From the largest outdoor new car show on the continent to Michigan's largest international beer tasting event, festivals are year-round, epic get-downs around here!
But since you can no more enjoy the Summer Music Fest in January than you could the Snowfest in June, this insider guide will get you right to the fun (and quickly!) whenever you come, with the know-how of a seasoned local.
Summer Fun (June - August)
Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival (June, Frankenmuth): Dirndl and lederhosen, Bavarian music and a wooden dance floor, ice-cold beers and German foods from bratwurst to hand-rolled pretzels! Willkommen ("Welcome" in German)!
Saginaw GreekFest (June, Saginaw): Opa! Join 80,000 plus for three days of traditional dancing and authentic Greek food (...and get ready to get your gyro on)!
Michigan Antique Festivals (June, July & September, Midland): More than 80 acres and over 1,000 vendors, unique, handmade items and "Taste of Michigan" and "Shop Michigan" stations.
Bay City Fireworks Festival (July, Bay City): One of the largest fireworks displays in the Midwest, 250,000+ ooh and ahh at this two-park, three-day scene with a carnival, live entertainment, and (BOOM!) major fireworks!
Tall Ship Celebration (Not annual, Bay City): When the majestic ships sail into port, this three-day festival of maritime merriment is not to be missed! Unfortunately, this seafaring celebration doesn't happen every year, so keep a lookout, matey!
Fall Festivities (September - October)
Frankenmuth Auto Fest (September, Frankenmuth): Muscle cars, street rods, and the Friday night Big Block Party. Three days, and over 2,000 classic cars!
Northwood University International Auto Show (September/October, Midland): Run your hands across the wax on more than 500 vehicles from over 65 manufacturers at North America's largest outdoor new car show, run 100% by Northwood University students.
Michigan's Big Country Fest (October, Frankenmuth): Saunter with your cowboy boots into an evening of live country bands, line dancing, barbecue and beer (and, not to be forgotten, a Bloody Mary Bar), but first-ride the mechanical bull!
Hell's Half Mile Film & Music Fest (September, Bay City): Take in indie films and live music for four days (and nights) during Bay City's grassroots festival, along the historic strip known in the 1800s as "Hell's Half Mile".
Frankenmuth Oktoberfest (September, Frankenmuth): A scaled-down version of an authentic German beer hall, stomp your feet and raise your steins at the only officially sanctioned Oktoberfest celebration outside of Munich, Germany!
Winter Escapades (November - February)
Holidays in the Heart of the City (November, Saginaw): Santa and Mrs. Claus, their reindeer, pony rides, a holiday market, trolley, cookies, cocoa, and fireworks!
Chesaning Christmas Candlelight Walk (November, Chesaning): A cozy Christmas village of nativity scenes, horse-drawn carriage rides, and a tree lighting ceremony (complete with village-wide "O, Christmas Tree" sing-a-long). Too dreamy to be true? Believe-the Christmas magic is real.
Midnight on Main (December, Midland): New Year's Eve celebration of epic proportions, live and DJ entertainment, drink specials. Oh, yeah. And only the largest Times Square-style NYE ball drop in Michigan!
Zehnder's Snowfest (January, Frankenmuth): Impressive snow and ice sculptures, live entertainment in the warming tent, kids' activities, fireworks - all the backdrop to one of the largest snow and ice carving competitions on the continent!
Ice Blast Festival (February, Saginaw): Festivities about town, from the Children's Zoo at Celebration Square to Saginaw Spirit Hockey games in the Dow Event Center, inflatables, and live entertainment in the warming tent!
Spring Flings (March - May)
St. Patrick's Day Parade Festival (March, Bay City): Floats, marching bands, shamrocks and leprechauns! Celebrate the Irish, lads and lassies, in the streets of Bay City!
Bringin' Back the 80s Fest (April, Frankenmuth): Don big hair (don't care) and parachute pants, and celebrate all-things-80s at this time-warped, dance party; drink specials!
Freeland Walleye Festival & Fishing Tournament (April, Freeland): Fishing tournament, community-wide yard sales, kids' fishing pond and (hoot hoot)... a hospitality tent!
Frankenmuth Dog Bowl (May, Frankenmuth) Witness the largest, Olympic-style event for dogs in the nation!
Balloons Over Bavarian Inn (May, Frankenmuth) Morning and evening Hot Air Balloon Flights offer eye candy overhead and endless viewing experiences throughout Frankenmuth, while Hot Air Balloon Glows stretch the festivities of this Memorial Day Weekend event well into the evening.
World Expo of Beer (May, Frankenmuth): Cheers to Michigan's largest international beer sampling event, and more than 150 brews from around the world!
The Great Lakes Bay Region is primetime for festival fun! Tape this list to your fridge; save it to your wall. This know-how will get you right to the larger-than-life enjoyment that festivals bring, anytime, any season, with the locals who love them!