Summer Events & Festivals
National Cherry Festival
National Cherry Festival – This is the oldest, biggest and still the champion festival of the region. It celebrates everything cherry every year during the first full week of July with an eight-day party featuring over 150 family activities: air shows, fireworks, parades, games, races, midway rides, demonstrations, nightly outdoor concerts and lots of chances to taste delicious cherry products. Now in its 91st year, the Cherry Festival is Traverse City’s signature event, drawing as many as 500,000 attendees from around the country.
Traverse City Film Festival
The Traverse City Film Festival is an annual film festival held for 5 days at the end of July. The festival was created as an annual event in 2005 and is committed to showing “Just Great Movies” and helping to save one of America’s few indigenous art forms — the cinema.
Traverse City Microbrew & Music Festival
This festival takes place on the front lawn of The Village at Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City. This event aims to be one of the greatest in the state with beer, wine, cider, mead, and non-alcoholic beverages from around the Midwest, focusing especially on Michigan brews. This two-day event also features a variety of live music and incredible food from around the area.
Traverse City Wine & Art Festival
This popular festival features tastings & full glass pours from 27 of the region’s best wineries paired with food for purchase by celebrated local chefs, seasoned with a diverse slate of musical performers and an exhibition and sale of artworks by some of the region’s best painters, potters, weavers and other artists. It takes place on the lawn of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons at the end of June/early July.
Great Lakes Equestrian Festival
The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival takes place for about 25 days in July. The festival is committed to delivering world-class equestrian competition. Competitors and spectators will be able to enjoy all the Traverse City has to offer while attending this elite competition. Each week will also feature family friendly events with concerts and activities for children of all ages.
Northport Dog Parade and Wine & Craft Beer Festival
Held each year on the second Saturday of August. The festival showcases the products of the Northern Wine Loop representing ten wineries, a cidery and a brewery. The wine festival follows the dog parade and is both dog and kid friendly.
Friday Night Live
Held every Friday at 5:30 in August. Jazz, art, food and fun will fill East Front. This popular community block party features a full slate of music, entertainment, food, demonstrations and family activities along the 100 and 200 blocks of East Front Street.
Fall Events and Festivals
Empire Hops Festival
Held around the first Saturday in October. The Hops Festival will feature local foods, brews and music. $15 entry fee includes a glass and drink tickets.
Toast the Season
Each year in November, enjoy tasting and touring during one of two consecutive weekends. Tickets are $75 for couples or $50 for singles and include a featured wine and food pairing at 24 wineries, a souvenir wine glass and a holiday gift.
The Hunt for the Reds of October
Takes place weekdays (Monday through Friday) during the month of October. For the entire month of October, your $10 ticket includes a signature wine glass and a complimentary red wine pour at each of more than 20 participating wineries offering red wines.
This annual weekend features a spectacular race through Leelanau’s vineyards followed by a self-guided wine tour along the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail. The tour takes place from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturday and 12:00 to 5:00 pm on Sunday. Tickets are $40 and include a souvenir wine glass and a special wine pour and food pairing at each of 23 participating wineries along the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail.
Winter Events & Festivals
Suttons Bay Holiday in the Village
Runs the first weekend of December and features luminaria lined streets, refreshments and hors d’oeuvres. Local wines will be available to sample (at select locations), there will be restaurant specials, over 50 decorated trees and street carolers.
Christmas in the Village
Tis the season for joy and celebration in The Village at Grand Traverse Commons usually held the second weekend in December. Enjoy a weekend long celebration filled with music, carriage rides, Santa Claus, shopping specials and much more. Each night will feature a Christmas Concert.
Sips and Soups
This event is hosted along the trail on a Saturday during Mid-January. Tickets are $20 per person and include a souvenir wine glass. You’ll enjoy a yummy soup and wine pairing at participating wineries along the trail.
Taste the Passion
Tickets are $35 per person and include a souvenir wine glass and a delicious Leelanau wine and small plate pairing of sweet or savory fare at each winery. The fabulous weekend starts on Saturday as you chart your own course along the wine trail between the hours of 11:00 am and 5:00 pm on Saturday and 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm on Sunday.
Traverse City Microbrew & Music Festival
The annual Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival is held in mid-February in downtown Traverse City. The festival showcases about 35 craft breweries from Michigan; there are also select national brands, and over 100 flavors of brews, wines, ciders and meads. Highlights of the festival include three heated music and microbrewery tents, a heated dining tent, a Homebrewer’s Challenge, and several local food vendors. Festivities run from 4pm-10pm.
Spring Events and Festivals
Empire Asparagus Festival
The lakeshore village of Empire greets the arrival of asparagus season (Mid May) with a 5K run, a recipe contest, games, a parade, food and – of all things – an annual oral poetry contest for the best “Ode to Asparagus.”
Leland Wine and Food Festival
Held during early June, enjoy tasting local award-winning wines from 12 Leelanau Peninsula wineries & 1 local brewery, delicious specialties from 8 local vendors while soaking up beautiful views of Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands from Leland Harbor. ‘Come & Go’ re-entry wristbands allow you to explore beaches, unique shops, galleries and Historic Fishtown, and then return for more festival fun. Live Music plays all day.
Colantha Walker Dairy Festival
Held during Mid-June, the festival is a free, family-friendly festival in celebration of Traverse Colantha Walker, the most famous cow in town! Pancake breakfast, live music, farmers market, arts & craft market, kids’ activities, food & drinks, a memorial parade to Colantha’s headstone, the Great Grilled Cheese Grill-off, and MORE!
Spring Sip & Savor
Enjoy delicious wine and food pairings at 23 wineries along the wine trail. Held around the 1st weekend in May participants take a self-guided tour by visiting the tasting rooms in any order on Saturday from 11:00 to 6:00 pm and Sunday from noon to 5:00 pm. Tickets are limited and typically sell out.