National Asparagus Festival - Empire Michigan

Gettin’ Weird in the Mitten: Obscure Michigan Festivals

No matter how old you are, there’s just something indescribably fun about attending a Michigan festival.

The Mitten State has lots of great festivals and there are also lots of weird Michigan festivals that are worth checking out.

There are many reasons folks enjoy festivals. For some, it’s live music. For others, it’s the beer, cocktails, and food. For others, it’s about celebrating and having a good time. 

There are plenty of festivals that celebrate harvests, animals, harmony, and so much more. But if you’re looking to celebrate the odd, absurd, and quirky, check these odd festivals in Michigan.

Elvis Festival - Ypsilanti, Michigan - Summer Festivals
Elvis Festival | photo via Michigan ElvisFest Inc on Facebook

Bologna Festival | Yale

This festival is full of bologna, literally. Each summer, more than 20,000 visitors came to Yale, located near the bottom of Michigan’s thumb.

If you like bologna, don’t worry there’s plenty to go around. But there’s also the crowning of a bologna king and queen, outhouse races, street dancing, and a parade down Main Street.

Michigan Elvis Fest | Ypsilanti 

Don’t get all shook up when you come down to this annual summer celebration in Ypsilanti. Instead, dust off your blue suede shoes and get ready to rock.

This annual Elvis fest is an ode to all things that Elvis fans love about the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. You’ll see plenty of Elvis impersonators, including some of the best you may see anywhere.

You can also dance to Elvis’ many classic songs as you enjoy local beer and food. This is one of the biggest Elvis festivals in the nation, so if love the King, make sure to attend.

National Baby Food Festival - Fremont, Michigan - Summer Festivals
National Baby Food Festival | photo via National Baby Food Festival on Facebook

Michigan Bacon Fest | Lansing

These days, it’s hard to find a food that hasn’t gotten a makeover with bacon. This one-day festival, which is brand new in 2022, celebrates all things bacon.

Festivalgoers will find plenty of bacon to nosh on as well as live entertainment. Visitors can expect to see everything from bacon mac and cheese to bacon beer to bacon donuts, and so much more.

National Baby Food Festival | Fremont

Believe it or not, the Baby Food Capital of the World is located right in Fremont, north of Grand Rapids.

The national headquarters of Gerber Products Company, so it makes perfect sense to have a festival here that celebrates baby food.

This summer festival features a baby crawl, a baby food-eating contest, a farmer’s market, a car show, and so much more. Bring the whole family and join in the fun. 

National Cereal Festival - Battle Creek, Michigan
National Cereal Festival | photo via Cereal Festival on Facebook

National Cereal Festival | Battle Creek

Battle Creek is generally known around the nation as the birthplace of breakfast cereal. That’s not without merit either because it’s the home of Kellogg’s, which makes Rice Krispies, Frosted Flakes, and other breakfast delights.

It’s not uncommon for the swell of cereal to hang in the air in Battle Creek and this festival is a celebration of this breakfast staple.

Visitors will delight in this cereal fest’s cereal parade, inflatables, live entertainment, and plenty of free and delicious breakfast cereal.

National Asparagus Festival | Empire

When it comes to weird Michigan festivals, this one has to be among the oddest. Located in Empire, near Sleeping Bear Dunes, this festival has been going steady since 1974.

So how does Empire celebrate the asparagus? There are plenty of food and drink vendors, a display of the season’s largest asparagus, the crowning of an asparagus queen, and even an asparagus poetry contest.

National Asparagus Festival - Empire, Michigan - Summer Festivals
National Asparagus Festival | photo via National Asparagus Festival of Oceana County, MI on Facebook

Festival of the Forks | Albion

The fall festival has been held in downtown Albion for nearly 50 years and doesn’t actually celebrate the work.

What it does celebrate however is food, music, diversity, healthy habits, and more. Really, it’s a showcase of Albion’s community spirit and visitors can enjoy great festival food, and parade, and much more.

Old Town Scrapfest | Lansing

Michigan has many wonderful art festivals that take place during the year, but this one is among the most unique.

Every year, festival participants get to flex their creative muscles by creating beautiful works of art from hundreds of pounds of scrap.

These creations are made over a two-week period and they’re truly a sight to behold when festival time comes around. There are also plenty of family activities, food, and live entertainment to make this a well-rounded festival.

Old Town Scrapfest - Lansing, Michigan
Old Town Scrapfest | photo via ScrapFest on Facebook

Bay-Rama Fishfly Festival | New Baltimore

You might bristle at a celebration of fish flies, which seem to cover every lakeside town in the summer in Michigan.

But give it a chance. The festival has existed for nearly 60 years, which means there’s something festival-goers love about it.

More than 50,000 people flock to New Baltimore for fun that includes live entertainment, a Miss Bay-Rama Queens Pageant, fireworks, a parade, and a kids’ day.

Mighty Uke Day | Lansing

This one-day celebration in June proclaims to be the biggest and best ukulele festival in the Midwest.

It’s only a one-day festival, but trust us, there’s a lot packed into the day. Lovers of all things uke can soak up good vibes as they listen to one of several live performances around Old Town Lansing.

If you want to learn more about playing the uke, fear not because there are several spots where workshops are held. Whether you’re a beginner or a long-time player, you can attend a workshop, or participate in group strum sessions.

Yale Bologna Festival
Yale Bologna Festival | Photo courtesy of The Yale Expositor

Wizard of Oz Festival | Ionia

Follow the yellow brick road east of Grand Rapids to Ionia for a celebration of one of the most beloved book series and movies of all time.

Dress up like your favorite character and travel to Michigan’s own little piece of the land of Oz.

Past festivals have included arts and crafts, official characters and photo opportunities, a 5K, movie screenings, and celebrity guest appearances.

Annual Fish Sandwich Festival | Bay Port

Travel to the northwest tip of Michigan’s thumb coast and enjoy a celebration of tasty fish sandwiches.

The festival still offers the original mullet sandwich, once sold by local Henry Englehard, which is made by a local company. Visitors can also try yellow perch sandwiches, which have become a festival favorite.

Along with yummy food, there’s plenty of entertainment, including live music, a 5K, and fireworks. 

Joe's Gizzard Fest

Gizzard Festival | Potterville

You’re probably thinking, gizzards huh? Well, this is a true celebration of everything life has to offer. Not only are there gizzards, but you can also participate in a softball ball tournament.

This festival gets truly creative with its community and it’s chock-full of activities. So enter the gizzard eating contest, have some fun at the corn hole tournament, or take free line dancing lessons.

Make Plans to Attend One of These Weird Michigan Festivals

It seems Michigan has a celebration for just about anything. There are lots of fruit-related festivals in the summer, fall harvest festivals, spring flower festivals, and snowy, fun-filled winter festivals.

But if you’re looking for your next Michigan bucket list item, make plans to attend one of these weird festivals in Michigan.

Even if what’s being celebrated seems a little strange, give it a chance. You may just have the time of your life and find a new festival that’s perfect fun for the whole family!

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