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Northern Michigan festivals primed for summer return with covid adjustments in place

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Michigan DNR
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Many tourism officials Up North expect summer 2021 to be a huge tourism season. With Covid immunity increasing, festivals that were cancelled last year are making a comeback.

All the following festival events and dates are subject to change. Please consult the websites linked for more information and current updates.

National Morel Mushroom Festival

May 14  - 16, Boyne City

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Credit Michigan Radio

  • Avid mushroom hunters and eager first-timers are all welcome at the 61st National Morel Mushroom Festival in Boyne City. To help decrease health & safety risks, organizers cancelled certain events like The Competitive Hunt and The Taste of Morels cooking competition. But there’s still other events, including a craft fair all weekend long and maps to help you find your way through your own hunt.

Frankenmuth Dog Bowl

May 28 - 31, Frankenmuth

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Credit Frankenmuth River Place Shops

  • Furry friends are not only welcome, but encouraged at this annual “olympic style” celebration of dogs. This festival features many different competitions, including wiener dog races, sheep herding demonstrations and a canine costume contest. In an effort to cut down on crowds, viewing for events will be spaced out and food truck hours are extended.

Balloons over Bavarian Inn

May 28 - 31, Frankenmuth

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Credit Frankenmuth River Place Shops

  • While dogs are racing and jumping off docks, turn your gaze skyward for Balloons over Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, featuring around 25 hot air balloons. The balloons will take off in the morning as well as the evening to light up the night sky. The evening glow flights take off from a large open space, so there is plenty of room for onlookers to keep their distance.

National Asparagus Festival

June 5th, Oceana County

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Credit COURTESY OF PHIL SQUATTRITO

  • Celebrate asparagus this spring with Gus the asparagus, the National Asparagus Festival’s mascot. Even though some events are cancelled due to high exposure risk, others will still go on. If you’ve been looking for a vegetable-based beauty competition, look no further than the Asparagus Queens Pageant, or participate in an asparagus-themed 5k, in person or virtually.

Mackinac Island Lilac Festival

June 4 - 13, Mackinac Island  

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Credit Mackinac Island Tourism

  

  • In the peak of lilac bloom, Mackinac Island welcomes guests to it’s 73rd annual lilac festival. The floral celebration is 10 days long, including guided walking tours with a lilac expert, cannon firing at Fort Mackinac, and a cornhole tournament. To reduce risk, certain events that attract large crowds like the Grand Stationary Parade and Western Michigan Bootscooter Dance are cancelled.

National Cherry Festival

July 3 - 10, Traverse City

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Credit National Cherry Festival

  • Traverse City’s National Cherry Festival will go on this year, even though it won’t look the same as years past. Organizers are limiting capacity at spots like the food court and beer tent. Other events are cancelled, including the airshow that can draw around 500,000 viewers. There will also be some hybrid and online events such as the Very Cherry Porch Parade, encouraging locals to deck out their front yards in cherry-themed decor.

Gaylord Alpenfest

July 13 - 17, Gaylord

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  • While Gaylord features Alpine-style architecture year-round, during Alpenfest the town transforms into an all-out celebration of the Alps. Festival organizers are still determining which events will be held to maintain the safety of attendees, but no matter what you can likely expect to see traditional alpine dirndl dresses on the streets of Gaylord this July.

Beaver Island Music Festival

July 15 - 17th, Beaver Island

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Credit Krista Smith

  • Over the summer, Beaver Island is home to many events and festivals, one of the largest being the Beaver Island Music Festival. BIMF promotes a combination of music, art and nature throughout its three days. Organizers may have to limit attendance, and all tickets are non-refundable. If the festival has to be cancelled, proceeds will go to support the artists and businesses.

Baroque on Beaver

July 30 - August 7, Beaver Island

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Credit TAFFY RAPHAEL PHOTOGRAPHY

  • Join the Baroque on Beaver music festival for their 20th anniversary season! This event features Baroque style music all week through performances ranging from orchestras to instrumental ensembles to choirs. With safety of the performers and attendees in mind, organizers are considering relocating indoor concerts outside to provide better air circulation.