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Whether fresh pop-up shops and artisan markets are calling your name or tasty street fare and food truck fusions are luring you to go — or you just want to celebrate at the largest beer tasting event in all of Michigan — spring festivals are underway and can’t-miss events are right around the corner!
Here’s when to go and where to be in Pure Michigan's Great Lakes Bay Region this spring:
Butterflies in Bloom at Dow Gardens (March 3 - April 16) Featuring thousands of brilliantly colored butterflies from all around the world, experience the winged beauties amidst a lush tropical environment of leafy plants and glorious florals in the newly reimagined Dow Gardens conservatory. Witness a butterfly in flight, and enjoy visits on your hands and shirts when the beautiful creatures land.
68th Annual Bay City St. Patrick’s Day Parade (March 19) Join thousands of spirited folks in the streets at this full-blown celebration of the Irish and the Irish-at-heart! Watch the all-things-Irish parade with pipe bands, marching bands, and floats — and have fun!
Partake in the historic Osterbrunnen tradition, and experience rich displays of spring flowers, colored Easter eggs, and pine-branch garland decorating trees, buildings, and fountains all throughout Frankenmuth. The Osterbrunnen custom is more than 200 years old, and continues today as a feast for the eyes and ode to joy and color!
Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour (April 14 - 15) Celebrate adventurous folk and the lure of the mountains while this traveling festival is in town! Witness coveted mountain films that showcase the spirit of people who live in, play in, and love mountainous areas. Experience high adventure and a passion for the outdoors through each inspiring film.
Saginaw on Stage Music Festival (April 15) Experience live music and top-notch local talent, with performers across three levels and nine separate stages throughout the historic Saginaw Club! With genres including bayou-folk-rock to electro-acoustic reggae-pop — and a cash bar available on all three floors — partake in a fabulous evening of entertainment!
Zehnder's Ragtime Festival (April 19 - 21) Celebrate the sounds of energetic and colorful Ragtime music! Enjoy the blending of African rhythms with European classical harmonies at multiple shows throughout this festival, from Lunch Concerts to Vaudeville Night, each with delicious menus served alongside your entertainment.
Bringin' Back the 80s Fest (April 21 - 22) Tease your hair high, peg your stonewashed jeans, and dance your way through reliving the 80s! Go wild at this outrageous festival with live cover “hair bands”, best-dressed contests, and the Retro Rec Room — an 80s dream of games like Nintendo, Atari, and Sega, and displays including a “totally rad” DeLorean.
Freeland Walleye Festival (April 27 - 30) With carnival rides all weekend, a large car show, casino, festive parade, bingo & cornhole, beer pong tournament — and a tent that blasts live tunes and serves cold beer — celebrate the 37th Annual Freeland Walleye Festival & Fishing Tournament with citywide garage sales, fireworks, a fish fry, and so much more!
Shipshewana on the Road (April 29 - 30) Shop with thousands of enthusiasts at this traveling show, and discover some of the most unique trinkets and treasures under the sun! Find interesting and creative clothing, gifts, goods, and foods — it’s all at Harvey Kern Pavilion in Frankenmuth for two days, and then it’s gone!
Cinco De Mayo Annual Parade & Festival (May 6) Celebrate the largest Hispanic parade in Michigan, and enjoy family-friendly festivities at outdoor Jolt Credit Union Event Park! Taste authentic patitos, carnitas, tamales, and more, and experience live entertainment, Hispanic dancing, and bounce houses and activities for kids!
With live music, craft beer, and activities for the whole family, taste your way through a lineup of 20 Michigan-based food trucks that are all notorious in these neighborhoods! The feast takes place each second Thursday, May - September, at Frankenmuth River Place Shops — and so do tap takeovers you won’t want to miss!
World Expo of Beer (May 19 - 20) With more than 350 beers from around the globe, the World Expo of Beer in Frankenmuth is Michigan's largest beer sampling event! Dance to live music and whet your whistle with selections from dozens of breweries, alongside local food vendors. Held rain or shine, shuttle buses are hopping all throughout this festival, and admission includes a free souvenir beer sampling mug!
The Great Lakes Market at From Buds to Blooms (May 20) Enjoy the “thrill of the hunt and discovery of new treasures” in “an organized maze of 12 x 12 experiences”! Tucked in a barn away from the elements, come rain or shine to enjoy local food trucks and live musicians as you shop jewelry, art, crafts, clothing, and flowers at this “part salvage hunt, part maker center, part culinary adventure”.
Friday FUN Nights (May 26 - September 1) Take part in festivities every Friday, late-May to September, as Main Street Frankenmuth comes alive with musicians and street performers! Discover local favorites and talent from around the state, and enjoy face painting, balloon twisting, magicians, and entertainment for all ages.
Balloons Over Bavarian Inn (May 26 - 29) Experience twice-daily shows, morning and night. See surreal sunrise flights, with more than 25 hot air balloons taking to the sky. Attend nightly Balloon Glows to witness a spectacular display — the balloons are held from fully ascending to hang like huge lanterns magically glowing in the sky!
Frankenmuth Dog Bowl (May 27 - 28) Attend a festival the whole family will love — four-legged family members, too! All breeds are welcome to attend and enjoy 29 fun dog events, with 22 your pet can participate in! Experience DockDogs® and Disc Dog Competitions, Weiner Dog Races, a Pet Parade, Best Costume Contest, and Pet Marketplace. Don’t miss the Annual Canine Cruise aboard the Bavarian Belle Riverboat!
Drift back into the Woodstock era during The Magic Bus Live and In Concert, or don your best cowboy boots and swing into the Country Spring Fling, both inside the Art Deco gem State Theatre of Bay City.
Experience the lavish Temple Theatre while you sway to the sounds of the Saginaw Choral Society in their season-ender, Broadway!, or stir your senses during a Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra performance of Beethoven's Immortal 5th.
Step into Legally Blonde - The Musical to experience a "fabulously fun and internationally award-winning" performance, or uncover the forgotten story of Mozart's sister in The Other Mozart at Midland Center for the Arts.
Rev up for an unforgettable show when the Toughest Monster Truck Tour rolls into The Dow Event Center this spring, or belly laugh to Jim Gaffigan's unique brand of humor on the Dark Pale Tour.
April 7, 2023 is Opening Day to catch a Great Lakes Loons Minor League Baseball game, and their season lasts well into the summer! Look for Thirsty Thursdays (half-off draft beer), Feast Fridays for $2 hot dogs, Sunday games where kids eat free and can run the bases, Marvel character appearances, and Star Wars-themed nights. Watch the game from one of 5,200 stadium seats or bring a blanket and cheer from the lawn!
Speaking of “Opening Day”, when can you stroll through local farmers markets to purchase armloads of produce, fresh-cut flowers, and baked goods? When will the animals at Saginaw Children’s Zoo and Wilderness Trails Zoo make their seasonal debuts? And when (please, soon!) can we officially board boat tours for the season? Spring right over to our full list of upcoming events in the Great Lakes Bay and see!
Whether you take in a ball game or a guided boat tour, hike new trails or taste fresh cocktails, discover the best of all that spring brings as you explore Pure Michigan's Great Lakes Bay Region!Read More +
With sunshine and fresh air beckoning, let this list of favorite outdoor attractions inspire your adventures in Pure Michigan's Great Lakes Bay Region this spring!Read More +
By: Jen W. O'Deay | Updates: Go Great Lakes Bay | Jen is a Saginaw native and owner of Feel These Words, an independent copywriting studio & home to the free "5 Day Website MiniBoost". Jen specializes in writing that connects, delivered through website copy, branded content articles, and WingWoman writing services. You'll find Jen camping with her family, laughing, and at feelthesewords.com