Mackinac Island is home to three Northern Michigan festivals each summer, as well as numerous annual sporting events—most notably foot and boat races. These Northern Michigan events are special in their own right, but the backdrop of Mackinac Island makes them absolutely incredible. From races around the island to honoring the local food scene, these festivals showcase the very best of Mackinac.

Mackinac Island Festivals

Lilac Festival

The Lilac Festival is one of the first and largest summer festivals to happen on the island. Each year, it attracts thousands of visitors to see the stunning lilacs in bloom. Watch the coronation of the Lilac Festival Queen, learn about the island’s equestrian culture, go wine tasting or view a pony show.

Take a video vacation to the Lilac Festival with this MyNorth video.

Festival of the Horse

On Mackinac Island, the horse is the king of transportation. The Festival of the Horse honors the magnificent animal with a line-up of events celebrating its history on the island. Take a carriage ride through downtown, watch a professional horse demonstration and learn about more than 18 breeds of horses that call Mackinac Island home.

Fudge Festival

Home to the best fudge in America, the Mackinac iIslandFudge Festival celebrates the delicious and creamy treat with a weekend of sweet events. Watch a demonstration on the art of fudge making, attend a dinner filled with fine foods that compliment the dreamy treat and be sure to sample every shop’s flavors! The perfect festival for any vacationer, but especially those with a sweet tooth.

Mackinac Island Sporting Events

Foot Races
  1. The Lilac 10k: This race coincides with the Lilac Festival.
  2. Mackinac Eight Mile: The eight-mile run walk also has a kids fun run.
  3. Great Turtle Trail-Run: Choose between the 5.7-mile trail run or the half-marathon run.

Learn more and register for the above races at

Boat Races

Head up to Mackinac to catch one of these boat races this summer:

  1. Mackinac Island 4th of July Race: Sponsored by the Pink Pony, this family fun race invites all sailboats to join them.
  2. Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac: A 333-mile voyage from Chicago to Mackinac Island.
  3. Round the Island Race: The race is open to all sailboats in the Chicago Mac Race and all boats in the Mackinac area.
  4. Bells Beer Bayview to Mackinac Race: Bayview Yacht Club hosts this spectacular fresh water sailing event. Hosting over 250 yachts that will race from Port Huron to Mackinac Island, this historic event is filled with the excitement of the challenge.
  5. Mission Point Mac to Mac Regatta: Race from the Mackinac Island Harbor to the Mackinac Bridge and back.
  6. Horns Bar Labor Day Regatta: The free race takes participants on the round the island course.

Read about the Race to Mackinac here, or find the best places along Lake Michigan to watch the race.

Flip through the digital pages of the MyNorth Vacation Guide for more things to do on Mackinac Island!

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More on Mackinac Island

Staff contributors: Kelly Brown, Carly Simpson