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12 Things to Do in a Michigan September

by Lisa Diggs

Crisp air, scrumptious cider, football tailgates, welcome to September in Michigan. Here are just a few special ways to enjoy this glorious month.

August 31-September 4 Michigan State Fair – Novi

It’s been five years since the State Fair made its move to Novi, and the event continues to grow. This year’s event includes a Midway, live entertainment, beer tent, a Michigan-Made Pavilion, livestock and home arts exhibits, tasty carnival treats, and special performances by the Shrine Circus.   


September 1-4 Ford Arts, Beats & Eats – Royal Oak

Celebrating its 20th year, this Labor Day Weekend tradition features 200 performances on nine stages, a juried fine arts show, and delectable offerings from local restaurants. It is free to enter until 5pm on Friday only. Admission on Friday after 5pm, and throughout the weekend is $7, with a portion of the proceeds going to support local charities. Last year’s event reportedly raised $350k for good causes.

September 4 Mackinac Bridge Walk – St Ignace

Mighty Mac is one of the most iconic sights in all of Michigan, but you haven’t really seen what a true marvel of engineering it is, until you get up close. There’s no better opportunity than the annual bridge walk. All walkers start in St Ignace so you may either stay on the side and take a bus back, or catch a bus over in the morning and walk back across the bridge. Bus tickets are $5 and the walk is kicked off by the governor at 7am, with all walkers needing to start by 10am.

September 8-10 Arts & Apples Festival – Rochester

Fall is a lovely time to stroll around an art fair, and there are few better than this one, which has been delighting visitors for 50 years. This juried fine art festival features the work of 290 artists from around the country. It’s set in the serene 30-acre Rochester Municipal Park, and includes live entertainment, and delicious food choices, highlighted by scrumptious apple pies.

September 8-10 Wine & Harvest Festival – Paw Paw

Home to St. Julian, the state’s oldest winery, Paw Paw has a long tradition of serving up wine and celebrating the harvest. Browse a craft show, take in a parade, listen to some live music, and most of all, discover some of the season’s most delightful libations.

September 9 Michigan Brewer’s Guild U.P. Fall Beer Festival – Marquette

The U.P. Fall Beer Festival takes place overlooking Lake Superior in scenic Mattson Lower Harbor Park, downtown Marquette. Attendees can choose from over 600 locally crafted beers from more than 80 Michigan breweries. The $40 ticket includes 15 drink sample tokens. The event runs from 1pm-9pm. 

September 15-17 Salmon Festival – Grand Haven

One of the things that makes this event unique is the incredible sustainability efforts by the organizers.  The event received the 2016 Pure Award, which recognizes excellence in the stewardship of Michigan’s natural, cultural, and heritage resources. It is the first third-party certified zero-waste-to-landfill event in the state, meaning that the festival overall produces zero waste that cannot be composted or recycled. In addition to that ecological achievement, it’s a lot of fun with a 5k/10k run, fishing contest, art fair, kids zone, silent auction, grape stomping, fish boil, wine and beer tasting, and a gourmet salmon cook-off.

September 16-17 Civil War Muster – Holland

Historic VanRaalte Farm hosts an annual Civil War era re-enactment. Admission is free, but the education is priceless. This year’s event features the Battle of the Cornfield at Antietam. On September 17, 1862, after almost 3 hours of fighting, nearly 8,000 Union and Confederate troops were either killed or wounded in and around the Cornfield. In addition to the battle, you can experience 19th century music, impressions of historical figures, medical scenarios, and period-style vendors.

September 21 Market at the Capitol – Lansing

The Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) is hosting its final Farmers Market at the Capitol of the season. The event runs from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. The market will be held on the East Lawn of the Michigan State Capitol Building in Downtown Lansing. More than 70 vendors from across the state will be on hand selling Michigan-grown and produced products ranging from fresh produce to flowers, meat, cheese, baked goods, and prepared foods. In addition, guests can join Michigan State University Corporate Cooking demonstrations using fresh, seasonal produce will also be provided courtesy of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.   

September 22-24 Pumpkinfest – South Lyon

It’s that time of year when the great pumpkin takes on legendary status in traditional forms like pie and newer delights like craft beers. For over thirty years, South Lyon has been celebrating this versatile, culinary delight with a fest of its own. The festivities include a parade, biergarten, pie-eating contests, inflatables, Air Dogs, music, and of course, plenty of pumpkins.

September 23-25 Elk Fest – Atlanta

Elk are very commonly seen, popular neighbors in Atlanta, Michigan. So much so, that once a year the community comes together just to celebrate them. Thousands of revelers descend upon the tiny hamlet for a celebration that includes a parade, talent show, live auction, greased pig chase, trike race, games, live entertainment, and a huge array of craft vendors. There’s plenty of great food and beverages, or just soak in the glorious surroundings.

September 30-October 1 Northern Michigan Lamb & Wool Festival – West Branch

Fall is a great time to start thinking about winter projects and warm clothes, and if you’re a crafter, there may be no better place to do that than this fest. The Ogemaw County Fairgrounds is home to over 80 vendor booths amidst the fall foliage. You’ll find yarn and fiber, handmade apparel, food vendors, fiber classes, sheep and pasture management sessions, and can even take a pasture tour.  

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