scores are among the most popular contributions to modern film music. That’s why the Detroit Symphany Orchestra is eager to take guests on a journey through a galactic musical wormhole. The performance is under the direction of Steven Reineke, Music Director of The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall. From the “Main Title” from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope to the ominous “The Imperial March” associated with Darth Vader, fans will be transported to a galaxy far, far away. The concert is sure to rekindle memories of your favorite scenes. Plus, you’ll get to relax in the fresh air of the Meadow Brook Amphitheatre on a summer night.
August 13-22 Cheeseburger in Caseville – Caseville
Why, in a state filled with coney dogs is there a gigantic party celebrating the cheeseburger? The answer is…Jimmy Buffet. This event isn’t about the food, though there’s plenty of it, it’s a celebration of music from the nation’s favorite tropical crooner. Hundreds of campers line the shore, and parrots can be found on heads, hanging from golf carts, and riding on floats as Caseville celebrates this 10-day soiree on the shores of Lake Huron. In addition to Buffet-style tribute bands and original musicians, the colorful spectacle features flamingos, grass skirts, wacky apparel, and all kinds of family fun. Come for the music, stay for the people watching.
August 13-15 Mint Festival – St Johns
Farmers in Clinton County have been growing mint for more than a century. Thus, it only makes sense to throw an annual party celebrating these incredible, edible, flexible herbs. There is plenty to do for the whole crew. Try your hand at arts and crafts. Shop the flea market or a community-wide garage sale. Discover new cars at the vehicle show. Then take the kids on pony and mechanical rides or play some mini golf. Afterwards you can compete in a cornhole tournament, or just chill to some live music. Make no mistake though, mint remains the star of the show. You’ll find it available in a variety of forms including oil, lip balms, soaps, hard candy, chocolate, and frozen treats.
August 16-22 Upper Peninsula State Fair – Escanaba
When a state is large enough to be divided into two peninsulas, it stands to reason that each would warrant its own version of a state fair. Since 1928, the Upper Peninsula State Fair has provided a place for folks to experience and celebrate the unique culture and heritage of Michigan’s U.P. Try your luck at fishing, shoot for a bullseye, and participate in a variety of outdoorsy activities at the DNR Pocket Park. Check out the Smokey the Bear Hot Air Balloon while you’re there. Be sure to venture over to the Antique Steam & Gas Village, where you can relive a part of American history through old time shops, antique equipment, an operating sawmill, and a museum. During this extravaganza you’ll also find a Midway with carnival rides, exotic animals and plenty of livestock, puppet and bubble shows, performances by Zuzu African Acrobats, and nightly concerts.
August 16-31 Back to the Bricks – Flint
Flint has a storied automotive history, so it’s only fitting that each summer that tradition is celebrated with Back to the Bricks. The event attracts over 500,000 car show enthusiasts annually. Tune-up Parties and Promo Tours generate enthusiasm the week before, in advance of the main event, which provides a showcase for classic, custom, and collector vehicles of all kinds. During the week, Flint, birthplace of “America’s Sports Car”, proudly hosts a National Reunion for Corvette aficionados. Music, food vendors, and family-friendly activities add to the festive atmosphere.
August 21 Woodward Dream Cruise – Southeastern Michigan
This month of fun continues for motorheads. Back in the 1950s and 60s, cruising Woodward in a car you loved, was an everyday event. Back then, the boulevard was lined with drive-ins and auto shops, and had more than its fair share of unofficial auto races. Today, that tradition continues each August in what has become the world’s biggest car cruise. More than 50,000 muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special interest vehicles are expected to participate. They park and cruise from 9am to 9pm through the 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, just like it’s the 1950s all over again.
August 20-22 DeWitt Ox Roast – DeWitt
This annual extravaganza has been a community staple for three quarters of a century! While they no longer roast an ox like the olden days, there is plenty of other food on hand. If you’re looking for some good old fashioned small town joy, DeWitt is the place to be. Opening Day will feature state-of-the-art rides, arts ‘n’ crafts, a video game truck, and StarFarm on the Main Stage. Saturday adds a parade, car show, frog-jumping contest, cornhole tournament, eating contests, personalized caricatures, 50/50 raffle, fireworks, and two bands on the main stage: Lookin’ Back (Tribute to Bob Seger) and Infinity & Beyond (Tribute to Journey). Sunday rounds out the fun with a pancake breakfast, duck race, tractor pedal pull, pet parade, beauty contest, and the Brenda Loomis Band takes the stage. No matter which day you pick, it’s sure to be chock full of family fun.
August 26-28 11th Annual Michigan Paranormal Convention – Sault Ste. Marie
Whether you’re interested in chasing ghosts, spotting UFOs, or finding Bigfoot, there’s likely a program or two that will intrigue you on the docket at the 2021 MIPARACON. The biggest names in the paranormal industry will be on hand at Kewadin Casino’s DreamMakers Theater. Topics will include paranormal investigating, psychic powers, demonology, and UFOlogy. Explore your quirkier side, and then have a little fun in the casino. While in town be sure to visit the Soo Locks, and even consider taking a boat ride through them.
August 27-29 Fudge Festival – Mackinac Island
It’s hard to imagine anyone who makes the voyage to Mackinac Island having the will power to visit and leave without indulging in at least a taste, if not a slice, if not a pound of this decadent island tradition. It only makes sense that there would be a fest in its honor. In addition to all the other enjoyable attributes of the island, special activities during this weekend include fudge-making demonstrations and tastings, sampling specialty fudge-infused cocktails, fudge-inspired dinners, an outdoor movie, and a family concert.
Join us on social media for ongoing discussions about Michigan travel destinations. Tweet @BuyMichiganNow to tell us about your favorite places or questions you have. We’d especially love to know if you make it out to one of our 12 things to do in Michigan in August 2021. For next month’s events, or to get ideas for your local bucket list, be sure to visit our Michigan Tourism page.