Upper Peninsula Festivals
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Discover 15 of the Best Festivals in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

The Upper Peninsula may be known for its vast stretches of untouched and breathtaking wilderness, but the U.P. also knows how to have a good time, as evidenced by some of the state’s most unique and exciting festivals.

From outhouse races and cultural celebrations to pond hockey and pasties, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has many long-running, popular festivals that appeal to festival-goers of all ages.

If you love traveling to different Michigan festivals, mark these excellent U.P. events on your calendar…

Heikinpäiv-Hancock
Heikinpäivä | photo via Heikinpäivä

Heikinpäivä | Hancock

Heikinpaiva — translated as “Mid-Winter Day” — is a Finnish-American mid-winter festival that celebrates the Upper Peninsula’s rich Scandinavian heritage in Copper Country.

Activities during Heikinpaiva often include traditional Finnish music and dance, a parade, and craft demonstrations. Attendees can also enjoy markets and unique events like wife carrying, boot throwing, and a signature Finnish event called Karhunpeijäiset or “The Bear Spiral.”

Beer Fest-Marquette-
Beer Fest | photo via dennispnzzo

UP Beer Festival | Marquette

The Great Lakes State is filled with excellent beer festivals and that includes this annual September celebration in the Central U.P. Hanging out on the shores of Lake Superior, festival-goers will feel like they’re hanging out with close friends and family.

Dozens of Michigan breweries participate in the festivities, giving attendees hundreds of beers to choose from. Food trucks and live entertainment add to the festive environment that’s all about celebrating the best in Michigan beers.

Michigan Tech Winter Carnival, Houghton - Michigan Tech Winter Carnival
Michigan Tech Winter Carnival | photo via @mayophoto75

Michigan Tech Winter Carnival | Houghton

U.P. Residents and those willing to make the trip all the to the Keweenaw Peninsula in the winter are treated to a magnificent winter carnival that’s over 100 years old.

The carnival is a haven for winter enthusiasts with a lineup of activities including crafted snow sculptures, broomball, sleigh rides, team competitions in winter sports like curling and downhill skiing, and more.

Pasty Fest In Calumet
Pasty Fest, Calumet | photo via wisconsincheeseplease

Pasty Fest | Calumet

Yoopers (and most Michigan residents) can’t get enough of hearty pasties, which can be found in shops all over the state. Simply put, these delectable pockets of beef, onions, rutabagas, and potatoes are culinary gold in Michigan.

Calumet took things a step further in 2023 with the inaugural Pasty Fest, complete with a Pasty Olympics — a series of tests that includes the Pasty Relay Race, the Pasty Pull, and the Pasty Fest Art Prize. The festivities also include a pasty eating competition, markets, and live music.

Festival Of The Angry Bear-Marquette
Festival of the Angry Bear | photo via oredockbrewing

Festival of the Angry Bear | Marquette

As the Lake Superior shore thaws out each April, the Festival of the Angry Bear rises from hibernation to take over downtown Marquette. The festival is modeled after European beer festivals and helps residents and visitors shake off winter’s cobwebs with barrel-aged beer, tasty food, and live entertainment.

Attendance is free, and fun is guaranteed. Apart from the beer and the food, the festival features fun events like the Fur Ball Boogie, and feats of strength like the growler flex and the keg bowling challenge. It’s the perfect way to welcome spring and have fun on the Lake Superior shore.

Labatt Blue Up Pond Hockey Championship-St. Ignace
Labatt Blue UP Pond Hockey Championship | photo via cedarhilllodge

Labatt Blue UP Pond Hockey Championship | St. Ignace

While it’s not a festival per se, this annual February tournament in Moran Bay features nearly 200 teams competing in 4-on-4 games for prized hardware on the thick ice of Lake Huron.

The tournament draws more than 1,000 players from across the nation and around the world. The event is well-attended by spectators, who brave the cold to cheer on teams. Would you expect anything less from a hockey-crazed state like Michigan?

I-500 -Sault Ste. Marie
I-500 | photo via sooi500snowmobilerace

I-500 | Sault Ste. Marie

The I-500 isn’t technically a festival either. But it’s hard not to have fun watching snowmobiles whip around a track at more than 100 miles an hour in the middle of winter.

The annual race is one of the most grueling snowmobile races in the world and is a thrill for the fans just as much as the riders. The hundreds of thousands of spectators that journey to the U.P. each winter to watch this snowy spectacle is a testament to the race’s popularity.

Upper Peninsula State Fair - Escanaba, Michigan
Upper Peninsula State Fair | photo via UP State Fairgrounds on Facebook

Upper Peninsula State Fair | Escanaba

No summer is complete without a trip to a fair and Escanaba puts on the U.P.’s biggest and best each August. No matter your age, it’s next to impossible not to have fun when you’re surrounded by tasty fair food and exciting events.

Attendees of all ages can enjoy a lineup of events that includes carnival-style games, live performances, displays, animal exhibits, vendors, dairy art, a daily dove release, and more.

Hay Days | Pickford

The main focus of Pickford Hay Days is having fun and for over 40 years the festival — a nod to haying season — has provided fun in spades with a schedule guaranteed to appeal to even the youngest visitors.

The Hay Days schedule includes everything from movies in the park, 3-on-3 basketball tournaments, and a parade to strawberry and pizza socials, book signings, and fun runs. The only thing attendees need to worry about is trying to miss any of the exciting array of events.

Outhouse Classic | photo via evangelinelovesyou

Outhouse Classic | Trenary

Michigan has its share of unique, some might say weird festivals, and this February tradition is a one-of-a-kind experience that’s best appreciated up close.

The centerpiece of the event is outhouse races — where outhouses constructed of wood, cardboard, and other items are attached to skis and raced down Main Street. Prizes are awarded in different categories and there’s always fun Outhouse Classic merch to stock up on.

Music & Crafts Festival | Grand Marais

There’s nothing like a good crafts fair in the summer and Grand Marais has hosted this U.P. favorite for over 40 years. Visitors are invited to come and enjoy the three-day event, which features a variety of music acts, good food, and, of course, plenty of craft vendors.

Porcupine Mountain Music Festival
Porcupine Mountain Music Festival | photo via porkiesmusicfest

Porcupine Mountain Music Festival | Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

For nearly 20 years, the remote wilderness of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park has hosted this summer musical celebration. The festivities include over a dozen acts and attendees are encouraged to come ready with blankets and lawn chairs.

The Porkies have plenty to offer in the way of incredible scenery, but the festival is another fun way (and a perfect excuse) to make the journey to the Western U.P. for these excellent displays of musicianship.

Wild Blueberry Festival | Paradise

Nestled in the shadow of scenic Tahquamenon Falls, Paradise has hosted the Wild Blueberry Festival for 40 years, celebrating the “blue gold” growing on local blueberry bushes. The blueberry is celebrated with plenty of tasty dishes, including a blueberry festival brunch and a bake sale with muffins, pies, and other goodies.

Pioneer Days | Negaunee

Pioneer Days is Neguanee’s annual summer celebration of its history and the community and the multi-day event includes a slate of events for attendees of all ages.

Pioneer Days’ lineup includes alumni softball games, a model car show, ice cream socials, and fireworks over Teal Lake, ensuring anyone who attends will find something fun to do.

Art On The Rocks - Marquette, Michigan
Art on the Rocks | photo via Art on the Rocks on Facebook

Art on the Rocks | Marquette

For over six decades, art enthusiasts have flocked to the shore of Lake Superior in downtown Marquette for this summer celebration of art.

The festival includes an impressive lineup of national and local artists displaying incredible work from almost every medium imaginable. Past shows have included local photographers, jewelry makers, pottery makers, and even craftsmen who specialize in making treasures from Mackinac Bridge steel.

Experience Some of the U.P.’s Best Festivals

With an exciting and unique lineup of festivals and annual events that span the entire calendar year, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula awaits your visit.

Whether you want to bundle up and sip coffee while watching snowmobile racing and pond hockey or journey to the wilderness of the Porkies to enjoy live music, there’s a U.P. festival that’s sure to become a staple of your yearly list of must-attend events in Michigan.

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