July marks the peak of summer. It’s all about festivals, long weekends and good times. Check out these July events in Northern Michigan that will give you an excuse to eat too many carnival hot dogs and use up those vacation days.
The Best Fests
National Cherry Festival | June 30–July 7
Cherry Fest, where my love for elephant ears and tart cherries started years ago… This isn’t just a festival, it’s THE festival. I’m talking amusement rides, contests, air shows, beer tents, concerts, fireworks, craft shows and a lot of cherries. Since 1910, the National Cherry Festival has been bringing folks from far and wide to Traverse City and creating memories that last a lifetime. Clear your week because this water-front-festival is the definition of Pure Michigan and family fun. Check out National Cherry Festival events and more.
Great Lakes Equestrian Festival | July 4–August 12
This awesome six-week festival welcomes all riders and horse lovers (and people like me who never got a horse for their 10th birthday and live vicariously through the pros). Check out the nationally and internationally rated hunter and jumper competitions and classic equestrian competitions for children, juniors, adults and amateur-owner riders. Each week the festival will hold classes for young horses, open jumpers and professional hunter derbies. More information here.
Mount Mancelona Music & Food Festival | July 6–8
It’s more than a music festival; it’s a weekend of camping, outdoor activities, food, and music at a historic ski resort. Three stages will feature music from Zydeco to ’70s classics to today’s hits at the silent disco. Food trucks and the Long Table Paella Feast will keep you full all weekend long. Enjoy hiking to the highest peak in Antrim County for a sunset toast and jump in the artesian pond for a swim. Bike around, team up for a game of disc golf or relax in the saunas and wood-fired hot tub. It’s safe to say there will be plenty to do. Get your tickets here.
Traverse City Film Festival | July 31–August 5
Calling all movie buffs! It’s time for the annual TC Film Fest. Enjoy an outstanding selection of independent, foreign, and documentary films, as well as premieres, parties, panel discussions and lectures about the world of film. Most events are held near downtown at the vintage State Theatre, Bijou by the Bay, City Opera House, Old Town Playhouse and nearby Grand Traverse Commons. There are also many free festival opportunities including the family movies shown each night at an outdoor screen on West Grand Traverse Bay. View the movie schedule!
Boskydel Tribute | July 7
Raise a glass to celebrate Boskydel Vineyard, Northern Michigan’s first winery! Fellow wine enthusiasts and Michigan wine industry supporters are invited to Aurora Cellars to enjoy three special wines created for this honorary celebration by Good Harbor Vineyards, Mawby and Bel Lago Vineyards. This celebration is in honor of Bernie Rink, pioneer of Northern Michigan’s wine industry. The specialty wines were made using grapes from Boskydel’s vineyard and will be paired with heavy appetizers throughout the night. Cheers to a wonderful reason to enjoy a few glasses of wine. Get tickets and more information.
BUBBLYbrunch | July 15
I don’t know about you, but I take brunch very seriously; the food has to be good and the mimosas even better. Mawby raises the bar with an awesome brunch spread by Raduno paired with their Mawbosa, a colorful, tasty take on the classic. Grab your tickets here and enjoy this Sunday-Funday.
Beer Education & Tasting Sail | July 20
Is it a true boating experience without a beer in hand? Inland Seas and Short’s Brewing Company are teaming up for an awesome on-the-water experience. Sail around Suttons Bay while tasting and learning about brewing in Northern Michigan. Cheers to awesome views and good beer! Find out more.
Leelanau Peninsula Wine on the Water | July 21
Another summer day, another excuse for drinks, food and live music. The best way to enjoy local Michigan wine is with a waterfront view. Leelanau Peninsula Wine on the Water attracts wine lovers and foodies alike for a relaxed day of wine tasting, local restaurant eats and awesome live music from Levi Britton and Soul Patch. Don’t worry non-wine drinks, Hop Lot Brewing Co. and Tractor Pull Hard Cider will be there too. Get your tickets!
Summer Star Party at Sleeping Bear Dunes | July 14
We all know and love the beauty of the dunes, but this is your chance to experience the northern sky you don’t get to see during your daytime hike. During the first afternoon session, you’ll be able to examine and view the sun through solar telescopes at the Dune Climb. Spend time exploring the area or the dunes, then head back later in the evening to see Venus, Jupiter, Mars and of course, the endless number of stars. Get ready to be “starstruck” after these unbelievable views. Here’s more information.
Tour de TART | July 20
The annual Tour de TART bicycle tour is back for its 18th year. The 17-mile ride takes place on the awesome TART Trail beginning in Traverse City at Darrow Park and ends at Village Marina & Park in Suttons Bay. This evening ride attracts more than 600 people of all ages who love a nice evening ride along the water. Stops include a waterfront dinner at the Suttons Bay Marina, local beer and wine and lots of treats. Don’t worry, there will be buses to take you back home. Register here.
Baroque on Beaver Music Festival | July 27–August 4
Beaver Island is one of Northern Michigan’s best kept secrets. Not only is this island the perfect summer getaway spot, it’s also the venue for the Baroque on Beaver Music Festival. Every summer, professional musicians from Michigan and beyond perform at several locations on the island. This family-fun music fest includes kids concerts, classics and more. Choose from eight different shows or take a week vacation and enjoy them all. View the concert lineup and get tickets.
Gwinn Fun Daze | July 28
A day of classic family fun isn’t complete without bounce houses, parades, car shows, craft tents and live music. Start off the “Fun Daze” by participating in the 5K and feel guilt free about eating all that carnival food later on, you now deserve it. The day begins at 10 a.m with the race and ends at 4 p.m with live music in Nordeen Park in Gwinn. Register for the 5k.
Enjoy these Northern Michigan July events and keep an eye out for my top picks for August. Cheers to a happy summer! –Hannah