From Independence Day celebrations to food fests, art fairs, and music jamborees, there’s always something exciting happening under the summer sun. I’ve compiled this guide to the standout July festivals across Michigan that deserve a spot on your bucket list.
1. National Cherry Festival
Traverse City, the Cherry Capital of the World, throws one sweet party in honor of its famous crop. The National Cherry Festival has been a beloved summer tradition since 1925 with over 500,000 attendees flocking north for the cherry fun.
Festival highlights include an air show with historic planes and gravity-defying aerobatic performances, the Cherry Royale Parade winding through downtown, nightly music acts, a cherry pit spit competition, fireworks over West Bay, and helicopter rides.
Learn everything cherries while sampling pies, salsas, wines, and more cherry-infused treats. The illuminated Meijer Main Stage, carnival rides, craft show, and nightly beach parties round out over a week of family activities celebrating Traverse City’s signature fruit.
2. Michigan Brewer’s Guild Summer Beer Festival
For craft beer lovers, this two-day bash is paradise. Sampling unlimited pours from 140+ Michigan breweries, attendees get to discover new flavors and expand their beer horizons.
Set along the Huron River in Ypsilanti’s Riverside Park, the idyllic outdoor setting pairs perfectly with tasting flights of IPAs, stouts, pilsners, ciders and more. Live music, food trucks and bean bag tournaments make the Summer Beer Festival even more enjoyable.
Upgrade to the VIP Connoisseur session for early entry, specialty brews, free food and posh restrooms. This celebration of Michigan’s exceptional beer scene is a must-do for hop heads.
3. Ann Arbor Art Fair
Downtown Ann Arbor transforms into an outdoor art gallery during the Ann Arbor Art Fair, rated one of the top art festivals in the country. Over 1,000 artists set up displays across 15 city blocks to showcase painting, printmaking, drawing, fiber art, photography, jewelry, ceramics, and more.
The vibrant streets fill with vibrant art, live music and thankful shade from sunny tents. Artisans sell their work directly to attendees browsing the booths for that perfect addition to their collection.
Grab an art print, handmade souvenir or artisan crafted jewelry to remember your day. With incredible artistry around every corner, you’ll be inspired by the level of talent.
4. Detroit River Days – Michigan Festivals In July
Celebrate Detroit’s riverfront during this free summertime tradition chock full of family fun. Rock out to live music with Detroit skyline views. Let kids enjoy carnival rides, arts and crafts, touch tanks with aquatic creatures, zip lining over the river and tall ship tours.
Refuel with eats from local food trucks and beverage tents. The weekend concludes with a festive fireworks display over the Detroit River at dusk on Sunday night. Located in West Riverfront Park, it’s an easy way to soak up summer along Detroit’s revitalized waterfront district.
5. St. Joseph Blueberry Festival
Treat yourself to blueberry bliss at southwest Michigan’s annual Blueberry Festival by the scenic St. Joseph shoreline. Summer food offerings put the petite purple berry on display in pie eating contests, pancake breakfasts and barbeque cook-offs.
Beyond berries, this lakeside festival features carnival rides, a classic car cruise-in, sand sculpture contest, floats, live music and a Blueberry Parade winding through the charming Victorian downtown. Stay for the sparkling fireworks over Lake Michigan to top off your blueberry-filled day.
6. Marquette Fourth of July Celebration
Meerfest Marquette goes big for the Fourth of July with two days of family fun by the scenic Lower Harbor. Daytime activities include live music, children’s inflatables in the Kids Zone, pie eating and watermelon contests, and the Superior Triathlon.
Monday evening is the highlight with Ore Dock Brewery’s craft beer tasting, food vendors, and a free live music concert leading up to a spectacular fireworks show over Lake Superior just after dusk. Discover why Marquette’s Fourth of July celebration is consistently ranked among the best in the state!
7. Ionia Free Fair
Step back in time at the Ionia Free Fair, an old-fashioned county fair in its 101st year. Located between Grand Rapids and Lansing, the Ionia Free Fair offers carnival rides and games, harness racing, FFA livestock shows, demolition derby, tractor pulls, and nightly concerts included with admission.
Kids can meet superheroes, enjoy kiddie tractor pulls and join youth dances. Grab classic fair eats like corndogs and elephant ears, entering eating contests if you dare! With free parking and daily promotions, the Ionia Free Fair celebrates community with affordable summertime fun.
8. Detroit Zombie Walk
Prepare for the zombie apocalypse at Detroit’s annual Zombie Walk! Zombies of all ages descend on Historic Fort Wayne for a day of undead fun. Dress up in your most gruesome zombie ensemble or get zombified on-site with professional makeup artists and enjoy photo ops.
Take part in ghoulish contests like best dressed zombie and zombie shuffle races. Browse horror-themed craft vendors selling zombie goods or enjoy a zombie paint and sip.
Fuel up on brains and flesh from food trucks before lurching through downtown Detroit on an enormous zombie mob walk. It’s a spooktacular summertime activity for the whole family!
9. Up North Pride
Celebrate diversity and LGBTQ culture during Traverse City’s annual Up North Pride festival. Events include live music, drag performers, poetry and comedy at the main stage tent. The festive Pride Parade winds through downtown Traverse City with colorful floats and entertainment.
Kids find fun in the family zone with crafts and games. Shop the North Market showcasing LGBTQ artists and businesses. The weekend promotes visibility, equality and welcoming spirit across northern Michigan.
10. Michigan ElvisFest
Hunka hunka burnin’ love awaits in Ypsilanti as Elvis tribute artists and fans rock n’ roll at the largest Elvis festival in the Midwest. Watch incredible Elvis impersonator performances, enter lookalike contests, browse Elvis memorabilia vendors and dance along to The King’s hits.
The 3-day festival includes costume contests, an Elvis SuperCenter Museum, and Sunday morning gospel hour. For Elvis devotees, this celebration of the rock icon offers the chance to return to Graceland for a weekend.
11. National Baby Food Festival
Yes, you read that right – there’s an entire festival dedicated to baby food! Fremont, Michigan is the baby food capital of the world, home to Gerber Products Company. This wacky weekend celebrates all things baby and toddler.
Events include Baby Crawl races, stroller derby races, diaper derby obstacle course, and a Little Prince and Princess crowning. Kids can enjoy touch-a-truck with big vehicles, magician shows, superhero meet-and-greets, inflatables and other games. And adults can laugh their way through messy adult-sized baby food eating contests!
July brings sunshine, summer fun, and festivals galore across Michigan. From honoring America’s birthday with parades and fireworks to celebrating cherries, blueberries, and local beer, there’s always something to look forward to.
As cities and rural burgs plan special events with food, music, crafts and gatherings this July, consider adding a new festival or two to your road trip route. Wherever your interests lie, embracing the energy and community of July festivals across the state creates lasting summer memories.