And just like that, it’s September. We’re keeping the party going with a full lineup of beer fests, harvest-themed events and any excuse to get outside and enjoy the changing seasons. Get ready to pull out your sweaters my friends, it’s time to enjoy these Northern Michigan events.
U.P. Fall Beer Fest | September 8
I don’t know about you, but I never get sick of the opportunity to drink Michigan beer, listen to live music and enjoy good food Up North. This Marquette beer festival is not for the indecisive as attendees can choose from more than 600 beers made by 80+ local breweries. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to enjoy plenty of brews with the 15 drink tokens included with your ticket (cheers to that). And for the really serious beer fest enthusiasts, you can get in early with a membership.
Acme Fall Festival | September 9
Events include a classic car show, princess competition, farmers market, craft show, silent auction, tractor show, pony rides, Wings of Wonder presentation, petting zoo and Hospice Memorial butterfly release—it’s going to be a fun day! There will also be live entertainment and plenty of local eats and treats. All events are held at Flintfields Horse Park in Williamsburg from 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Paddle Antrim Festival | September 13–15
This unique festival celebrates the amazing waterways and communities of Northern Michigan with a two-day paddle event through the Chain of Lakes Water Trail in Antrim County. The choose-your-own-adventure paddle provides the opportunity for you to paddle one or both days and decide how far to travel. There are exits strategically placed along the route so you may go anywhere from 7 miles to 42 miles. Local events begin Thursday evening with food and music, and great times continue through Saturday when we end with a bang at the Final Bash hosted by Short’s Brewing Company. Get all the details for the festival here.
Leland Heritage Festival | September 15
Wander the village and experience Leland, past and present. There will be live music by Duck Soup, a Fishtown scavenger hunt, a classic car show, dining and shopping specials and more. The free celebration goes from 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
7th Annual Hops and Props on the River | September 15
Celebrate a few things that make Michigan so great: beer, boats and time spent on the water. Hops and Props on the River returns to downtown Manistee with more than 100 beers from 35 Michigan breweries. Enjoy viewing classic Century boats as well as new boats, and bring your appetite—several food trucks will be at the event.
Cadillac’s Craft Beer Fest | September 22
It’s like a party in your backyard. There’s a little something for everyone this year with beer, mead, cider, wine and—new this year—mixed spirits. Live music from some of the best local bands will keep you dancing on the lakeshore when you’re not busy with an intense game of corn hole. There’s a reason folks have been coming back to this beer fest for nine years, it’s seriously fun.
Menominee Giant Pumpkin Festival | September 22
It’s time to embrace the season and all the things that come with it, including pumpkin everything. This Upper Peninsula festival is devoting every activity to the orange fall staple—pumpkin seed spitting, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin pie eating competition, pumpkin carving contest and the grand event, a giant pumpkin boat race. Ever float in a hollowed out pumpkin? Me neither, but I’m intrigued. Attending the festival is free but you can register for all the fun contests here.
Octoberfest | September 28 & 29
When just a beer fest isn’t enough, you throw in a pub crawl, chili walk, mustache and beer tasting contests, live music, German food and lot more. Clear your weekend because you’re going to want the full festival experience in Ludington. Crawl to 12 downtown bars on Friday (think of this as your warm up?) and enjoy the beer fest and the rest of the festivities all day Saturday. Feel free to make this into a family outing, there will be plenty of kids activities and lawn games for all. Check out the ticket options here.
Bellaire Harvest Festival + Scarecrow Extravaganza | September 29
Get ready for a fun day starting with the Boy Scout Pancake Breakfast. Head out to the craft fair and flea market, kids bounce houses, educational hands-on booths and local food vendors. The Best-Dressed Pet Parade is at 1 p.m., and the Antrim Brew Tent featuring Short’s Brewing Company, Bee Well Meadery, Mammoth Distilling and Torch Lake Cellars is open from 11 a.m.–6 p.m. on Broad Street. Rock out to local music with the event’s first Open Mic stage. End the day with Short’s Oktoberfest. Lederhosen encouraged!
5th Annual Hops ‘n Highlands | September 29
This fall beer festival at Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs features more than 45 Michigan breweries and upward of 175 microbrews. A special weekend lodging package includes two nights’ hotel lodging, Friday night party, commemorative gift, drink tickets and free entry. If you’re not part of the lodging package, there will be a $10 cover charge.
Taste of Harbor Springs | September 22
Visitors and residents alike will enjoy creative foods, new wine and craft beers at the 24th Annual Taste of Harbor Springs. Unlimited food tastes and two drink tickets are included with your ticket. The event will be held rain or shine under the tents on the waterfront downtown and supports culinary scholarships for Northern Michigan Culinary students and professionals. Tickets are $30 in advance or $45 the day of the event.
Herf & Turf Cigar Dinner | September 27
Nothing says guys night out like good cigars and good food on the golf course. Enjoy an evening of premium Gurkha Cigars paired with a three-course gourmet meal overlooking the scenic 18th hole of the Ridge Golf Course in Gaylord. Chef Dave Bordlais’ menu includes a wild Michigan salad featuring wild game hen; bison filet mignon; and mocha crème brûlée and a cigar paired with each course. A cash bar and appetizers will also be provided.
TC Germanfest | September 28
Did you know that in Bavaria, beer is actually considered a food? At TC Germanfest, we will be “feasting” on genuine, imported Hofbrau beer … no knife or fork required. Join in celebrating all things German with a night of authentic German foods, beers and wines, plus live music and entertainment. Get your Bavarian on and wear your Lederhosen or Dirndl, or just put on a fedora or a crown of flowers to feel more festive!
Harvest Stompede | September 8–9
Enjoy everything the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail has to offer, from vineyard to tasting room. This annual weekend starts with a spectacular race through Leelanau’s vineyards followed by a self-guided wine tour featuring world-class wines and culinary delights that reflect the season’s bounty. Register for the race here. Not into the whole running thing? Don’t worry, wine tasting only is totally acceptable.
Colantha’s Garden Celebration | September 30
Traverse City’s Colantha Walker was no ordinary cow. One of 96 Holstein-Friesian cows in a herd belonging to Traverse City State Hospital, Colantha put TC on the map in 1926 when she produced 22,918 pounds of milk in a single year, making her the highest producer in the world. Enjoy an afternoon filled with food trucks, a cake walk, wagon rides, live music, craft fair, gardening and farming demonstrations, children’s activities, tours and more. The free event is at the Botanic Garden at the Historic Barns Park from 12–4 p.m. Register here.
Leelanau Uncaged | September 29
It doesn’t matter how old you are, block parties are FUN. Northport is going all out by closing its streets from noon to 10 p.m. to host dozens of musical performers, dancers, artists and food vendors. Going on its sixth year, the event is originally inspired by John Cage, the famous American composer and philosopher, whose interpretation of rhythm and music was original in every way. Leelanau UnCaged is a day for stimulating the senses. Fun for the whole family and free admission for all.
Arts & Entertainment
Northern Home & Cottage Home Tour | September 15
Eight incredible homes with details and layouts that will make you feel like you’re in a real-life Pinterest board. The tour features some of the most gorgeous waterfronts I’ve ever seen. One home is on a golf course. And then there’s the one with it’s own airstrip‚yepper, an airplane hangar is a part of this stunning home. Plus there’s a party along the way in an art gallery with some delicious local food—a must-see stop for sure. You’re not going to want to miss this Petoksey Area Home Tour.
Multiple Events at Crooked Tree Arts Center | September 15 & on
Traverse City is getting a big addition to its fall fine arts calendar in 2018 with Crooked Tree Art Center’s annual juried exhibition landing in downtown TC for the first time. Detroit contemporary art gallery owner Simone DeSousa is coming north to serve as a guest jurist for the event, which will feature new works from artists across the Midwest and Ontario. Score a first look at the opening reception on September 15, or check out the upcoming concerts at the Petoksey location.
Artist After Hours—The Art of Storytelling | September 20
Enjoy these September events in Northern Michigan and keep an eye out for my top picks in October. Cheers to my favorite season! –Hannah