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I was driving through my neighborhood when I saw it. More reliable than the robin, more trustworthy than the tulips, the orange glow of traffic cones is the sure sign of summer in Michigan. All over the state, crews are shoveling steaming asphalt into gaping potholes, closing off lanes of traffic and painting fresh lane lines.
Construction-induced traffic jams can put an unexpected damper on plans to escape to the beach or Northern Michigan. But don’t fret, because there is plenty of warm weather fun to be had right here in Greater Lansing. Summer is a glorious time in mid-Michigan. Patios are packed from Grand Ledge to Williamston, and you can drive through East Lansing without roaming herds of oblivious MSU students wandering into the road in front of you. Almost every weekend there’s a festival, car show or outdoor concert to check out.
We’re here to help you squeeze every bit of fun out of the summer with our Summer Events Guide and our Summer Theatre Guide. Save this section and use it all summer to find all the sun-soaked fun you can stand.JUNE
JUNE 3 | BE A TOURIST IN YOUR OWN TOWN The Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau offers locals a chance to discover hidden gems or check out that museum they’ve always meant to go to. A $1 passport gives participants access to over 90 local attractions, including Potter Park Zoo and Impression 5 Center. Participating locations will stamp passports, and participants who collect enough stamps are eligible for prizes. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $1. See website for participating locations throughout Greater Lansing. (517) 487-2800, lansing.org/ batyot.JUNE 3-4 | RIVERBANK TRADITIONAL POW WOW Lansing’s celebration of Native American culture, the Riverbank Traditional Pow Wow, returns this summer for its 15th annual event. The three-day event features traditional drumming, singing, dancing and art, as well as food vendors. Educational activities offer visitors a chance to learn more about Native American medicines or listen to a traditional storyteller. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chair. See the website for schedule. FREE. Adado Riverfront Park, 201 E. Shiawassee St., Lansing. (517) 721-1502 nativeamericanacc.org.
JUNE 15 | BRIDGE FEST Local young professional networking group Lansing 5:01 kicks off a series of summer activities with a free outdoor concert on the Grand River. Located near the Lansing City Market, Bridge Fest features headliner the Accidentals, as well as local groups Young Pioneer and Tangelo. Other attractions include interactive booths hosted by Greater Lansing art galleries, sports clubs, nonprofit groups and more. Food and beverages are provided by vendors like Clint’s Hotdog Cart, Pie Hole Pizza Truck and Blue Owl Coffee, and Ozone’s Brewhouse offers a beer tent for the 21kknd crowd. 5:30-10:30 p.m. FREE. Lansing City Market, 325 City Market Drive, Lansing. (517) 884-1313, lansing501.com.
JUNE 15-17 | LANSING JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION While Juneteenth has been an official Michigan holiday for 12 years, its roots in the Lansing community date back to 1993. The annual festival, which celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S., started as a small church gathering but has grown into a weeklong celebration of African American culture, including live music and dance, children’s activities and a baseball game commemorating the Negro League. See the website for schedule and locations. FREE. (517) 394- 6900, lansingjuneteenthcelebration.org.
JUNE 16-17 | MICHIGAN PRIDE MARCH, RALLY AND FESTIVAL Michigan Pride holds its 28th annual celebration of the spectrum. The two-day event kicks off on Friday with the White Party, where all attendees are encouraged to dress in white to show their solidarity to the LGBTQ community. After the white-out, they bring color to the streets Saturday with the Pride Parade, a rally at the Capitol steps, live music from Starfarm, and a variety of vendors and exhibitors. See website for prices and schedule. Old Town. michiganpride.org.
JUNE 17 | LANSING BEER FEST Many of Michigan’s best loved breweries, wineries and cideries take over the streets of REO Town again this summer for the Lansing Beer Fest. In addition to the over 100 beers, wines and ciders available to sample, the festival offers food vendors and live music. See website for prices and schedule. 4-9 p.m. REO Town. (517) 331- 0528, lansingbeerfest.com.
JUNE 17 | OLDSMOBILE HOMECOMING CAR SHOW & SWAP MEET The local chapter of the Oldsmobile Club of America celebrates Lansing’s automotive history with the world’s largest all-Oldsmobile car show. This year’s gathering will celebrate the 50th anniversary of all 1967 Oldsmobiles and will give attendees a chance to check out a Curved Dash Oldsmobile, the first mass-produced American automobile. The event is free to attend; registration fees required to show or sell cars. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. FREE. Auto Owners Insurance, 6101 Anacapri Blvd., Lansing. (517) 645-7438, reolds.org.
JUNE 22-24 | CHARLOTTE BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL Bluegrass pickers and fans from all over descend on Charlotte for the city’s 45th annual Appalachian extravaganza. The three-day event features national and local musical acts, as well as plenty of old fashioned parking lot picking sessions. See the website for schedule and prices. Eaton County Fairgrounds, 1025 S. Cochran Ave., Charlotte. (269) 832- 5519, charlottebluegrassfestival.com.
JUNE 23-24 | SUMMER SOLSTICE JAZZ FESTIVAL East Lansing’s Summer Solstice Jazz Festival will raise its already considerable game with internationally acclaimed artists such as Latin-jazz violinist Maureen Choi, vocalists Twyla Birdsong and Ramona Collins, young Detroit R&B sensations Laura Rain and the Caesars, the Latin jazz ensemble Orquesta Ritmo and Rodney Whitaker’s own straight-ahead quintet. The usual cornucopia of top mid-Michigan talent and MSU professors and students will also turn out in force to play the stages around downtown East Lansing. 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday; noon- 1 a.m. Saturday. FREE. Downtown East Lansing. (517) 319-6980, eljazzfest.com.
JUNE 23-24 | FESTIVAL OF THE MOON & FESTIVAL OF THE SUN Old Town celebrates both the shortest night and longest day of the year with a two-day party featuring live music, food, wine and craft beer. Attendees must be 21 or older. Early VIP entry is available, see the website for details. 6-11 p.m. Friday; 3 p.m.-11 p.m. Saturday. See the website for prices. (517) 485-4283, iloveoldtown.org.
JULY 6-9 | COMMON GROUND MUSIC FESTIVAL Headliners Big Sean (July 9), Shinedown (July 8) Toby Keith (July 7) and Alessia Cara (July 6) take the stage for this year’s Common Ground Music Festival. Lansing’s largest music festival, Common Ground features a wide variety of national and local acts, as well as activities such as the world’s longest and tallest mobile zipline and a hammocking area. Single day and full-festival passes are available; see website for prices and schedule. Adado Riverfront Park, 201 E. Shiawassee St., Lansing. (517) 267-1502, commongroundfest.com.
JULY 14-15 OLD TOWN SCRAPFEST Teams of artists compete to turn one man’s trash into another man’s treasure at Old Town’s annual ScrapFest event. Up to 20 teams of artists have one hour to collect up to 500 pounds of scrap metal, then they have two weeks to fashion the metal into sculptures that will be unveiled at the festival. The two-day event also features live music, educational activities and a beer tent. See website for schedule. FREE. Old Town Lansing. (517) 485-4283, oldtownscrapfest.org.
JULY 29 | CAR CAPITAL AUTO & BIKE SHOW Hundreds of classic cars and motorcycles from multiple decades flood the streets of downtown Lansing for the Car Capital Auto Show. Vehicles compete for prizes in 68 categories, and all proceeds from the event benefit the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum. The event is free for spectators; registration fees are required for those wishing to show off their cars or bikes. Michigan State Capital,100 N. Capitol Ave., Lansing. (517) 372-0529, carcapitalautoshow.com
AUG. 4-5 | LANSING JAZZFEST Old Town streets will be filled with the sounds of jazz once again this August for the 23rd annual JazzFest. Unwind to music from both local musicians and national acts while enjoying food from different vendors, a beverage tent, children’s activities and River Boat rides. Lineup and schedule to be announced. FREE. 1210 Turner St., Lansing. (517) 371- 4600, jazzlansing.com.
AUG. 5 | ISLAND ART FAIR For 43 years, the Island Art Fair has been selling and displaying art by the waterfront near downtown Grand Ledge. Attendees can purchase art by vendors from all over the state, check out live music or snack on hot dogs and ice cream. 120 S. Bridge St., Grand Ledge. FREE. (517) 627-9843, ledgecraftlane.com.AUG. 11-13 | GREAT LAKES FOLK FESTIVAL The MSU Museum and the city of East Lansing celebrate tradition and community with the Great Lakes Folk Festival. Festival goers can learn about cultures from all over the world with storytelling, demonstrations of traditional arts, foods and dancing. Children’s activities are also available. Lineup and schedule to be announced. FREE, donations accepted. Downtown East Lansing. (517) 432- 4533, greatlakesfolkfest.net.
AUG. 12 | PHIL DENNY’S ARMORY SMOOTH JAZZ FETE Local smooth jazz saxophonist Phil Denny pulls in a roster of international jazz and R&B musicians for the first-ever Armory Smooth Jazz Fete. The all-day, 21kknd outdoor festival also features food, beer, wine and more. VIP admission includes guaranteed seating, a complimentary wine glass and other perks. Noon-9 p.m. $35/$55 VIP. The Armory, 330 Marshall St., Lansing. smoothjazzfete.com.
AUG. 19 | ARTFEAST Art and food collide at ArtFeast, timed to complement the Renegade Theatre Festival. This event combines an art fair with a sidewalk sale and a food truck rally. 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Old Town, Lansing. (517) 485- 4283, iloveoldtown.org.
AUG. 23 | OLD US 27 MOTOR TOUR Hundreds of classic cars cruise through Dewitt on their tour from Coldwater to Cheboygan on the historic Old US 27 highway. Motorists interested in joining the tour can find details on the website. 6-9.pm. FREE. Downtown DeWitt. old- 27tour.com.
AUG. 25-27 | SUN DRIED MUSIC FEST The weekend-long festival features two stages of live entertainment, as well as beer and wine tents for the 21kknd crowd to partake in. Children can participate in special activities and teens can get their groove on at their own Friday night dance with a DJ. See website for schedule and prices. Downtown Mason. sundriedfestival.com.
SEPT. 15-16 | MICHIGAN BLUESFEST For over 20 years, the Michigan Blues- Fest, formerly known as the Old Town BluesFest has been entertaining the Lansing area with local and nationally known blues musicians, and this year is no different. The festival is family friendly with kid’s activities, but also caters to the 21kknd crowd with a beer and wine lounge. This year’s lineup and schedule to be announced. FREE. Old Town, Lansing. (517) 371-4600, oldtownbluesfest.com.