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12 Things to Do in a Michigan March

by Lisa Diggs

We’re all ready to march into spring. Here are a dozen delightful ways to get started.

March 1-April 30 Butterflies Are Blooming – Grand Rapids

For over twenty years this glorious, interactive experience has charmed kids and adults alike. The annual Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming exhibition at Meijer Gardens is the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the nation. During the two spring months, thousands of butterflies, more than 40 different species in fact, find a home in the Tropical Conservatory. The butterflies emerge from chrysalides, or cocoons, daily at the Butterfly Bungalow. To help ease their transition to the open conservatory there is a regular schedule for releasing adult butterflies—make sure to ask about release times!

March 10-20 LaughFest – Grand Rapids

Along with butterflies, giggles and guffaws have also returned to Grand Rapids this year at Gilda’s LaughFest. Not only is the event an outstanding opportunity to see some of the nation’s funniest people perform live (Marlon Wayans, Kathy Griffin, etc.), but it also helps accentuate the role that laughter plays as a healer. This 10-day festival includes stand-up comedy, improv, music, dance, speakers, films, and showcases. Best of all, 100% of the proceeds benefit the free cancer, grief, and emotional health support programs offered through Gilda's Club Grand Rapids for children, adults, families, and friends.

March 12 Southern Michigan Winter Beer Festival – Jackson

The Jackson County Fairgrounds will be hosting the 6th Annual Southern Michigan Winter Beer Festival on March 12th, 2016 from 12pm 5pm in the American 1 Event Center. It’s a great opportunity to sample from a choice of over 150 different brews including offerings from Arcadia, Bell’s, Dark House, Founders, Keeweenaw, North Peak, and Witch’s Hat to name but a few. Compliment your beverages with hearty vittles like sausages, brats and kraut, BBQ, and steak sandwiches.

March 13 St. Patrick’s Parade – Detroit

During the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s, many Irish people immigrated to Detroit. The majority came from the county of Cork, and settled in the west side of the city. The result was Corktown, Detroit’s oldest neighborhood. While the neighborhood is much more diverse these days, it’s still home to a seriously fun party to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Join in the celebration early by participating in the Corktown races in the morning, then take in the parade at Noon, followed by revelry at many of Detroit’s best known watering holes. If you’ve already been, then you know what makes it special, and if you haven’t been, then it’s time to go.

March 18-19 Abbott Magic Close-up Convention – Colon

With spring on the horizon, March is truly a magical time, but not just any magic…it’s the close-up variety. The Abbott Magic Close-up Convention provides aspiring magicians the chance to expand their repertoires with the greatest close-up talent in the world performing. If you don’t aim for a future in the magical arts yourself, then just come out and be entertained. This year’s event includes performances by Eric DeCamp & Brian Gillis, while Michael Mode and Brian Gillis will be the lecturers.

March 18 – 22 Carnival Weekend – Boyne Falls

Some call it “Carnival” others call it “Crazy Daze,” whatever the nomenclature, this annual weekend spectacle is always a blast. It seeks to combine the festivities of St. Patrick's Day and the zaniness of Mardi Gras, for a celebration that is made for adults, but let’s them act like kids. Costumes and even shorts may abound as skiers take to the slopes as the season winds down and revel at the lodge to welcome spring.

March 19 Maple Syrup Festival – Lansing

The arrival of spring is sweet in so many ways, not the least of which is Michigan’s favorite “liquid gold,” maple syrup. You’ll find many places around the state where you can experience the maple harvesting process. One such opportunity is at Fenner Nature Center's Maple Syrup Festival where guests can participate in demonstrations, try their hands at tapping a tree, and of course treat their taste buds to savory treats like maple creme and maple cotton candy.

March 19 Irish on Ionia – Grand Rapids

Each year Grand Rapids’ definitive St. Patty’s Day celebration seems to grow larger. For those who can handle a malty beverage early in the day, the event kicks off at 7am. The first 200 people through the gates will be treated to a free Kegs & Eggs Brunch buffet at the Waldron Public House and a 22-ounce Irish on Ionia mug, which can be used all day at the festival. Entertainment ranges from DJs to Irish dancing to live rock, and tickets range from $15-$60.

March 19 Sips, Chips and Dips – Traverse City

Treat yourself to an afternoon of good wine and casual fun from 12:00pm to 5:00pm as participating wineries offer everyday snacks paired with a complimentary taste of Leelanau wine. This free event is a fantastic way to try lots of your favorite munchies and see how great they taste when complemented by great Michigan wine. Participating wineries include: Aurora Cellars, Bel Lago Vineyards, Black Star Farms, Blustone Vineyards, Chateau de Leelanau, Forty Five north, Good Harbor, L. Mawby, Verterra, and more.

March 24-26 March Magic Hoopsfest – East Lansing

March Madness takes the nation by storm each year, and especially in East Lansing, home to Tom Izzo’s Spartans. This season the fun is extending beyond watching the NCAA tournament. The famous Jenison Field House at MSU is being converted into an interactive basketball playground for children of all ages during the MHSAA Boys' Basketball Semi-Finals and Finals. The event includes a variety of games, basketball skill venues, historical displays and educational activities and is open to all basketball fans. It is located adjacent to the Jack Breslin Student Events Center where the tournament games are played. Admission is free to tournament ticket holders and only $2 to other hoops fans  

March 26 Easter Egg Hunt – Charlevoix

Nothing says Easter fun like an egg hunt. The Charlevoix adventure is free for children up to 10 years old. Age groups are 2 years old and under, 3-4 years, 5-6 years and 7-10 years. The hunt will include 3500 prize filled eggs. Bring baskets and be ready at 2:00pm sharp so you don’t miss out! You can also kick of the day earlier with the Easter Bunny Luncheon being offered from 11:00am to 1:30pm at Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant. Enjoy a delicious meal and then get a picture taken with the Easter Bunny.

March 26 Koffie Kletz at Windmill Island Gardens – Holland

The west coast of our beautiful state was settled in large part by the Dutch. Koffie Kletz is a series of discussion events relevant to that heritage and to Dutch culture. This session will explore the history of Dutch immigrants and their families at the time of the Civil War. Specifically, the discussion will center around the stories of two Hollanders who served on the Union side during the war. The presenter will be local researcher, Marten Rustenburg.  


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