You voted for the Top 7 Events in each Northern Michigan region and the results are in. From small-town coastal art festivals to record-breaking cherry pie contests at national festivals, Up North knows how to celebrate community. Here are your winners!

A record-breaking 16,000 people voted in MyNorth’s 2021 Red Hot Best Awards, recognizing winners from across seven regions and 46 different categories in Northern Michigan. The categories include everything from healthcare and frontline workers to takeout and hiking trails. This is how we celebrate Northern Michigan!

Searching for the full winner’s list? Here are the Red Hot Best Winners 2021: The Best of Northern Michigan.

Above the Bridge

Mackinac Island Lilac Festival, Mackinac Island

Come celebrate some of the oldest and largest lilac plants in the world! Mackinac Island’s ten-day annual Lilac Festival is a cherished tradition for both residents of the island and visitors alike. Taking place in early June each year, the festival celebrates the blooming of the signature purple blossoms that dot pathways and gardens all over the island. If you happened to miss it this year, it’s not too early to start planning for next year! 

View the full list of Above the Bridge Red Hot Best winners to find the best wineries, beaches, and much more.

Related Read: 73rd Lilac Festival Returns to Mackinac Island for 2021.

Mackinac Island Lilacs

Photo by Kelly Hofman

Benzie & Leelanau 

Frankfort 4th of July Festival, Frankfort 

Frankfort doesn’t mess around with their 4th of July celebrations! Beginning July 1 each year, Frankfort hosts a variety of family-fun activities that run through July 5. Celebrate the fourth with fun activities including an annual money-reward Medallion Hunt, an Art in the Park festival, sand sculpture contests, a carnival, and much more! 

View the full list of Benzie and Leelanau Red Hot Best winners to find the best breweries, events and more.

Cadillac, Manistee & Ludington 

Arcadia Daze, Manistee

Celebrate the heritage of Arcadia, Michigan during this fun-filled weekend festival on one of Michigan’s most scenic shorelines. Event staples during the weekend include an arts and crafts show, a 5k race, live music with food and drink tents, and a fireworks show over Lake Michigan. 

View the full list of Cadillac, Manistee & Ludington Red Hot Best winners.

Charlevoix & the Chain of Lakes 

Elk Rapids Harbor Days, Elk Rapids

Visit the quaint harbor town of Elk Rapids for this 4-day festival celebrating community and the beauty of Northern Michigan! Harbor Days kicks off with the popular Evening on River Street event, where local vendors and merchants fill the streets with food, shopping, and live entertainment. The rest of the schedule includes fun activities for kids, athletic events, carnival rides, a parade, and live music. Don’t forget to stick around for the annual fireworks show on Saturday night! 

View the full list of Charlevoix & Chain of Lakes region Red Hot Best winners.

Gaylord Kalkaska and Greyling 

National Trout Festival, Kalkaska 

It’s no secret that the small town of Kalkaska has got a thing for Trout – just take a look at the 18-foot tall trout frozen mid-leap in a fountain right downtown. Where else could you possibly go to celebrate the opening of Trout season in Michigan? Join the community of Kalkaska on the last full weekend of each April for the National Trout Festival! Events during the festival include fishing contests for kids, a flea market, a carnival, live music, and much more! 

View the full list of Gaylord, Kalkaska and Grayling Red Hot Best winners to find the best golf courses, events and more.

Petoskey, Harbor Springs & The Straits

Pond Hill Farm Fall Fest Weekends, Harbor Springs

Nothing beats a Northern Michigan fall, especially in Harbor Springs; home to Michigan’s iconic Tunnel of Trees. Be sure to stop by Pond Hill Farm’s Fall Fest Weekends as you make your way through the scenic drive – the farm has plenty of fall fun for adults and children alike! The fest includes special activities for children, like a pumpkin patch and a petting farm, along with cider, donuts, wine and beer tasting. Also enjoy the cafe with outdoor Biergarten dining, a market and hiking trails! 

Looking for the best beaches, wineries and more? View the full list of Petoskey, Harbor Springs and The Straits Red Hot Best winners.

Traverse City 

National Cherry Festival, Traverse City

The highly anticipated Cherry Festival draws more than 500,000 people up to Traverse City, the Cherry Capital of the world, each year. Enjoy everything from a delicious cherry pancake breakfast to riding a ferris wheel up to see the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline. Shop from local vendors, attend the annual classic car show, or cheer on participants in the sand sculpture contest – whatever you choose to do, remember that it’s totally okay to eat your weight in cherries! 

Searching for more of Traverse City’s top beaches, breweries and more? View the full Traverse City Red Hot Best winners list.

Related Read: Heading to the National Cherry Festival? View our Cherry Festival planner page to plan your trip!

national cherry festival hotel

Photo by Dave Weidner

Photo(s) by Dave Weidner