- Douglas Wojciechowski
- May’s Movement Music Festival celebrates all things techno in the genre’s birthplace.
Winter Blast Weekend
2020 TBA; Detroit; winterblast.com
Originally devised as a backdrop to help populate downtown Detroit during Super Bowl XL in 2005, the Winter Blast has now grown into a strong annual tradition featuring live music, a snow slide, and all the s'mores you can shake a stick at. Last year, the Winter Blast was made free and expanded to four weekends of wintry fun.
Ann Arbor Folk Festival
Jan. 31-Feb. 1; Ann Arbor; theark.com
Folk yeah! For 43 years the Ann Arbor Folk Festival has showcased some of the most influential folk acts of our time, while at the same time shining a spotlight on up-and-coming strummers. In 2019, festival was headlined by baroque folk royalty Rufus Wainwright and recent Grammy winner Brandi Carlile.
The Dirty Show
2020 TBA; Detroit; dirtydetroit.com
The Dirty Show is celebrating its 21st iteration in 2020. Art impresario Jerry Vile's international erotic art show features burlesque performances, the Cinerotic Film Festival, and a bevy of titillating paintings, photos, sculptures, and other odes to erotica.
Cupid's Undie Run
2020 TBA; Detroit; cupids.org
The only time of year that running around in your underwear won't get you arrested. The Cupid Undie Run is both a charitable event and a cheeky one.
Hamtramck Music Fest
2020 TBA; Hamtramck; hamtramckmusicfest.com
Dozens of Detroit-area bands, DJs, and solo artists take over Hamtramck's bars and nightclubs for a three-day showcase that's likely the largest local music festival in Michigan.
Motor City Tattoo Expo
2020 TBA; Detroit; themotorcitytattooexpo.com
Got ink? The Motor City Tattoo Expo is not your typical gun show. This event draws tattoo aficionados from all over, featuring seminars, vendors, live music, and, yeah — tattoos.
2020 TBA; Detroit; autorama.com
Since 1952, the grit, grease, and muscle of Autorama has been known as America's greatest hot rod show. The event offers a glimpse at custom rides, celebrity guests, car tips, demonstrations, rockbilly, and pinup girls.
St. Patrick's Day Parade
2020 TBA; Detroit; detroitstpatricksparade.com
We're seeing green! Corktown's long-standing annual celebration of its Irish heritage continues with a parade, traditional music, beer, and shamrocks galore.
Marche du Nain Rouge
March 24 from noon to 3 p.m.; Detroit; marchedunainrouge.com
It's only fitting that a city as unique as Detroit would host such a devilish event. Though a relatively new tradition, the Marche du Nain Rouge is a Mardis Gras-style fête where the city rallies together to banish the dreaded "Red Dwarf" of local lore. (If you want to defend the misunderstood imp, you're welcome too.)
Ann Arbor Film Festival
March 26-31; Ann Arbor; aafilmfest.org
Calling all cinephiles! Now in its 57th year, the Ann Arbor Film Fest is the must-see event for lovers of independent and experimental film.
- Michael Charter
- April’s Hash Bash in Ann Arbor does not involve corned beef.
Detroit Tigers Opening Day
April 4; Downtown Detroit; mlb.com/tigers/ballpark
If you've never been to Detroit during the Tigers' first home game of the season, you probably don't understand what the big deal is. Head to the city and you'll encounter swarms of metro Detroiters drunkenly partying in bars, under tents, or in the streets. Oh, and there's baseball.
Ann Arbor Hash Bash
April 6 at high noon; Ann Arbor; hashbash.com
Celebrate weed's newfound legality in Michigan with the 48th Ann Arbor Hash Bash. Held each year on the first Saturday of April, the Ann Arbor Hash Bash is a toking good time. The herbal celebration preempts 4/20 festivities with this annual blowout of all things marijuana-related.
FoolMoon and FestiFools
April 5 and 7; Ann Arbor; wonderfoolproductions.org
On FoolMoon, the streets of Ann Arbor are invaded with illuminated costumes and contraptions. On the sister event FestiFools, a "flash mob" army of papier-mache puppets takes to the streets for one kooky celebration.
April–December; Ontario, Canada; stratfordfestival.ca
OK, so it's not in Michigan but thanks to our neighbors to the North-ish for putting on dozens of plays each year with an emphasis on Shakespeare. The Stratford Festival is North America's largest repertory theater company.
Cinetopia International Film Festival
May 10-19; Ann Arbor, Detroit; cinetopiafestival.org
Cinetopia honors the rich heritage of cinematic culture and Michigan's proud legacy of outstanding cinema artists through special film events, panels, and presentations.
Motor City Comic Con
May 17-19; Novi; motorcitycomiccon.com
Comic geeks unite — metro Detroit's largest comic book and pop culture event returns. The event boasts celebrity guests, and offers attendees an opportunity to participate in several nerdy events, including showing off their costume skills in a cosplay contest, or finding their "player 2" through Geek Speed Dating.
East Lansing Art Festival
May 18-19; East Lansing; elartfest.com
It's an art thing, baby. Since its inception in 1964, the East Lansing Art Festival has morphed into a community undertaking that offers hundreds of artists, performers, and craftspeople the chance to show off their work to thousands of art-hungry visitors.
Movement Music Festival
May 25-27; Detroit; movement.us
It's all the rave! Lovingly referred to by electronic music fans as "Techno Christmas," the annual Movement Electronic Music Festival draws fans and DJs from all over the world. Considering that Detroit is the undisputed capital of techno, there's only one place you should be Memorial Day weekend. Previous years' headliners include Carl Craig, Kevin Saunderson, Claude VonStroke, the Wu-Tang Clan, and deadmau5's techno alter ego, Testpilot.
Detroit Music Awards
2019 TBA; Detroit; detroitmusicawards.net
Celebrating the finest acts and artists from metro Detroit — of which there are plenty — is the annual Detroit Music Awards. From blues and jazz to garage rock and folk, the Detroit Music Awards recognizes local trailblazers and music makers with a soiree worth dressing up for.
June 1; Ferndale; ferndalepride.com
Hoist up those rainbow flags, Ferndale Pride is taking over. The event is the annual celebration of our local gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex communities.
2019 TBA; Clarkston; wycd.cbslocal.com
Hey, y'all. Brush off your cowboy boots and brush up on your two-step; the annual Hoedown returns. Full of country-fied entertainment and vendors galore, the Hoedown ropes in thousands of country music fans.
Motor City Pride
June 8-9; Detroit; motorcitypride.org
Let your pride flag fly! As Michigan's largest pride event, Motor City Pride turns up with an average of 40,000 participants to celebrate the LGBTQ community with a blowout like no other.
The Art of Fire Festival
June 8-9; Royal Oak; artoffirero.com
Are you ready to kick some serious glass?! What's a more metal way to celebrate the many artistic creations forged from fire than a fire festival? The annual Art of Fire Festival features over 100 artists working in clay, glass, and metal, and hosts live glass blowing, metal working, and workshops.
Ann Arbor Summer Festival
2019 TBA; Ann Arbor; a2sf.org
Ann Arbor's massive festival practically takes up all summer with 22 nights and more than 175 events, featuring music, art, film, and more.
June 27-30; Rothbury; electricforestfestival.com
Once again, a psychedelic neon hippie commune is erected in rural Michigan featuring electronic music, jam bands, and a literal electrified forest for all of your tripping needs.
- Courtesy of Electric Forest
- Electric Forest.
Summer Solstice Jazz Fest
June 21-22; East Lansing; eljazzfest.com
Returning for its 23rd year, the Summer Solstice Jazz fest features hours of top-notch jazz performances and includes youth and community education programming.
GM River Days
2019 TBA; Detroit; riverdays.com
The Detroit riverfront comes alive with music, special events, food, and plenty of activities for the kids. It's also a great way to see how the city's RiverWalk has transformed the waterfront over the last 15 years.
June 24; Detroit; theparade.org/ford-fireworks
Each year, the Fourth of July gets an early introduction with a bang — lots of them. The big blowout takes place just ahead of the holiday along Detroit's scenic riverfront. Leading up the showdown in the sky, a festival takes up the boardwalk with a carnival, music, and other special events.
July 19-20; Ypsilanti; mielvisfest.org
If you can't help falling in love with "The King," Elvisfest is for you. Celebrate the hunk of burnin' love with some of the country's best Elvis impersonators.
Wyandotte Street Art Fair
July 10-13; Wyandotte; wyandotte.net
It's all going down — Downriver that is. The 58th annual walkable art-filled event annually enlivens the heart of Wyandotte, offering live music, greasy street fair-style food, and, of course, unique hand-crafted artwork from local vendors.
Pig and Whiskey
July 19-21; Ferndale; pigandwhiskeyferndale.com
Name a more iconic duo. Go ahead, we'll wait. Pig and Whiskey offers up some of the area's best barbecue joints paired with whiskey, beer, and a music lineup that is sure to keep you roasted.
Motor City Steam Con
2019 TBA; Romulus; motorcitysteamcon.com
Put a clock on it. This con serves up the ultimate steampunk experience.
Concert of Colors
2019 TBA; Detroit; concertofcolors.com
A cultural kaleidoscope, Detroit's annual diversity festival enters its 26th year and features world music, ethnic cuisine, and more.
Ann Arbor Art Fair
July 18-21; Ann Arbor; theannartfair.org
Stroll the streets of downtown Ann Arbor to browse a dizzying display of contemporary fine arts and crafts in one of the country's top-ranked art fairs.
Michigan Summer Beer Festival
July 26-27; Ypsilanti; mibeer.com
Crack a cold one. (In fact, grab us one.) Escape the summer heat with a celebration Michigan's best local brews.
Mo Pop Festival
July 27-28; Detroit; mopopfestival.com
Started in 2013 and hosted at West Riverfront Park, Mo Pop spoils Detroiters with a little bit of everything. Last year's eclectic lineup included hip-hop artist Vince Staples, Grammy winning indie rock star St. Vincent, rising pop star Billie Eilish, and punk musician Jeff Rosenstock. Though still relatively new, Mo Pop has cemented its place as a must-attend local event.
2019 TBA; Holly; michrenfest.com
Huzzah! Rejoice as medieval worlds once again clash with fantasy realms for the ultimate throwback reverie. Costumes, jousting, and turkey drumsticks shall be plentiful.
The Woodward Dream Cruise
2019 TBA; various; woodwarddreamcruise.com
The best damn traffic jam, the Woodward Dream Cruise combines classic cars and the cruisers that love them at this annual parade down metro Detroit's main drag.
Aug. 22-25; Detroit; detroitboatraces.com
More than 100 years strong, the APBA Gold Cup is the oldest active motorsports trophy, featuring high-speed hydroplanes on the Detroit River.
Michigan State Fair
Aug. 29-Sept. 2; Novi; michiganstatefairllc.com
Nothing can stop the 160-year-old family-friendly state tradition. The Michigan State Fair may have been canceled in 2012, but it immediately rose from the dead with all the family-friendly fun you've come to expect.
Detroit International Jazz Festival
Aug. 30-Sept. 2; Detroit; detroitjazzfest.org
Spanning several city blocks downtown, Detroit's International Jazz Festival honors the art form with an incredible lineup, fireworks, jam sessions, and more.
Arts, Beats & Eats
Aug. 30-Sept. 2; Royal Oak; artsbeatseats.com
Good things come in threes. Such is true of the Arts, Beats & Eats festival. Local artists, acclaimed national music acts from past and present, and some of metro Detroit's best restaurants come together for a tasty experience.
- Photo by Len Katz
- Detroit International Jazz Festival.
Dally in the Alley
Sept. 7; Detroit; dallyinthealley.com
Celebrate the spirit of the Cass Corridor as a historic block is cordoned off to make way for multiple stages, vendors, artists, and libations. The event is a Detroit staple, running strong for more than 40 years.
Hamtramck Labor Day Festival
Aug. 31-Sept. 2; Hamtramck; hamtownfest.com
For four decades, Hamtramck has put on a weekend-long Labor Day festival boasting local acts across all genres.
Art & Apples Festival
Sept. 6-8; Rochester; pccart.org
The city of Rochester transforms the 30-acre Rochester Park into one of the nation's top fine-art fairs with over 290 exhibiting artists from across the country.
Murals in the Market
2019 TBA; Eastern Market, Detroit; muralsinthemarket.com
Each year, Detroit's Eastern Market district gets redecorated with a fresh coat of paint thanks to muralists from Detroit and beyond, who are tasked with creating new artwork during the annual Murals in the Market festival held in September. You can drive or walk through the streets of Eastern Market to take in the sights yourself — making the market a feast for the eyes as well.
DIY Street Fair
Sept. 20-22; Ferndale; ferndalediy.com
You can do it yourself without doing it alone thanks to the DIY Street Fair in Ferndale with live music, food, and vendor booths hawking all manner of art.
Funky Ferndale Art Fair
Sept. 20-22; Ferndale; funkyferndaleartfair.com
Keep it funky and head to everyone's favorite Ferndale stretch of fun when Nine Mile Road becomes center stage for metro Detroit's eclectic art scene.
2019 TBA; Detroit; theatrebizarre.com
The freaks come out at night — well, technically they come out for two weekends every October as the Masonic Temple is transformed into a wicked wonderland, and the "Greatest Masquerade on Earth" commences just in time for All Hallows' Eve.
Detroit Fall Beer Festival
Oct. 25-26; Detroit; mibeer.com/detroit-fall-festival
Head over to Eastern Market to sample the finest craft brews the Great Lakes State has to offer. The event boasts more than 800 craft beers from nearly 120 Michigan-based breweries, tasty food from several Detroit area restaurants, and live music from local musicians.
Oct. 31-Nov. 4; Detroit; youmacon.com
Metro Detroit's annual anime convention seems to grow every year, featuring guest speakers, cosplay costume contests, concerts, live gaming, live art, dealers, vendors, and even such "live-action gaming" versions of Mario Party and Donkey Kong.
America's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Nov. 28; Detroit; theparade.org
Detroit is home to one of the country's largest and most spectacular parades, America's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which lures hundreds of thousands of spectators along historic Woodward Avenue to take in the larger-than-life sights.
Detroit Urban Craft Fair
2019 TBA; Detroit; detroiturbancraftfair.com
This well-established craft fair is absolutely enormous and, arguably, the best of the bunch based on its sheer size. It usually takes place at Detroit's Masonic Temple for two days in early December.
2019 TBA; Detroit; noelnight.org
All is calm, all is bright. Welcome to Midtown Detroit's beloved Noel Night, a cherished tradition of more than 40 years. You can catch carolers, ice sculptors, horse-drawn carriages, and more, all while making your list (and checking it twice) because, yes, the shopping is out of this world.
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