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12 Things To Do in Michigan in July

by Lisa Diggs

Festivals really emerge as summer entertainment around the state this month. Live music, amazing food, incredible attractions, here are a dozen fun fests and celebrations worth taking in.

July 1-8 National Cherry Festival – Traverse City

First held in 1926, this Michigan tradition may be the ultimate tribute to a beloved food found anywhere. The Cherry Capitol of the world is a hotbed of excitement and summer fun with parades, races, wine tours, concerts, classic cars, and most of all scrumptious cherries in nearly any form imaginable.  

July 6-9 Common Ground Music Festival – Lansing

There is nothing quite live tunes on a summer night. If you love music of all types, then delights await you in Adado Riverfront Park. From country to alternative, rock to hip hop, pop to rap, this event features national headlining artists mixed with regional and local favorites to create a truly entertaining experience in Lansing. Highlights this year include performances by Alessia Cara, The Railers, DJ Jay Vee, Here Come the Mummies, Toby Keith, and Michigan’s own, Big Sean, to name, but a few.  

July 14-15 Saline Celtic Festival – Saline

They say we’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, and possibly even in July if you’re in Saline, Michigan. The Celtic Festival is famous for its rich blend of Celtic music and dance, along with jousting, Irish Football, ancient athletics, sheepherding, and many other Irish traditions. The wee ones will love it too with crafts, ducky river races, story-telling, and more.  


July 14-15 Summerfest Microbrews & Music – St Joseph

The lovely town of St. Joseph, nestled along the southwestern coast of our state, will be jumping during Summerfest. Many of Michigan’s best craft brewers will be on site, along with music from The Big Payback, Top Secret Band, and Bruce in the USA. Combine that with scrumptious food, set it on Silver Beach, and top it off with a lighted boat parade, and you have one seriously fun summer party in the making.

July 14-16 Hot Air Jubilee – Jackson

This year marks the 35th Anniversary of the Hot Air Jubilee. The balloons will launch from Ella Sharp Park on Friday Evening, Saturday morning, Saturday evening, and again on Sunday morning. The rest of the weekend is filled with carnival rides, live entertainment, food vendors, craft booths, the Kids Kingdom, and a car show. There’s even a pilot meet and greet, plus the spectacular Night Glow on Friday and Saturday nights.

July 15-16 Happy Birthday OAC – Detroit

It seems like it just opened yesterday, but Detroit’s Outdoor Adventure Center is actually celebrating two years of educating and inspiring young and old alike. If you haven’t had the chance to visit yet, this is a great time. You can walk behind and touch a waterfall, step into a fishing boat and reel in a big fish, hit the trail on a mountain bike or snowmobile, and learn a great deal about how our state manages its natural resources, all inside one really cool, repurposed old warehouse. The birthday festivities will include special games and activities to delight the whole family. 


July 20-23 Ann Arbor Street Art Fair – Ann Arbor

Whether you’re a lover of art or just enjoy great people watching, this event doesn’t disappoint. The iconic tradition blends four award-winning art fairs together to attract over 500,000 visitors annually. The concurrent fairs include the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair, South University Art Fair and the State Street Area Art Fair. The varied parts of the fair fit together to form a gigantic, amazing, colorful array of sights and sounds that consistently ranks as one of the top art fests in the nation.  


July 21-22 Michigan Summer Beer Festival – Ypsilanti

The Michigan Brewer’s Guild is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year so expect this annual celebration of frothy beverages to be especially delightful. It is the oldest of the association’s four annual festivals. Located along the banks of the Huron River, you’ll find more than 100 different Michigan breweries and 1000 delectable craft beers! A variety of tasty food items are available for purchase from independent food vendors inside the festival accompanied by a diverse selection of live music from local bands.


July 22 Bayview to Mackinac Yacht Race – Port Huron

Bring your lawn or beach chair, grab some refreshments, and settle in for one of the most relaxing sights of the summer. Yachts glide across the water in a graceful spectacle as they set off on one of the state’s most renowned adventures. This sailing tradition is among the largest fresh-water sporting events in the world and has easily grown into Port Huron’s coolest Saturday. All kinds of crafts begin parading out of the harbor and into Lake Huron as early as 8AM to line-up for the race.


July 25-30 Traverse City Film Festival – Traverse City

Sitting outside along the water watching a movie on the giant screen in Traverse City is easily one of the state’s best movie dates. This carefully curated event provides the opportunity to see many films that may not otherwise make their way to a silver screen in Michigan. You can count on independent gems, new releases, quirky shorts, compelling documentaries and even a few classics. Panel discussions with highly touted industry professionals add a uniqueness to the experience. Film buffs won’t want to miss it.

July 27-30 Potato Festival – Munger

Spud-lovers unite and head to Munger for a celebration of one of our favorite side dish stars. Parking and admission are free, as are the many potatoes that will be given away. You’ll also find a 5k run, Potato King and Queen contest, live music, parade, demolition derby, figure 8 racing derby and much more. As an added bonus, proceeds go toward Recreation and Parks projects in Bay County.  

July 29-30 Art on the Rocks – Marquette

Each year 10,000 people trek to Mattsen Lower Harbor Park in late July, not just to enjoy the natural scenery, but also the amazing art. For well over half a century this event has been a Yooper staple. It has grown to be one of the finest art shows in the country, attracting over 175 talented artists. To maintain the standard of excellence, 30% of the show is made up of artists invited based on a scoring system used by previous show judges and the other 70% are selected in a jury process held in April. The event is nestled in a picturesque setting between Marquette’s historic downtown and the Cinder Pond Marina on beautiful Lake Superior.


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