$0 - Ann Arbor Art Fair
This enormous art fair is actually four smaller art fairs combined into one. It stretches for blocks from State to Main Streets, crawling down many side streets in between. Pick up ceramics, fine art, jewelry, furniture, and other handmade creations, and don't forget to try one of the city's award-winning restaurants while you're there. Don't want to eat inside? There are six outdoor food courts. Need some entertainment? Local acts perform on stages throughout the fair. Are your legs sore from all that walking? Ride a trolley around town all day for $1. Should we go on? The fair runs July 15-18.
$0 - Wyandotte Street Art Fair
Every year on the second weekend in July, the quaint city of Wyandotte hosts a street fair that spans the downtown. Down Biddle Avenue, from Eureka to Oak streets, vendors are lined up selling everything from fine art to funky stuffed animals, from flowers made from fish scales to flowery frocks. There's live music, an enormous drinking area, activities for kids, food, and a gorgeous view of the Detroit River. Best of all, a turn around the enormous fair is free — and so is the people watching. This year the fair runs from July 8-11.
$0 - Royal Oak Rib Fest
When did the barbecue revolution begin in Detroit? Was it when Phil Cooley opened Slow's? Or have small joints been serving up tons of delicious smoked meats for generations? We're not here to split hairs, just to enjoy all the amazing rib joints the metro area has to offer. Sample offerings from Chicken Shack, Old Carolina BBQ, Stonewood Smokehouse, Rub Pub BBQ, Dobo's Bayou Billy, Detroit BBQ, and more at Metro Times' inaugural Rib Fest. The event will also have beer, spirits, and cocktails, plus up to five pig races a day.
July 3-5; times vary; 316 E. 11 Mile Rd., Royal Oak; royaloakribfest.com.
$0 - Howell Melon Fest
Does anything sound more wholesome than a festival celebrating melon? Every year the city of Howell throws a big fete dedicated to the fruit and we can tell you from experience, it's pretty swell. There's a parade, a "melon run," live entertainment (kid-friendly and usually involving clowns), a baking contest, street vendors, food, and tons of melon. Melon ice cream, anyone? The festival takes place August 15-17.
925 W. Grand River Ave., Howell; 517-546-0693; howellmelonfestival.com
$0 - Charivari Fest
As the old jelly commercial goes, "with a name like ours, it has to be good." Named for arguably the first Detroit techno song, this fest celebrates its second iteration this year, which aims to present "the greatest assembly of the progenitors of electronic dance music." The free festival is changing locations and expanding in its second year. It's an enticing lineup, with Juan Atkins, DJ Godfather, Marissa Guzman, Sonic Natives, Twizz, Calico, Mike Scudder, Golf Clap, and much more.
Takes place at Belle Isle from Aug. 1-2. Runs from noon-10 p.m. Free.
$0 - Michigan Jazz Festival
While it lacks the city setting and the international prestige of the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Michigan Jazz Festival actually features musicians from Detroit and southeast Michigan. Whether you want straight ahead, hard bop, cool, or even the red-hot beauty of traditional jazz, the Michigan Jazz Festival has got you covered. The Paul Keller Orchestra, Bill Meyer, Jeff Trudell Quartet, Dave Tatrow, Johnny Trudell Big Band, and the Rodney Whitaker Quintet will all be there. But we at Metro Times think the coolest aspect of the festival is its commitment to showcasing up-and-coming jazz musicians-students of our most American of art forms — like the Saginaw Area Youth Jazz Ensemble, Oakland University Jazz Combo, and the Southeastern Music Academy.
July 19; From noon to 9 p.m.; Schoolcraft College, 18600 Haggerty Rd., Livonia; 734-462-4403; michiganjazzfestival.org
$0 - Detroit Jazz Festival
This year's 36th jazz fest finds a special "homecoming series," highlighting Detroit natives, plus a special grouping of student bands that is sure to be sweet. And if you like the seminal jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, you'll be in heaven, as he's playing at least four times, including an acoustic duo with Ron Carter. We're also excited about the Dave Douglas Quintet, Arturo Sandoval, a tribute to Roland Kirk, Oliver Lakes Organ Quartet, and above all Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra led by Carla Bley.
Sept. 4-7; various locations; detroitjazzfest.com
$0 - Dally in the Alley
A staple of Detroit's Cass Corridor, the annual Dally in the Alley daylong festival always brings out a substantial crowd looking to enjoy a wide-ranging cast of bands, vendors, and food. It's surely grown since the dally's inaugural years, but there are a number of reasons to make inroads to Midtown when the day comes. The festival's organizers, the North Cass Community Union, curates an excellent set of bands from Detroit each year, and some of the city's best restaurants sling excellent summer fare on what typically is a beautiful day (if there happens to be rain, fear not, a makeup day is always scheduled.)
Forest Avenue between Second and Third Streets in Detroit; dallyinthealley.com
$0 - Concert of Colors
Detroit's annual celebration of diversity has delivered more than 20 years of eclectic programming, and and this year the trend continues. Booked acts this year includes poetry reading from Sahar Mustafah, Diane DeCillis, Saladin Ahmed, and Whitney Syphax Walker; the Corktown Popes; the Infatuations; Tilted Axes; and the 8th Don Was Detroit All-Star Revue, a tribute to the influential radio DJ Electrifying Mojo featuring performances by Juan Atkins, Amp Fiddler, Amino Acids, Dead Pool + Moon Band, and more. Various events are scheduled from Saturday, July 4 and July 9-12; see the Concert of Colors' website for the full schedule.
Various venues throughout Detroit; 313-582-2266; concertofcolors.com
$0 - Pig & Whiskey
This yearly fete celebrating bacon, bourbon, barbecue, and beer brings together national whiskey brands, craft distillers, and local smokers for a weeklong festival that's as delicious as it is fun. Detroit BBQ, Rub Pub, Clarkston Union, Zeke's, and more will be present along with whiskey and bourbon brands like Jack Daniel's, Woodford Reserve, Elijah Craig, and many more. Music is also a big component and local acts take the stage throughout the three-day event. Still not even for you? There will also be local vendors to shop while downing smoked meat and slamming spirits.
July 17-19; downtown Ferndale; pigandwhiskeyferndale.com
$0 - Sidewalk Festival
Now in its third year, this event transforms courtyards, storefronts, gardens, and yes, sidewalks into art spaces along Detroit's Redford and Brightmoor neighborhoods. As in previous years, look out for a variety of artists, theatrical performances, music, food, games, vendors, and more. Presently booked for the Saturday, Aug. 1 event are acts like opera singer Kisma Jordan, soul singer Britney Stoney, a jazz showcase with Marcus Elliot Quartet and James Cornish, and more.
From 3 p.m. to 9 p.m; 17340 Lahser Rd., Detroit; sidewalkdetroit.com
$3 - Arts Beats and Eats
This huge outdoor festival is arguably considered the end all be all of summer festivals in metro Detroit. It takes up just about every square inch of South Washington from one end of downtown Royal Oak to the other. The arts portion includes local vendors who specialize in everything from jewelry to photography to mixed media pieces, the beats cover local, regional, and national acts — MC Hammer has even taken the stage once — and the eats come from celebrated local restaurants. It all takes place the first weekend in September.
Downtown Royal Oak; artsbeatseats.com
$3 - Summer Magic Festival
Soak up the sun and the warm weather of late June at Summer Magic Festival. The newly minted event will feature local vendors, a carnival midway, a center for kids activities, beer and spirits, and tons of Greek, Mexican, Polish, and other ethnic foods. Of course, the roster of live musical acts is probably the festival's biggest attraction. Catch Stephen Pearcy of RATT, Jack Russell's Great White, Stonebreed, Gilby Clarke, and the Ultimate Johnny Cash Tribute. The festival runs June 25-28, hours vary.
Downtown Mount Clemens; summermagicfestival.com
$10 - BFF Fest
The second annual BFF (best friends forever) fest will be held at MOCAD, put on by the Seraphine Collective, an inclusive group of female musicians and artists that emphasize feminism and progressive gender equality in Detroit's art scene. The fest will include a performance from indie slackers Bonnie Doon as well as Cheerleader, Bonehead, Breeders co-founder Kelley Deal's new band R. Ring, and many more. One dollar out of every ticket will be donated to Alternatives for Girls, a Detroit humanitarian organization that helps homeless and high-risk girls and young women avoid violence, teen pregnancy, and exploitation.
July 25 from 2 p.m.-midnight at MOCAD; 4454 Woodward Ave, Detroit; mocadetroit.org; 313-832-6622; all ages
$10 - Cheeseburger Festival
So the idea of a festival that lasts nearly two weeks in honor of a song Jimmy Buffett wrote about cheeseburgers sounds absurd. We get it. But the annual cheeseburger romp is one hell of a time. Weirdo civilians cut loose and shake their tails to several Buffett tribute bands. (No joke, the fest's organizers always book a handful of tribute bands that all play the same songs.) There are plenty of burger options, along with some black bean patties, and, we can't stress this enough: Cheeseburger rocks. Chances are the main campsite has been booked up already, but you can still find room at nearby state parks or hotels. If you're a Michigan resident, and you've never experienced this, it's time. Caseville is a cheery resort town, and the fest only gives you more reason to check it out.
Downtown Caseville; cheeseburgerincasevillefest.com
$20 - HORDE Festival
Blues Traveler, 311, and Big Head Todd and the Monsters are restoring the HORDE Festival for a single show, the first since it fizzled out back in 1998. HORDE (or Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere) debuted in 1992 and continued a six-year run with the likes of 1990s heavyweights such as Lenny Kravitz, Phish, and the Spin Doctors. Headliners Blues Traveler released their new album Blow Up the Moon in April, a collaborative album including members from Sublime, Plain White T's, and Bowling for Soup.
July 9; 4 p.m.; DTE Energy Music Theatre, 7774 Sashabaw Rd., Clarkston
$70 - Mo Pop
Mo Pop has a new home. Until this year, the music festival was held in the 'burbs, but 2015 will see the two-day event take over Detroit's West Riverfront Park. Modest Mouse, Passion Pit, Chromeo, Saint Motel, Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas, and George Morris and the Gypsy Chorus will all perform. Other components will include an artists' village, a biergarten, a food truck rally, and even a tech area where technology being created by locals will be exhibited.
July 25-26; 1801 W. Jefferson Ave., Detroit; mopopfestival.com
$0 - The Yale Bologna Festival
Every July, out in the northern reaches of St. Clair County, the city of Yale hosts one of the craziest amalgamations of family-friendly, wacky entertainment in the state. And the inspiration for it is the city's bologna factory, run for decades by the Roy family, a major employer in town. But the high jinks inspired in the name of bologna are what draw crowds to Yale at festival time: art shows, auctions, derbies, sidewalk sales, clowns, fireworks, hula-hooping, a bologna baby contest, eating competitions, a bike parade, a bologna ring toss, outhouse races, a pet parade, squirt gun battles, a goofy golf cart parade, cardboard boat races, a duck race, tours of the bologna factory, and the crowning of the festival's bologna king and bologna queen. Every year, the shindig attracts 20,000 revelers. Now that's some serious bologna!
July 23-26; yalechamber.com