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Michigan Travel Guide

Michigan — Festivals and Events

When the ground finally dries up in May, Michigan opens its doors and begins its annual warm weather party that lasts until the final leaves fall in late October. There are festivals, state fairs, and other special events scheduled in all the major tourist towns. The coast bursts into life by late June and Detroit takes on a whole new attitude. Visitors will have no trouble finding music, food or art to enjoy during the short, but sweet Michigan summer.

North American International Auto Show

This rare January event happens each year to breathe some life into Detroit at the peak of Michigan’s brutal winter. All of the country’s major auto manufacturers unveil their new models at the biggest car show in the country. Besides admiring all the steel on display, there are special workshops, beautiful show girls, and other special events over two weeks at Cobo Exhibition Center.

Festival of the Arts

One of the most exciting arts festivals takes place in Grand Rapids every June. The event practically takes over downtown, bringing it to a standstill as hundreds of artists, craftspeople and vendors set up stalls to sell their creations. Live music, art competitions, storytelling, and activities for the kids make this festival a winner with families, as well as art aficionados.

International Freedom Festival

Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Canada, are just a stone’s throw apart, and the city puts on a welcome show of neighborly respect each July to celebrate America’s and Canada’s independence days. From July 1-4, the two cities host a steady stream of parades, pageants, concerts, and events leading up the big fireworks display on Independence Day. It’s one of America’s best Fourth of July celebrations, with awesome pyrotechnics over the Ambassador Bridge.

Woodward Dream Cruise

The planet’s single largest car event happens in Detroit every August as 40,000 vehicles take to downtown Woodward Avenue for a 16-mile parade of engines and design. And this is not your ordinary family sedan. Most of the cars on display are beautiful 1950’s and ‘60s hot rods, muscle cars, and cool vintage machines with a discernable macho edge.

Celebration on the Grand

The big event each September in Grand Rapids happens right on the sunny banks of this city’s broad, flowing river. For three full days at the beginning of the month, visitors can enjoy a genuine local celebration with live music, food, children’s activities, and a superb fireworks display.

Detroit International Jazz Festival

The home of Motown hosts one of America’s most impressive jazz festivals at the beginning of each September. Six stages are set up at the downtown Hart Plaza where both big-name musicians and local up-and-coming Michiganders keep the crowds enthralled for three straight days and nights. Side events include talks and workshops at the Jazz Talk Tent and fun for the children at the Kid Bop Area.

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