A Festival for the Rest of Y’All

Summer Gatherings Abound in Great Lakes Bay Region

By Rich Adams


Summer brings with it many fun and cherished family events, such as reunion picnics, days on the water and enjoying the beach.

The warmer days also herald the return of festivals and events in the Great Lakes Bay region.

Perhaps the highlight is the Tall Ship Celebration on July 18-21 (see cover story for details), but there are plenty of other opportunities for fun throughout the summer months.


Michigan Antiques & Collectables Festival, June 1-2

Pickers will be in hog heaven June 1-2 as the Michigan Antiques & Collectables Festival takes place at the Midland County Fairgrounds.

Between 800 and 1,000 vendors and dealers will display their wares inside seven fairgrounds buildings.

If you miss the June festival, the event repeats itself Sept. 21-22.



Riverscene Indie Music Festival, June 1-2

Dozens of bands are on tap for the Riverscene Indie Music Festival in Bay City. This eclectic music fest is set in Wenonah Park, and includes food trucks and Michigan craft beer.


Matrix: Midland Festival, June 3-16

The event kicks off June 3 at the Midland Center for the Arts and continues through June 16. Featured events include a Drone Festival at Barstow Airport; a performance by Matthew Morrison, star of the hit TV show “Glee;” a performance of the all-female country quartet Farewell Angelina; and architect Alan Metcalfe presents his influences and inspiration in designing Whiting Forest’s new canopy walk.


Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival, June 6-9

Admission to the four days of celebrating everything German is only $5, with kids 5 and under admitted free.

The festival includes a wide variety of events and entertainment. Highlights include the free street party June 7 as well as the Festival Olympics and Maibaum Dancers.

On tap June 8 is the Kindertag Parade and Rotary Duck Race. Performers will bring music and more at the main tent and rock tent.

June 9 brings the Bavarian Festival Parade at 1 p.m. and wraps up with more performers in the main tent.


Tapped: Downtown Midland Craft Beer Festival, June 16

From 2-6 p.m. the Tasting Tent will be open, offering the products of 29 craft breweries and eight wineries and cideries. Tickets are $25 at the gate and include a commemorative cup, six complimentary drink tickets and live music.

That night Michigan craft breweries will take over the taps at several watering holes in downtown Midland. Check out the website at to find out which locations are participating.

You’ll also be able to attend the Makers Market, featuring artisans and food vendors on Main Street between Gordon and Rodd streets. The market will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.


St. Stan’s Polish Festival, June 27-30

Michigan’s largest Polish Festival takes place in Bay City June 27-30. The event features Road Race Night, Kids’ Day and an Outdoor Heritage Mass at 11 a.m. June 30, followed by a barbecue chicken dinner. Homemade Polish and American food, major carnival rides and games for all ages, a large beer tent, dance floor and the live polka music will be among the attractions. Entertainment tent admission is $5 per day.



Bay City Fireworks Festival, July 4-6

One night a year is not enough for Bay City, which will have pyrotechnic displays at dusk on July 4-6.

During the day the Skerbeck Family Carnival will take place at Vet’s Park, featuring a midway and all kinds of rides and attractions. Tickets or family armbands can be purchased at the gate.


Fourth of July fireworks displays

Cities and towns throughout the Great Lakes Bay region offer fireworks displays July 4. Check with your local government to find locations and times.


Hop Riot Beer Fest, Aug. 3

The festival is from noon to 5 p.m. in Bay City. A variety of breweries and wineries bring their offerings to Wenonah Park. Music is provided by Lightnin’ Licks Vinyl Preservation Society. Tickets are $35 for the VIP event, $25 for general admission, and include five tasting tickets and a Hop Riot glass and bottle opener.


Midland Riverdays Festival and Balloon Fest, Aug. 1-3

The fun takes place Aug. 1-3 next to Midland Area Farmers Market Plaza. It’s three days of fun including music, food, entertainment, hot-air balloons and activities for all ages. There will be kayaking, zip line trips, concerts, a beer tent and more.


Frankenmuth Summer Music Fest, Aug. 8-10 and Aug. 15-17

The music fills the air over two weekends at the Harvey Kern Pavilion in Heritage Park. Music of all genres is on the agenda. Ticket prices are $20 Thursdays and $22 Fridays and Saturdays, or a three-day pass for $60.



Saginaw African Cultural Festival, Aug. 9-11

The celebration at the former Morley School grounds is the oldest ongoing Black Arts Festival in the country. The weekend-long event includes live music, crafts and activities for kids, face painting, clothing vendors, food vendors, dominoes, card games and chess for adults, and more.