Our precious summertime is here with a rich roster of arts events back in full swing! In fact, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP) is so chock-full of great summer art events, one could make a summer-long art-focused vacation a vocation! So let’s consider the possibilities!
You could start off June 11 & 12 with Pictured Rocks Days at Binsfeld Bayshore Park in Munising and enjoy free live music and arts & crafts, as well as food trucks, bounce houses;,a beer tent, petting zoo, Coastie the Safety Boat, and interpretive, demonstration and informational vendors.
Then head west June 16 – 19 to the Houghton/Hancock Bridgfest commemorating the 62nd anniversary of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge at its 35th annual downtown celebration. You’ll find fine arts and crafts, live music, food, helicopter rides, fireworks, a parade, classic car show, water activities and more fun! Visit http://www.bridgefestfun.com for the full schedule.
Discover the many joys of Art Week held throughout the city of Marquette from June 19-25, with exhibits, performances, receptions, studio tours, a bike tour, demonstrations, installations, street performers, and an Evening Art Stroll. For details, go to http://www.mqtcompass.com/artweek.
And be sure to take in a City Band concert at Escanaba’s Ludington Park on a Wednesday evening, mid-June to mid-August (www.escanaba.org/community/page/city-band), or Marquette’s Presque Isle Park on select Thursday evenings (marquettecityband.com), as well as great summer entertainment at Marquette’s Lake Superior Theatre (www.lakesuperiortheatre.com).
After enjoying in any of the many 4th of July celebrations held in UP towns large and small, you can head on over to Festival Ironwood July 13-16 for live music, exhibits, craft/artisan vendors, sports activities, food, and more at Historic Depot Park in Ironwood. Visit http://www.ironwoodchamber.org/festival-ironwood and Facebook for more info.
Tear yourself away from the festivities in Ironwood and you could kick up your heels at the annual Aura Jamboree July 15-16. The event features a lively variety of traditional acoustic music, with performers taking fifteen-minute turns on the indoor stage Friday afternoon and Saturday. Traditional dances are held in the evenings in the historic Aura Community Hall in L’Anse, while groups of musicians jam informally outside on the shaded grounds. For more info, see the Aura Hall Jamboree Facebook page.
You can continue your traditional music immersion July 22-24 with Hiawatha Music Festival’s bluegrass, Cajun, Celtic, old-time, acoustic blues and folk, including singer/songwriters, as well as dance at Tourist Park in the city of Marquette. Nationally known performers, regional and local favorites, musician-led workshops, open jams, and dance sessions continue are held, including activities and performances for children, tweens, and teens , with a special teen-only dance Saturday night. A children’s parade takes place late Sunday afternoon. Artists in the Round, a juried traditional arts show, is on Saturday and Sunday, and Young Artists Corner on Saturday afternoon. For more details and tickets, visit hiawathamusic.org.
The Marquette area fun continues with live music, arts and crafts, and all things blueberry at the July 29 Blueberry Festival from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in downtown Marquette on Washington and Front Streets. Enjoy everything from blueberry pizza to blueberry beer at downtown restaurants and “blue” specials at many downtown shops.
You can follow the festival up with your next art fix at the 62nd Annual Art on the Rocks at Marquette’s Mattson Lower Harbor Park on Lake Superior’s shore in downtown Marquette. You’ll find fine arts and crafts such as painting, photography, blacksmithing, jewelry, pottery, and more at this juried art show, 10 am-6 pm Saturday, July 30th, and 10 am-4 pm Sunday, July 31st.
Then head on up the hill to Outback Art Fair at Shiras Park, aka Picnic Rocks, running simultaneously with Art on the Rocks July 30 – 31 to check out even more creative output, including locally-made soaps, walking sticks, outdoor décor and kitchen gear in addition to fine arts, local books, and more.
Next up, you can drive south to enjoy Woodtick Music Festival’s live bluegrass, country, folk, blues, and rock on August 4-7 at County Park 388 in Hermansville. This year’s performers include Bad Axe Rodeo, Billy Shears Band, The Decendants, Chasin Steel, The Driftless Revelers, Runaway Train, 141 North, Gin Mill Hollow, Norton Chartier & Company, Peltier Brothers, River Valley Rangers,Paul Family Bluegrass Band,Willow Ridge Bluegrass Band, Heartland Express and Dee Dee Jayne. More details and tickets can be found at http://www.woodtickfestival.com.
Or, head northwest to the Keweenaw for Farmblock Music Festival, August 5-7. The festival raises funds for The Dan Schmitt Gift of Music and Education Fund, a non-profit providing free instruments and lessons to youth in the Keweenaw and also after school creative empowerment programming in Kalamazoo. The event is held at 2239 N Farmers Block Rd., Allouez. Weekend and day passes available in advance online at farmblock.com and at the gate with cash or check. Discounts for seniors, veterans, and Keweenaw County residents.
You can take a break from Farmblock’s festivities and soak in the very best in health, wellness and spiritual guidance just a town over at Keweenaw Summer Celebration on August 6th at beautiful Lions Park, Calumet. Plus check out the wares of artisans and crafters too! Held 10 am- 5 pm, with children’s Fairy Parade at 1 pm and public drumming circle at 3 pm. For more info, visit http://www.summercelebration.org.
Now head south and west to the Grand Marais Music & Crafts Festival, August 11-13, where you can take in more live music, and arts and crafts at the town’s ballfields. Thursday is free for all. Friday to Saturday is free to children 15 and under accompanied by parents holding tickets. Visit the festival’s Facebook page for the music lineup and more details.
You can zip back to the Keweenaw, or extend your stay there, to peruse the 61st Annual Eagle Harbor Art Show, August 13 -14. This juried art show features sixty to seventy artists. You can check out finely crafted jewelry, ceramics, paintings, woodcarvings, photography and more from 10 am – 5 pm on Saturday and noon –4 pm on Sunday.
Now follow this up with a visit to the UP State Fair, August 15-21. Enjoy “Pure Fun, Pure Goodness, and Pure Michigan” with arts & crafts, animals, food and music at the Escanaba fairgrounds. Go to http://www.upstatefair.net for events, schedule, and admission info.
You can continue your summer-long arts imbibing with a beeline back north to the Lake Effect Bar & Grill’s Lake Fanny Hooe-Down 2, August 26 & 27 at Lake Fanny Hooe Resort & Campground in Copper Harbor. This year’s headliners include Country Music Hall of Fame member, 15-time Grammy-winner, CMA Entertainer of the Year and Country Music/Bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, plus multi-Grammy nominated hit-maker Joe Nichols. Also featured are Shawn Lane, a three-time Grammy nominee and 28-time IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Award winner, plus super-talented eighteen year-old Carson Peters. Peters was a recent contestant on NBC’s hit series The Voice, has been a Tonight Show guest, and performed at the Grand Ole Opry and the CMA (Country Music Association) Awards. Regional music favorites Tom Katalin & Highway 41, Chad Borgen & The Collective, Keweenaw Brewgrass, and On the Spot Blues Band will also perform. A limited number of two-day passes are available at fannyhooe.com. Reserve campsite or hotel accommodations at 833-FANNYHOOE (833-326-6946) or email email@example.com.
For a different take on the music scene, head farther west to the Porcupine Mountain Music Festival, August 26 & 27, at the Winter Sports Complex within Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Several acres of mowed, open slope will be ready for your blankets and lawn chairs. Attendance is limited, so there’s plenty of room for distancing. Concessions are located in the ski chalet and open throughout the event. A Children’s Tent provides kids’ activities during the festival. Performances take place under a big top canopy, rain or shine, so be prepared for the weather and have your required Michigan Recreation Passport. For details and ticket purchases, visit porkiesfestival.org.
Or, opt for festivities at Marquette’s Harborfest August 26 & 27, where you can enjoy live music and food at Mattson Lower Harbor Park in downtown Marquette while helping to fund all the good work supported throughout the year by Marquette West Rotary.
You can complete your art-full summer at the Marquette Area Blues Fest Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 2-4, also at Mattson Lower Harbor Park in downtown Marquette. World class blues performers, artist workshops, a dance floor, several local food vendors and a beverage tent with fine Marquette-crafted brews will be on hand alongside a world-class view. Headliners include Biscuit Miller, Carolyn Wonderland, and Vanessa Collier. Friday night admission is free. For more info and ticket sales, visit marquetteareabluessociety.org.
Excerpted from the Summer 2022 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.