My fond memories growing up in Northern Michigan are boundless of trekking through the tourists to enjoy the local festivals. Somehow, as an adult, I’m even more excited to be out and about for the summer goings-on in Traverse City. I’ve compiled a list of what to look forward to in this crazy beautiful city, take a peek!
Most TC area natives and dwellers can back me up, this is the first thing I get asked about, so it’s a good place to start. The 87th Annual Cherry Festival is happening July 4 – 11th, and if 2015 is anything like the past ten festivals, over 500,000 people are expected to be in attendance. Prepare yourself for cherry EVERYTHING, a big ole crowd, and summertime weather at its finest. Plan your trip to include live music, parades, carnival rides, fireworks, the beer tent, and more. Hear from Awesome Mitten’s Kelly Brown on “How a Local Survives the National Cherry Festival in TC” if you’re concerned about the influx of cherry lovers.
While it’s slightly counter-intuitive to be inside during the short northern summer season, the Film Festival has managed to draw thousands of fans regardless of weather. This year, the 11th festival kicks off on July 28th and ends on August 2nd; a dozen unique venues and even more films make this a wonderful experience for any age. Check out the budget tips here and be sure to plan your lodging and travel around the films you can’t miss!
While Traverse City is known as the cherry capital, it also happens to crank out some pretty amazing grapes. Celebrate the wine legacy of TC at the 7th Annual Wine and Art Festival on June 20th. From 2 – 9 PM at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, there will be over 200 local wines, regional restaurants, more than forty area artists, and live music. Additionally, the juried art competition includes a People’s Choice Award, and new to the festival is Michigan artist Stephanie Schlatter, leading an Art Meets Wine Experience.
August 21st and 22nd just happens to be the 2-day counterpart to the Traverse City Winter Microbrew and Music Festival I attended just a few months ago. Festival-goers have a chance to check out 40 national and international breweries without the burden of snow pants in the port-a-john and taste the beer, cider, mead, and wine the festival has to offer. For more on the beloved biannual event, check out Team Awesome’s Joanna Dueweke as she takes an in depth look at the festival circa 2013.
Some of my fondest memories involve hopping in the car with the family and finding our way to downtown TC for Friday Night Live. Starting Friday, July 31st, and occurring weekly until August 21st, FNL is a street-wide celebration of food, commerce, and talent in the Traverse City area. Even if you eat dinner before you go, save room for ice cream, face painting, popcorn, and live music as you stroll down Front Street. Beth Milligan refers to it here as the “Forefather of Festivals!”
Surrounding Area Fests
If that isn’t enough to fill your summer to the brim, be sure to explore the surrounding cities for their fun fests as well! I’ve listed a few below that I personally enjoy attending:
Elk Rapids’ Harbor Days: August 5-8
Charlevoix’s 85th Annual Venetian Festival: July 18-25
Bellaire’s Rubber Ducky Fest: August 12-15
Petoskey’s Festival on the Bay: August 14-15
Which festivals do you enjoy each summer?