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12 Things To Do in May in Michigan

by Lisa Diggs

May is full of tunes, blooms, and the sense of spring throughout the state. Here are some highlights to explore this month.

May 1-31 Traverse City Uncorked – Traverse City

In conjunction with May now being Michigan Wine Month, Traverse City, which has become one of the most renown wine destinations, will be offering lodging packages, tasting room specials, chef events, winemaker dinners, and education for oenophiles. Home to not one, but two peninsulas (Leelanau and Old Mission) that are both designated as American Viticultural Areas (AVA), this city provides an exquisite backdrop for tasting internationally acclaimed varietals like Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc.

May 6 Flower Day at Eastern Market – Detroit

This classic old market experiences renewed life each year as the sights and scents of spring take over. Grab your wagon and your wallet to stock up on all your floral and foliage needs. Sheds and open areas are covered with every possible annual, perennial, herb, shrub and tree you can imagine in your yard, at prices well below typical commercial rates. You’ll also find food vendors, entertainment, and a host of restaurants eager to welcome you into the city.

May 6-7 Victorian Festival – Grand Ledge

Settled around 1850, Grand Ledge is deeply rooted in the Victorian era, and as a tribute to that heritage, throws a big party each spring. You’ll find spinning, weaving, knitting, basket-making, letterpress, hand-reading, scrimshaw, and soap-making demonstrations, as well as quilts on display. There are guided tours, riverboat rides, a Civil War encampment, and even a Gentlemen’s Duel, all illustrating life in Michigan during the nineteenth century. 

May 6-14 Tulip Festival – Holland

Bust out your wooden shoes…or buy yourself a pair in town and join this one-of-a-kind celebration of West Michigan’s Dutch heritage through dance performances, attractions, food, and demonstrations. If you’re not one for “going Dutch,” there is still plenty of fun to be had with three amazing parades, concerts, live theatre, children’s activities, trolley tours, and of course stunning tulips. There are literally millions to see, in city parks, downtown planters, Tulip Lanes, Windmill Island Gardens, Nelis' Dutch Village, and Veldheer's Tulip Farm.

May 18-21 National Morel Mushroom Festival – Boyne City

For a few short days each spring, everything in Boyne City is about these treasured mushrooms. Restaurants prepare scrumptious dishes built around morels, musicians sing of them, locals give hints about secret hunting places, foodies share recipes, and all about town the hunt is on. Go with others or explore on your own. Whether you find a bounty or not, there will be a chef waiting to serve some up.

May 19-20 World Expo of Beer – Frankenmuth

A German-themed hamlet in the Great Beer State is the perfect spot for a World Expo of Beer, and so it goes in Frankenmuth. Around 75 breweries, including the best of Michigan, are on site for this spectacular annual fundraiser put on by the local Jaycees. Tickets may be purchased in advance for $18 each and include admission, 8 beer sample tickets (more may be purchased), and access to a fast pass admissions line.  

May 19-20 Asparagus Festival – Empire

The glorious fresh produce season in our state kicks off with luscious asparagus, so it’s no surprise that one of our first warm weather fests is entirely in celebration of these nutritious and delicious stalks. Friday night features a dance and pig roast. Saturday starts off with a 5k walk/run, followed by the incredibly popular asparagus recipe contest, the opening of the food and beer tent, a parade, an ode to asparagus poetry contest, magic and live music. Sunday features a community breakfast at Township Hall from 9AM-1PM.

May 20 Lantern Fest – Clio

Imagine the site of thousands of lanterns filling the darkened sky. What an unforgettable spectacle. Before sundown revelers at Auto City Speedway can enjoy food, live music, a stage show, face painters, s'mores, balloon artists and plenty of family fun. Then, when the time is just right, each person over the age of 7 will get the opportunity to release a lantern and make a wish, honor a loved one, or simply enjoy the sight as it floats amongst thousands more. Event organizers later gather up the lanterns to be recycled.   

May 20 BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass: A Taste of Michigan – St. Joseph

The deeper we get into May, the more we begin to dream of summer, and few things feel more like summer than a beach, a park, concerts, and barbeques. Head to Whirlpool Centennial Park along the Lake Michigan shore to enjoy a tantalizing selection of craft beer and regional wines, along with delicious BBQ. Bands scheduled to perform include: Jonny Lang, The Steeldrivers, The Marcus King Band, Slim Gypsy Baggage, and The Lil’ Smokies. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 same day. Children 8 and under are free.

May 22-26 Startup Week – Detroit

Whether you’re simply thinking about starting a business, or are well on your way, this weeklong cornucopia of information and activities will give you a boost. Events are led by entrepreneurs and hosted in some of the most unique working spaces around the city. Topics range from social entrepreneurship to growth marketing, to building up today’s youth. Featured speakers include Bill Ford Jr. of Ford Motor Company, Devita Davison of FoodLab, and Mayor Mike Duggan. All events are free. 

May 25-28 Branch County Civil War Days – Coldwater

There may be no more appropriate way to honor Memorial Day than to spend some of your weekend at this annual event, which is complete with Civil War drills and a Battle of Rich Mountain re-enactment.  Throughout each day, you can also observe period craftsman at work. Saturday night features a period dance, followed on Sunday morning with a Civil War-era church service   

May 27-29 Movement Electronic Music Festival – Detroit

Music has long been the heartbeat of Detroit and nothing gets the city pumping like this fest at Hart Plaza. Six stages will be jamming from noon-midnight daily Saturday-Monday. Pre- and post-event parties are also abundant throughout downtown. Whether you want to dance or just people watch, this event will not disappoint. The 2017 lineup of artists includes: The Belleville Three, Factory Floor, Carl Craig, BXT, Paranoid London, Jamie Jones, and many, many more. 


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