1. Tulip Time Festival – Michigan Festivals In May
Holland’s Tulip Time Festival is one of the longest-running festivals in Michigan, celebrating its 94th year in 2023. This iconic event draws over 500,000 visitors each year to view the over 5 million tulips planted throughout downtown Holland. The festival kicks off with Dutch dances performed by locals dressed in traditional costumes. Be sure to catch one of these enthusiastic performances if you can. The city also hosts two large parades during Tulip Time – one with floats and marching bands, and a second with kids dressed as tulips riding bikes decorated with blooms. In addition to the beautiful flowers, Tulip Time offers carnival rides, Dutch food favorites like oliebollen (similar to donut holes), an arts and crafts fair with nearly 150 vendors, and musical entertainment. With so much going on, plan to spend a full day or two here. I’ve been to Tulip Time several times and it’s always a delight. Walking the streets surrounded by vibrant tulips really feels like you’ve been transported to the Netherlands for a day. Be sure to stop and smell the tulips!
2. Renaissance Festival
Step back in time to the 16th century at Michigan’s Renaissance Festival, transporting you to an English village celebrating the visit of King Henry VIII and his court.Actorsoffer comedic entertainment, music, and theater while you browse shops and artisan booths. A highlight is the Jousting Tournament, where knights on horseback compete in contests of skill with lances and swords. Enjoy a turkey leg as you cheer on your favorite knight! Costume contests allow guests to join in the fun by dressing up as lords, ladies, fairies, or peasants. Kids love getting their faces painted, watching shows at the Circus, and interacting with characters. This immersive experience brings history to life in a fun and engaging way for all ages. Open weekends plus Memorial Day and Labor Day from late May through June.
3. Detroit Electronic Music Festival
For over 20 years, the Detroit Electronic Music Festival has showcased local and international electronic music artists across multiple venues. Originating as a way to celebrate Detroit’s influential techno scene, this festival has grown into one of the world’s premier electronic music events. The main event takes place at Hart Plaza along the Detroit River with stages hosting continuous performances over three days and nights. Drawing impressive crowds of over 100,000 people, this energetic party under the sky never disappoints. Headliners at the 2023 DEMF include Carl Cox, Adam Beyer, and Nina Kraviz. In addition to the stages at Hart Plaza, DEMF takes over clubs and concert halls throughout the city for afterparties that go late into the night. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the history and future trajectory of techno music in the city where it all started.
4. National Morel Mushroom Festival
For three days in May, the tiny town of Boyne City becomes the mushroom capital of the world. This festival celebrates the elusive, delicious morel mushroom that begins popping up in Michigan forests in spring. Highlights include guided morel mushroom hunts, cooking demos focused on morels, a 5K run, live music, a beer tent, and plenty of food vendors serving dishes showcasing morels. Of course there’s also the National Morel Mushroom Cook-Off where contestants compete to make the tastiest morel dish. Beyond the food, the festival offers mushroom exhibits, art projects, and even a Miss Morel beauty pageant. Don’t miss the annual Morel Toss competition to see who can throw and catch the most morels without dropping them. This quirky small-town festival celebrates both edible mushrooms and Midwestern culture.
5. St. Mary’s Polish Country Fair
Experience Polish culture and cuisine at the annual St. Mary’s Polish Country Fair held on Memorial Day weekend. Taking place at St. Mary’s Preparatory high school campus, this 4-day festival draws large crowds eager to celebrate Polish heritage. Dig into classic Polish dishes like kielbasa, pierogi, stuffed cabbage rolls, potato pancakes, and paczki. Browse the outdoor marketplace with Polish pottery, clothing, and crafts. Enjoy live polka music as you stroll the carnival midway filled with kids’ activities and rides. Saturday night is the crowd-favorite Polish Fireworks Show set to music. Don’t miss the Ms. Paczki contest to crown the fairest Polish queen or the entertaining Big Mouth Contest involving stuffing large pastries into contestants’ mouths within 1 minute. Polish language masses, dance lessons, and a car show round out the celebration of culture.
6. Michigan Challenge Balloonfest
Look to the skies in Livingston County during May to catch rainbow-colored hot air balloons floating peacefully over the landscape. The Michigan Challenge Balloonfest brings together hot air balloon teams to compete and show off their incredible aircraft. Events kick off Friday evenings around 6 PM as balloons begin inflating and taking off over Thompson Lake. Saturdays and Sundays feature morning launches around sunrise and evening launches at sunset – prime viewing times. In between launches you can walk the field, chat with balloon pilots, appreciate arts & crafts vendors, and enjoy balloon glows and night launches on Saturday nights. This family-friendly festival has kids’ activities, live music, fireworks, and food trucks on site. Don’t miss the Balloon Night Glow when balloons light up and shine bright against the night sky. The vivid balloons, scenic setting, and laid-back atmosphere make this a must-do May event.
7. Michigan Fiber Festival
Textile lovers rejoice at the Michigan Fiber Festival attracting thousands of knitters, weavers, dyers, and other Michigan Fiber festivals 2023 artists. Watch demonstrations of spinning, weaving, and felting featuring alpacas or rabbits. Marvel at the dazzling colors on hand-dyed yarn and browse booths filled with finished knitwear, artisan tools, and craft supplies. In addition to shopping, the festival has fashion shows, classes for beginners and kids, an angora rabbit petting zoo, and fleece-to-shawl competitions. Want to learn a new skill? Sign up for workshops in subjects like embroidery, sock knitting, or using a drop spindle. Join in the lively marketplace of creativity celebrating natural fibers.
8. Midland Blooms Festival – Michigan Festivals In May
The Midland Blooms Festival is an annual 4-day event celebrating springtime in Midland. Flowering trees and lush gardens take center stage through home & garden tours, expert presentations, floral displays, and family-friendly activities. Get inspired by touring private gardens and green spaces around Midland, from small urban lots to sprawling estates. See elaborate floral designs and arrangements created by regional garden clubs and specialists at indoor flower shows. Learn tips for gardening, landscaping, floral design and more from knowledgeable speakers. Topics cover perennials, roses, herbs, gardening for pollinators and other relevant themes. With flowers blooming everywhere, Midland puts on a colorful display of community spirit each May. The Blooms Festival makes a great weekend getaway for gardeners or anyone looking to welcome spring. As you can see, Michigan offers an awesome variety of festivals happening in the merry month of May. From millions of spring flowers to hot air balloons dotting the sky, you’re sure to find a festival that fits your interests. I hope this list helps you discover a new annual tradition to look forward to each May. Enjoy exploring the diversity of entertainment, food, and culture showcased at these quintessential Michigan events.