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The 17 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend September 2019

September 2019 events in Ann Arbor Michigan

Though September brings the end of summer, it also brings us a long weekend to celebrate Labor Day, the beginning of football season, and beloved fall harvest celebrations. In the Ann Arbor area, our communities are saluting the summer and welcoming the fall with cultural celebrations, beloved annual festivals, fundraisers and more.

This year, join the fun at our region’s biggest September events. Will you attend a concert, a festival or Oktoberfest? Let us know in the comments below!

 

JUMP AHEAD:

Arts + Culture | Community Celebrations | Sports | Food + Drink

 

 

Arts + Culture 

 

A Cappella Around Main | Ann Arbor 

September 3, 7 – 8:30 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor  

September 2019 events in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Main Street Area Ann Arbor

Did you know Ann Arbor has more a cappella groups than any other city in the country? Throughout the summer, Main Street Area Association celebrates with an a cappella celebration every first Tuesday. For the last event on September 3rd, you can shop, eat and explore downtown while four different singing groups stroll the sidewalks to serenade the community. 

 

Ann Arbor Russian Festival | Dexter 

September 14 – 15, various times | St. Vladimir Russian Orthodox Church 

The 7th Annual Ann Arbor Russian Festival will include Russian dance, music and song ensembles, an infused vodka tasting for guests over 21, authentic foods, and so much more. Bring the whole family down to Dexter to celebrate Russian culture! 

 

Orphan Car Show | Ypsilanti 

September 15 | Riverside Park 

The term “orphan car” describes a vehicle built by a manufacturer that has discontinued business entirely, and because Ypsi has such an important history in cars and orphan cars, it’s the perfect place for this unique car event. The 2019 show celebrates the 21st year of the Orphan Car Show! Spectator admission is $7 for adults and children under 12 are admitted for free.

 

Old West Side Homes Tour | Ann Arbor  

September 22, 12 – 5 p.m. | Community of Christ Church 

The 46th Annual Old West Side Homes Tour celebrates Ann Arbor’s historic Old West Side whose architecture, streetscape, history and environment are especially characteristic of 19th-century, midwestern America. You can purchase tickets on the day of the event at its headquarters: Community of Christ Church at 520 West Jefferson. 

 

Heritage Market | Milan 

September 29, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Hack House 

Hosted by Milan Area Historical Society for the second year, the Heritage Market brings local vendors, creative makers and community members to shop and support local in the historic Hack House. For details and updates, check out the Facebook event here

 

 

Community Celebrations 

 

Dancing in the Streets | Ann Arbor  

September 1, 1:30 – 6:30 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor  

September 2019 events in Ann Arbor Michigan

An annual tradition hosted by the Ann Arbor Community for Traditional Music and Dance, Dancing in the Streets is a free, family-friendly dance-themed event. The schedule includes demonstrations, interactive activities, tons of lessons, kid-friendly activities and more. To see that schedule, click here.   

 

Festival of the Honey Bee | Ypsilanti  

September 6, 5 – 9 p.m. | Downtown Ypsilanti  

Held in partnership with First Fridays Ypsilanti, the Festival of the Honey Bee aims to raise awareness and celebrate the honey bee’s impact on our local and global food supply through art and education. Nearly a decade old, this annual tradition includes art, music, educational activities for all ages, vendors, demonstrations and more. 

 

Oktoberfest | Saline 

September 20 – 21 | Downtown Saline 

This fall celebration brings the spirit of Germany to Downtown Saline. In celebration of the community’s sister city relationship with Lindenberg, Germany, Oktoberfest features traditional and modern music, a festive biergarten, a corn hole tournament, wiener dog races and so much more over the course of two full days.

 

Harvest Festival | Ann Arbor  

September 22, 2 – 5 p.m. | Sutherland-Wilson Farm 

Hosted by Pittsfield Charter Township, the 11th Annual Harvest Festival is welcoming the fall season with a performance by the Saline Fiddlers, face painting, carriage photos, lawn games, a pumpkin patch, docent-led tours, artisan demonstrations, a petting farm and so much more. All of this is included in general admission, which ranges from free for children 2 years and under to $5 for adults over 16. For more details, click here

 

Webster Fall Festival | Dexter  

September 28 | Corner of Webster Church & Farrell Roads 

Co-hosted by the Webster United Church of Christ and the Webster Township Historical Society, this fall festival has something for everyone: hayrides, live music, an auction, a petting zoo, a children’s carnival, historical buildings, baked goods, demonstrations like rope making and blacksmithing, baseball games played following the rules of 1860, and even more! For the full schedule, click here

 

 

Sports 

 

University of Michigan Football vs. Army | Ann Arbor 

September 7, 12 p.m. | Michigan Stadium 

Things to do in Ann Arbor this September 2018

Michigan football is back! They’re playing in the Big House against Army West Point on September 7th. To see the full 2019 schedule, click here, and don’t miss their other home game this month on September 28th against Rutgers. 

 

RunTough for ChadTough | Saline 

September 28, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. | Saline High School 

Benefitting The ChadTough Foundation—a local nonprofit in Saline—this running event is celebrating its sixth year with a family-friendly 5K and a one-mile fun run. Whether you want to virtually run or you want to run the route yourself, you can register online here.

 

Glow-in-the-Park 5K | Ypsilanti  

September 20, 8:30 – 10:30 p.m. | Rolling Hills County Park 

Hosted by Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission, this nighttime run invites racers to Rolling Hills County Park after the sun sets. Then, racers can enjoy a lighted, glow-in-the-dark run through the park! To register, click here

 

 

Food + Drink 

 

Route 23 Craft Beer Walk | Milan  

September 13, 4 – 10 p.m. | Main Street 

September 2019 events in Ann Arbor Michigan

An annual event with Milan Main Street, this craft beer celebration brings live music, food truck fare, community fun and eight Michigan breweries to Downtown Milan. When you purchase tickets here, adults can enjoy flights of three craft beers at each venue, and each flight includes a small appetizer, too! 

 

Bike Ypsi’s Taco Tour | Ypsilanti 

September 15, 12 – 5 p.m. | Frog Island Park 

Bike Ypsi is returning for the 12th year of the Taco Tour! Featuring only locally owned businesses and only traditional tacos, this event invites bicyclists for a 5-mile, 15-mile or 25-mile route through town for tacos and taco-themed treats. Each route includes a different number of tacos, but all include a choco taco at Go! Ice Cream and finish at Cultivate Coffee & Taphouse for liquid refreshment. For mail-in registration details, click here

 

Chefs in the Garden | Ypsilanti  

September 15, 5 – 8 p.m. | Growing Hope Urban Farm 

Hosted by and benefitting Growing Hope, the Chefs in the Garden series brings together local charity, local food and urban farm education. The three-part dinner series features well-known, local culinary talent at each event occurring on September 15th, September 29th and October 13th. The first event on September 15th will bring together Chef Ji Hye Kim of Miss Kim with dessert from Milk + Honey. For tickets, click here. And for details on the September 29th event, click here

 

West Cross Hard Cider Festival | Ypsilanti 

September 21, 1 – 5 p.m. | College Place 

This 21+ event brings together 15 Michigan hard cider makers and eight West Cross businesses for a fall tradition of epic proportions. You can see the participating businesses here and purchase tickets online here

 

 

Happy September!

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10 Reasons Ann Arbor is a Great Place to Call Home

things to do in ann arbor michigan

In very brief summary, Ann Arbor is unlike any other town. The stories behind our beloved businesses, the legends driving our annual events, and quirky things like fairy doors and Hash Bash make our hometown one of the best places to live—and one of the most interesting, too.

Living here puts residents within driving distance of Detroit, minutes from the Lower Peninsula’s largest state park, a quick trip from the perfect vacation on Lake Michigan, along the route of the Huron River and in close proximity to Michigan’s best historic small towns. 

To get the short list of our favorite things about Ann Arbor, keep reading! 

 

1. It really is one of the best places to live.

If you already live here, you know. Ann Arbor is consistently ranked on lists of the country’s best cities to live, visit and go to school. Some of our favorites include College Ranker’s The 50 Best College Towns to Live in Forever, Livability’s 5 Great College Towns to Settle In Post-Graduation, and The Travel’s 10 US Destinations For Your Next Long Weekend Getaway.

 

2. It’s home to one of the country’s best universities.

University of Michigan Law School Ann Arbor Michigan

The University of Michigan is continually ranked amongst the best universities in the nation, and in the US News & World Report 2019 ranking of the best national universities, it makes the top 30. Boasting a total undergraduate enrollment of just under 30,000, UM offers students more than 1,500 organizations, more than 60 Greek chapters, and an impressive lineup of athletics for both athletes and fans.

Even locals who aren’t involved in the university can enjoy university facilities and programs like the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum and more. 

 

3. It’s a haven for coffee lovers.

coffee in ann arbor michigan

If you haven’t sampled A2’s coffee culture, you’re in for a treat. Our small city ranks with craft coffee giants like Seattle, San Francisco and New York. Our hometown has been named on The 10 Best Cities for Coffee Lovers in America and Livability’s 10 Unexpectedly Awesome Coffee Cities. A quick trip to downtown Ann Arbor can include stops at Literati Coffee, RoosRoast, lab, Comet Coffee and Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea—all packed into a few blocks! 

To preview the local coffee scene, check out The 16 Best Coffee Shops in the Ann Arbor Area. And read The Best Coffee Roasters Around Ann Arbor to find a few shops that do their own roasting!

 

4. And for book lovers!

Ann Arbor’s history is rich with literature, books, bookstores and book-themed festivals. Before the nationwide bookstore Borders closed its doors for good, it was founded and headquartered right here in downtown Ann Arbor. Today, our city’s book-loving culture is alive and well through local, indie businesses like Literati Bookstore, Bookbound and Nicola’s Books. To track down even more places to shop, check out Your Guide to Ann Arbor’s Independent Bookstores, Mapped. For events, clubs and more, check out The Book Lover’s Guide to Ann Arbor

 

5. We love local. 

things to do in ann arbor michigan

Bookstores and coffee shops aren’t the only things that are indie and local around here. Ann Arbor also boasts tons of local craft breweries, local shops and eateries that were built right here and have become staples of our community. For example, Arbor Brewing Company was the first brewpub to open in Ann Arbor and only the fifth brewpub to open in the entire state of Michigan. Learn more in Your Ultimate Guide to 20 Craft Breweries in the Ann Arbor Area

Another national name that began right here is Zingerman’s, and though it is nationally recognized, this community of businesses has stayed right here in Ann Arbor and has grown to include the original deli, a coffee roaster, a bakery, a cheese and gelato shop, multiple restaurants, an event venue, and more. For the complete details, check out Your Guide to 14 Zingerman’s Businesses in Ann Arbor

 

6. We have a year-round farmers’ market. 

things to do in ann arbor michigan

Speaking of loving local, Ann Arbor has an outdoor farmers’ market that operates all year long! At the heart of Kerrytown, the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market brings together our community, our local makers, our local growers and our local artisans for weekly events—and bi-weekly events during the summer! For the full schedule and information about seasonal food truck rallies, click here

 

7. There’s always something to do. 

We know in a suburban city like Ann Arbor, things can sometimes feel slow and quiet, but boring isn’t in our vocabulary around here. In addition to fun activities found in guides like 14 Things to Do in Ann Arbor Under $20, 10 Ann Arbor Date Ideas Perfect for Any Time of Year and 18 Things to Do with Kids in Ann Arbor, our community hosts tons of special events and festivals throughout the year. In our blog post, The Ultimate Guide to Annual Events in Ann Arbor, we highlighted more than 25! And that just covers the largest ones. To stay up-to-date on even more, check out Destination Ann Arbor here

 

8. It offers urban amenities and rural adventure.

Gallup Park guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

Ann Arbor offers the fun of a college town, the amenities of a city, and the open space of a charming, rural town. It’s the urban center of Washtenaw County and is less than an hour from Detroit, but also offers proximity to the huge Waterloo State Recreation Area and Pinckney Recreation Area near Chelsea and Dexter. For outdoor fun both in town and outside of it, check out 8 Things to Do in the Ann Arbor Area for Outdoor Enthusiasts, The Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in Ann Arbor, Everything You Can Do in Waterloo Recreation Area and Your Summer Guide to Ann Arbor’s City Parks, Mapped

 

9. It’s an affordable place to live. 

Home to a variety of industries and an award-winning university, Ann Arbor is a great place to live, work and invest. According to the United States Census Bureau, median household income in Ann Arbor is $61,247 which is higher than both Michigan and the United States. And, widening the range to the entirety of Washtenaw County, the median household income jumps to $65,618.

Looking to housing, the median value of owned homes is $271,600 and median gross rent is $1,166. Measured with the median household numbers we discussed, Ann Arbor is one of the country’s more affordable places to live—especially when compared to popular urban areas across the country. If you want to find homes on the market right now, click here to view the area’s newest listings. And to get more economic and social statistics like this, check out our other guide 10 Reasons to Stay in Ann Arbor After Graduation.

 

10. It’s surrounded by more small towns we love. 

Things to do in Saline, Michigan

Living in Ann Arbor puts you within reach of some of our state’s most charming small towns. These quieter and historic communities—like Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Saline and Ypsilanti—are home to some of Michigan’s best hidden gems, from entertainment at The Purple Rose Theatre Company to coffee and beer at Cultivate. To begin your explorations of these communities, we recommend the following guides: Your Ultimate Guide to Chelsea, Michigan, Your Ultimate Guide to Dexter, Michigan, Your Ultimate Guide to Milan, Michigan, Your Ultimate Guide to Saline, Michigan and Your Ultimate Guide to Ypsilanti, Michigan

 

That was our short list. 

For even more reasons to love Ann Arbor, including the college culture, economic statistics and housing information, check out 10 Reasons We’re Lucky to Live in Ann Arbor, 10 Reasons Ann Arbor is the Best College Town in America and 10 Reasons to Stay in Ann Arbor After Graduation.

And to stay up-to-date on local events, things to do, favorite businesses and regional real estate, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram

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The 17 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend August 2019

August 2019 events in Ann Arbor Michigan

The culmination of summer fun in Southeast Michigan, August brings some of the season’s most highly anticipated festivals, races and events. Taking place in communities throughout the region, you can enjoy live music, tractor pulls, parades, craft fairs, a challenging triathlon and even a United States Air Force air show!

Peruse our top picks for August below and mark your calendars so you don’t miss a second of the action.

 

JUMP AHEAD:

Arts + Culture | Community Celebrations | Sports | Food + Drink

Arts + Culture

Arts + Culture 

 

Milan Bluegrass Festival | Milan

July 31 – August 3 | KC Campground Milan

August 2019 events in Ann Arbor Michigan

Featuring both well-known bluegrass bands and up-and-coming acts, Milan Bluegrass is a can’t-miss music festival in Southeast Michigan. The 2019 event features five different bands each day and a special guest on Saturday! For the full concert experience, we recommend camping on-site with KC Campground.

 

Sonic Lunch | Ann Arbor

June 6 – August 29, 11:30 a.m. | Downtown at the corner of Liberty and Division

Since 2008, Sonic Lunch has been bringing free, outdoor concerts to the streets of downtown Ann Arbor every summer. Suitable for all ages, the 2019 concert series kicked off in June, has two July concerts on the schedule, and continues through August for a total of 11 shows. All shows begin at 11:30 a.m. and you can see the full lineup here.

 

The Ton-Up | Ypsilanti

August 11, 12 – 7 p.m. | Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery  

The Ton-Up is a motorcycle and music festival, are they’re returning to Ypsilanti for the tenth year this August! Serving to promote and educate the public about the art, science and history of the motorcycle, motorcycle safety, and awesome music, this one-day event will bring vintage and custom motorcycles, scooters and mopeds to ABC in addition to local music and tons of fun. To learn more, check out the Facebook event here

 

Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival | Dexter

August 12 – 17 | Monument Park

En plein air is the act of painting outdoors, and the Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival invites artists and community members to do just that! Over the course of four days, local and visiting artists will paint in and around Dexter. Then, non-painters can view and purchase artwork at the two-day exhibit and art sale in the Tent Gallery in Monument Park. To stay up-to-date on this year’s happenings, follow the team on Facebook here

 

Ann Arbor Blues Festival | Ann Arbor

August 16 – 18 | Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds

In August 1969, several thousand blues lovers gathered in a small field in Ann Arbor for the first ever Ann Arbor Blues Festival where they sang and danced along with blues legends that included B.B. King. This August, it all comes back to the Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds for an all-ages music event you don’t want to miss. Buy your tickets in advance here.

 

DIYpsi | Ypsilanti

August 24 – 25 | Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery

An indie art fair like none other, DIYpsi is a handmade art fair that takes place in Ypsilanti once each summer and winter. Alongside incredible homemade foods and drinks, you’ll find unique handcrafted gifts that are sold by and in support of local, Ypsilanti artists. This year’s summer event features more than 90 vendors at ABC Microbrewery! 

 

 

Community Celebrations 

 

Ann Arbor Pride | Ann Arbor

August 3 – 4 | Kerrytown  

August 2019 events in Ann Arbor Michigan

Originally called OUTFest, Ann Arbor Pride has been showcasing equality and LGBTQ support for decades. Throughout Kerrytown this August, you can enjoy entertainment, community, vendors, fun and, most importantly, pride. In celebration of their 25th anniversary, the team is expanding the event with more mainstage entertainment, a pride picnic, a kids’ zone and a beer and wine garden. As always, proceeds from the event benefit the Jim Toy Community Center.

 

Thunder Over Michigan Air Show | Ypsilanti

August 3 – 4 | Willow Run Airport

At Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, this family event brings the United States Air Force Thunderbirds to Southeast Michigan. The air show will feature presentations from the F16 Demo Team and the Screamin’ Sasquatch as well so buy your tickets here and don’t miss it. Kids 15 years and younger are admitted for free!

 

Dexter Daze | Dexter

August 9 – 10 | Various locations

For nearly 50 years, Dexter Daze has been providing an occasion for our communities’ families to come together and celebrate with artisans and crafters, local businesses and free entertainment. You can join the fun in Dexter this August! 

 

Saline’s Summerfest | Saline

August 9 – 10 | Downtown Saline

Returning to the streets of Downtown Saline this month, Saline’s Summerfest is a hometown celebration like none other. In 2019, the event promises even more activities, attractions and amusements, but with all the local flare we’ve come to love.

 

Michigan Firehouse Museum Fire Muster | Ypsilanti 

August 17, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Riverside Park 

The annual Fire Muster is a fun, free event for the entire community! The Michigan Firehouse Museum brings their trucks of all types to the park and they also provide a bucket brigade demonstration, hand pumper demonstrations, special activities for the kids, fire safety information and much more. For event updates, RSVP to the event on Facebook here

 

Chelsea Community Fair | Chelsea

August 20 – 24 | Chelsea Community Fairgrounds

One of our favorite community events in the region, the Chelsea Community Fair includes a rodeo, multiple tractor pulls, livestock competitions and auctions, demolition derbies, a local merchant tent, and more. For all the details, click here

 

YpsiFest | Ypsilanti

August 23 – 25 | Riverside Park

In 2019, the Ypsilanti Heritage, Arts, and Entertainment Festival will be bigger and better than ever before. Over the course of three days, you can enjoy live trivia in the entertainment tent, daily helicopter rides, a kids’ area with bounce houses, pony rides and games, a classic car show, the Rubber Ducky Race, a BBQ competition and more. For all the details, click here

 

Saline Community Fair | Saline

August 28 – September 1 | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds

Every year, the Saline Community Fair brings together the community to celebrate Saline’s favorite activities, local vendors and organizations. This year’s event will feature tractor pulls, carnival rides, racing and derbies, rodeo presentations, livestock and animal competitions and so much more. To see the full schedule, click here

 

 

Sports

 

Ann Arbor Triathlon | Dexter

August 3, 7:30 a.m. | Pinckney Recreation Area  

August 2019 events in Ann Arbor Michigan

The Ann Arbor Triathlon is the culmination of all your training, all your running, all your biking and all your swimming. Beginning at Halfmoon Lake in Pinckney State Recreation Area, you’ll swim the waters of Halfmoon, bike the country roads of the surrounding rural area, then run the 5-mile Poto Trail course to complete the challenge. If you’re ready, register online here.

 

Swim to the Moon | Dexter

August 18, 9 a.m. | Pinckney Recreation Area  

Celebrating 10 years in 2019, Swim to the Moon is an extraordinary open-water swimming adventure through the picturesque Hiland Chain of Lakes near Hell, Michigan. Participants can choose between distances including the half-mile, the 1.2-mile, the 5K or 10K. For full details and online registration, click here

 

 

Food + Drink 

 

German Park Picnic | Ann Arbor

August 31, 4 p.m. | German Park

August 2019 events in Ann Arbor Michigan

The German Park Recreation Club hosts three picnics every summer and this month’s event is set for August 31st from 4 – 11 p.m. For an admission price of just $5 per person, you can enjoy German culture, food, beer and more! Feel free to bring the whole family but no one under 21 years of age will be admitted without a parent or guardian. And, children 12 and under are admitted for free! 

 

 

Happy August! 

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Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

The Ann Arbor area is defined by its food, its art, its stories and its hyper-local character. And our regional creators and entrepreneurs know exactly how to show off our state produce, our quirky creativity, our iconic water towers and, of course, our University of Michigan pride.

In this guide, we rounded up some of those local businesses, artists and creators so you can build the perfect gift basket for a new resident, a far off family member, or anyone who needs a little sampling of Southeast Michigan. We also provided the retail locations and links to online stores where they’re available so you can shop in person or virtually!

 

Ann Arbor Art Center

Retail location at 117 W Liberty St in Ann Arbor

Located in Downtown Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Art Center is our go-to for enjoying art exhibition, connecting with local artists, and even learning new art skills. The 117 Gallery Shop—located in their Downtown headquarters—is the retail shop where you can find original, handmade works of art for sale by both emerging and established artists from Michigan and beyond. These include original paintings and prints, ceramics, jewelry and more.

 

Ann Arbor Farmers Market

Retail location at 315 Detroit St in Ann Arbor

A beloved weekly tradition in Kerrytown, the Ann Arbor Farmers Market is a 100-year-old, year-round market where you can shop from more than 100 local businesses. As a producer-only market, you’ll find only local products from Michigan, Ohio or Indiana, and the vendors include fourth-generation farmers, bakers, coffee roasters, artisans and more. It’s the perfect place to find Michigan nuts, local maple syrup, fermented sauerkraut or handmade goods for your gift basket!

 

Artistica Gallery

Retail location at 3203 Broad St in Dexter

Located right on Main Street in the charming town of Dexter, Artistica Gallery showcases more than 35 Michigan artisans inside their cozy shop. These products range from hand-carved, wooden bowls and fabric arts to personal products like soaps and balms. To preview their artists, artisans and products, follow the team on Facebook here.

 

Bløm Meadworks

Retail location at 100 S 4th Ave in Ann Arbor | Online store

Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

Photo courtesy of Bløm Meadworks

Bløm (pronounced bloom) is a hyper-local meadery located in the heart of Ann Arbor. Unlike many other meaderies and cideries, every ingredient is sourced from Michigan and their mead is fermented like a dry craft cider so it’s not as thick or as sweet as other meads you may have tried. In addition to hosting pop-ups and weekly yoga classes, they also sell their naturally gluten-free mead in cans both in the taproom and online. To view their online store, click here.

 

Bo

Retail location at 333 S Main St in Ann Arbor | Online store

Inspired by and named after Bo Schembechler—the University of Michigan head football coach from 1969 to 1989—Bo is a store built by and for Wolverines. In the Main Street shop, you can purchase clothing and hats, mugs and glasses, posters and vinyl decals, and basically everything you need to show your Michigan pride. To shop online, click here.

 

Bookend Candle Co.

Online store

This Etsy shop is run by an Ypsilanti local hand-pouring soy candles to create some of our favorite scents. These include Coffee House which is infused with the scent of freshly ground coffee beans, sweet cream and hazelnut, Rare Book Room which gives off the scent of cedarwood, leather and vanilla, and Campfire which smells just like a summer campfire. The stylish candles even say, “Hand-poured in Ypsilanti, MI” right on the front! To learn more about Bookend Candle Co., you can follow them on Instagram here.

 

Caravan Gift Shop

Retail location at 1 Nickels Arcade in Ann Arbor

A landmark of the historic Nickels Arcade, Caravan Gift Shop has been an Ann Arbor shopping destination for more than 90 years! Their charming and eclectic shop is the perfect place to find globally inspired and globally sourced goods, including handcrafted jewelry, unique cards and paper goods, handcrafted wallets, watches, home decor and more.

 

Cherry Republic

Retail location at 223 S Main St in Ann Arbor | Online store

Cherry Republic is a Michigan business dedicated to Michigan’s Montmorency Tart Cherry and all the delectable products it can help to create. Their inventory boasts more than 200 cherry-based products like chocolate-covered cherries, BBQ sauces, jams, jellies, salsas, nut mixes, ice cream toppings, baked goods, condiments, soda pop, cherry wine and cherry beer. To shop online, click here, or stop by the retail shops in Glen Arbor, Traverse City, Holland, Frankenmuth, Charlevoix and right here in Ann Arbor.

 

FOUND Gallery

Retail location at 415 N 5th Ave in Ann Arbor | Online store

Perfectly merging vintage and modern, FOUND offers a mix of home decor, pillows, rugs, textiles, candles, jewelry and gifts. And many of those goods are made right here in Michigan by local artisans! Their brick and mortar location is in Ann Arbor’s Kerrytown district, but you can also shop much of their inventory online here.

 

Le Bon Macaron

Retail location at 209 S 4th Ave in Ann Arbor | Online store

Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

Photo courtesy of Le Bon Macaron

Born from a love of French culture, Le Bon Macaron is a local, family business that offers two of the most charming cafés in Michigan: one in Grand Rapids and one in Downtown Ann Arbor. If you stop in the store, you can get French press coffee and espresso, fresh scones, ice cream sundaes, French and Italian sodas made with handcrafted fruit puree and, of course, the macarons that have made them famous. But, you can also shop online for Le Bon merchandise and customizable macaron boxes! Check out the online shop here.

 

Literati Bookstore

Retail location at 124 E Washington St in Ann Arbor | Online store

The perfect place to experience our hometown’s book culture, Literati is a locally owned and operated book-lovers’ haven in Downtown Ann Arbor. On the store’s lower level, you’ll find the bookstore, and upstairs, they operate a full-service coffee shop called Literati Coffee. In the bookstore, you’ll find the team’s famous public typewriter open to the public for typing messages. Over the years, they’ve accumulated thousands of these love notes, poems, sentences and salutations. Published in 2018, “Notes From A Public Typewriter” compiles some of their favorites alongside essays, photos and more, and this book is the perfect addition to any Ann Arbor gift basket! You can learn more about it and purchase it online here.

 

The M Den

Six retail locations | Online store

The M Den is the official retailer of Michigan Athletics, which means you can find branded clothing for women, men and kids, Michigan Nike products, hats, furniture and home decor, autographed memorabilia, toys, jewelry, pet accessories and more. You can shop online here or stop by one of five Ann Arbor locations to shop in person.

 

Rock Paper Scissors

Retail location at 216 S Main St in Ann Arbor | Online store

Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

Photo courtesy of Rock Paper Scissors

Located on Main Street in Ann Arbor, Rock Paper Scissors is a paper goods and gift store. In addition to their huge selection of personalized stationery and cards, they carry a variety of fun and funny gifts: mugs, glasses, books, candles, balms, cocktail mixers, keychains, decor and more. To shop online, click here.

 

RoosRoast

Retail locations at 1155 Rosewood St and 117 E Liberty St in Ann Arbor | Online store

Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

Photo courtesy of Laura Garbarz via RoosRoast

RoosRoast is hands down one of the best coffee roasters in Michigan and word of this has reached as far as Portland, San Francisco and Manhattan. With their Loring Smart Roaster, they use 80 percent less energy than similar roasters and still create outstanding coffees (have you tasted Lobster Butter Love?). RoosRoast has received several accolades, including the best coffee shop in Washtenaw County, the number one coffee shop in Southeast Michigan and more. If you can’t stop by their two Ann Arbor locations, you can shop coffee, tea and merchandise online here.

To find more local roasters, check out The Best Coffee Roasters Around Ann Arbor.

 

Sandhill Crane Vineyards

Three retail locations

One of the region’s best wineries, Sandhill Crane operates a year-round tasting room in Jackson and the Cider Mill Tasting Room in Dexter during apple season. Made in small batches right on the premises, the tasting lineup includes well-balanced acidic white wines, rich reds, flavorful fruit wines and delicious dessert wines. Upon visiting, you can enjoy tastings, schedule a winery tour and purchase bottles for yourself and your gift basket.

To find even more regional wineries, check out The 14 Essential Wineries to Visit Near Ann Arbor.

 

True North Jerky and Foods

Retail location at 12855 E Old US Hwy 12 in Chelsea | Online store

If you need a little snack in your gift basket, check out True North, a locally owned and operated specialty meat shop in Chelsea. In store, you can shop smoked meats and fish, handmade sausages, bratwurst, burger patties, hand cut steaks and more. And their jerky, award-winning snack sticks, hot sauces and specialty cheeses are perfect additions to show off true Michigan flavor. To shop more than 25 different jerky flavors online, click here.

 

Ypsilicious

Online store

This Ypsi-inspired Etsy shop is the online destination for all things Ypsilanti. These mugs, tops, towels, tags, posters and cards feature tons of local character and plenty of Ypsilanti Water Tower jokes. You can even buy a customizable, handmade Ypsi Water Tower piñata! But if that won’t fit in your basket, maybe think about a “Greetings from Ypsi” whiskey tumbler; check it out here.

 

Zingerman’s Creamery

Retail location at 3723 Plaza Dr in Ann Arbor | Online store

Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

Photo courtesy of Zingerman’s Creamery

Zingerman’s Community of Businesses is an icon of Ann Arbor. Their story started with a small deli opened in 1982 and has grown into a community of more than 10 different local businesses all located right here in the Ann Arbor area. At the creamery, they create handmade, full-flavored cheeses and gelati using traditional methods and the highest quality milk sourced from small-scale, regional farmers. At the Cream Top Shop, you can taste cheeses, gelato and sorbet and take home the perfect, cheesy addition to any gift basket. To order online, check out Zingerman’s Mail Order here. And to learn more about all the businesses, check out Your Guide to 14 Zingerman’s Businesses in Ann Arbor.

 

Do you have a gift basket idea?

Tell us where you’re shopping in the comments below!

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Your Guide to Fishing in the Ann Arbor Area

where to fish in Ann Arbor Michigan

The state of Michigan is made up of more than 40 percent water. Here in Southeast Michigan, much of that acreage is the Huron River, a designated National Water Trail that winds through the entire region and has been developed into one of the best, most beautiful, and most accessible recreation opportunities in Michigan. And where there’s water, there’s fishing!

In this guide, we’re focusing our attention on the basics of fishing in the Ann Arbor area: what to know before you go, where to cast your reel, how to learn, and where to find communities of like-minded fishers. Enjoy!

 

BEFORE YOU GO

where to fish in Ann Arbor Michigan

The most important things to have before you embark on your fishing adventures are a fishing license and the right equipment—and both are easy to get if you know where to go!

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources offers fishing licenses to both residents and nonresidents. Options include an annual license, a discounted pass for seniors, a 72-hour license and a 24-hour license for different prices. Anyone under 17 years of age can fish without a license, and licenses are available to residents online. For all the information and online purchases, click here.

The Michigan DNR also publishes a Weekly Fishing Report covering conditions around the state and the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services publishes Eat Safe Fish Guides so you know what to catch and eat safely.

To get the right equipment, we recommend heading to a local shop where you’ll meet fishing guides and experts who have been fishing here for years. Schultz Outfitters is one of the most popular options, and they’re located in Ypsilanti’s historic Depot Town. In their brick and mortar shop, you’ll find fly fishing gear and fly tying supplies, but they’re also the area’s only full-time, four-season guide service and destination outfitter!

The Painted Trout is another great, locally owned option in Dexter. They are a fully stocked outfitter shop with a focus on field sports, sporting dogs and fly fishing so you can get everything you need, from clothing to fishing rods and everything in between.

 

 

WHERE TO GO

Gallup Park guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

The primary reason Southeast Michigan is a haven for water sports like kayaking and fishing is the rejuvenated Huron River, which meanders through Island Lake Recreation Area over to Dexter, through Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, then all the way to Lake Erie. And though the river offers fantastic waters for fishing, it’s not the only place where you can practice your casting!

 

Huron-Clinton Metroparks

A haven for all kinds of outdoor recreation throughout the year, the Huron-Clinton Metroparks system is made up of 13 parks which cover more than 25,000 acres in five different counties of Southeast Michigan. Of those parks, 11 offer fishing and/or ice fishing, including Delhi Metropark in Ann Arbor, Dexter-Huron Metropark and Hudson Mills Metropark is Dexter, Huron Meadows Metropark in Brighton and more. For more information on all the fishing opportunities in these parks, click here.

 

Spring Valley Trout Farm

Spring Valley sits on 20 acres of carefully maintained grounds in a private, park setting. Their facility offers nine spring-fed ponds at least one-half acre or larger, two covered picnic pavilions, a children’s play area, and an authentic American log cabin. Especially ideal for kids and beginners, Spring Valley Trout Farm offers wheelchair accessibility and a family atmosphere, and their pollution-free ponds are stocked weekly with fish grown right on the farm.

 

Argo Nature Area

Argo Park, home to Argo Park Canoe and Kayak Livery, is a great place for water sports of all kinds on the Huron River, and it’s located right in the heart of Ann Arbor. Fly fishers can catch carp along the eastern embankment that forms part of the Argo Dam and it’s the closest fishing site to Downtown Ann Arbor! For more fishing tips, we recommend heading to the livery where you can also rent paddle boats. To get more info on the facility and fishing programs, click here.

 

Gallup Park

Gallup Park also offers boat rentals, expert tips and special programs through their Gallup Park Canoe and Kayak Livery. With a total of 69 acres along the Huron River and Geddes Pond, fishers have plenty of opportunities to cast, whether on the shore, from the pier or in a boat.

 

Olson Park

Olson Park is a popular choice in Ann Arbor for pond fishing. The 54-acre parcel is centered around a creek and pond with its own fishing dock, and the area is maintained by the City of Ann Arbor and the County Drain Commissioner.

 

Lillie Park

Lillie Park in Pittsfield Township boasts 148 acres of outdoor recreation opportunities, including a pond with two fishing docks and the picturesque Haven Lake.  

 

 

HOW TO LEARN

where to fish in Ann Arbor Michigan

If you’re a beginner when it comes to casting, tying your own flies or just fishing in general, a local shop or club is a great place to start your education. Many even offer dedicated classes for beginners and advanced students!

 

Schultz Outfitters

In addition to selling all the necessary gear, Schultz Outfitters in Ypsilanti is the area’s only full-time, four-season guide service and destination outfitter. Their offerings include guide trips and destination travel as well as classes and events which include beginner and advanced fly tying workshops and the full spectrum of casting instruction.

 

The Painted Trout

The Painted Trout in Dexter is a fully stocked outfitter shop and their team also offers classes and lessons for various levels of experience. Their fishing courses include group fly fishing classes for beginners both in the classroom and on the water, private lessons in beginner and advanced casting, and more. To see the full lineup, click here.

 

Ann Arbor Trout Unlimited

The mission of Ann Arbor Trout Unlimited is to conserve, protect and restore Michigan’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds, including our own Huron River. As a chapter of Trout Unlimited, they offer education and community focused around fishing and coldwater fisheries. For more information of meetings, programs and membership, click here.

 

Huron River Fishing Association

Based in Flat Rock along the Huron River and near Lake Erie, the Huron River Fishing Association is an affiliate of Michigan United Conservation Club and organizes tournaments, holds meetings and hosts members-only events throughout the year. Dedicated to both fishing and conservation, HRFA hosts two monthly meetings and monthly fly tying groups at Flat Rock Community Center. For more information, click here.

 

 

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS?

If you love fishing in Southeast Michigan, share your local tips in the comments below!

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The 14 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend June 2019

June 2019 Ann Arbor Michigan events things to do

June brings us countless wonderful things, including the official first day of summer, the unofficial kick-off to festival season, huge annual events like Ann Arbor Summer Festival, and the sunny weather that makes us fall in love with Ann Arbor year after year.

To help you take advantage of all four, we rounded up a handful of Southeast Michigan’s most exciting events, from outdoor concert series and cultural festivals to epic races through some of the region’s best parks. Keep reading to start planning your summer fun!

 

Jump ahead:

Arts + Culture | Community Celebrations | Sports | Food + Drink

 

 

Arts + Culture

 

Sonic Lunch | Ann Arbor

June 6 – August 29, 11:30 a.m. | Downtown at the corner of Liberty and Division

Sonic Lunch Ann Arbor Michigan music events

Photo courtesy of Leisa Thompson Photography via Sonic Lunch

Since 2008, Sonic Lunch has been bringing free, outdoor concerts to the streets of downtown Ann Arbor every summer. Suitable for all ages, the 2019 concert series kicks off on June 6th and continues through August for a total of 11 shows. All shows begin at 11:30 a.m. and you can see the full lineup here.

 

Ya’ssoo Greek Festival | Ann Arbor

June 7 – 9, various times | St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church

Hosted by St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, this annual event has become a local favorite thanks to the authentic Greek food, live entertainment, Greek dance performances and more. Admission ranges from free during the day up to $3 for evening admission, but children 12 years and younger are always admitted for free!

 

Chelsea Painters Art Fair | Chelsea

June 8 – 9, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Chelsea Community Fairgrounds

From humble beginnings in 1973, the Annual Chelsea Painters Art Fair has become one of the area’s best fine arts celebrations. It’s celebrating 46 years in 2019 with more than 20 highly accomplished artists exhibiting works in watercolor, gouache, acrylic, oil, pastels and mixed media. For more details, click here.

 

Gordon Hall Days | Dexter

June 22 – 23, various times | Gordon Hall

The Dexter Area Historical Society serves to preserve our history and inspire our community to connect the past with the future. Gordon Hall Days brings the community together to celebrate that mission through tours, shows, live music, food and fun for an entire weekend! Highlights include the Antique and Classic Car Show on Saturday, the Porsche Car Show on Sunday, Barn Raising Demonstrations, the ticketed Afternoon Tea and Fashion Show at Gordon Hall, and live music with George Bedard and the Kingpins.

 

 

Community Celebrations

 

African American Downtown Festival | Ann Arbor

June 1, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor

This festival is celebrating its 24th year in 2019 with more fun and entertainment than ever before. The lineup includes street and stage performances, dancing, local vendors and information booths, kid-friendly fun and more. For updates, check out the website here.

 

Ypsi Pride | Ypsilanti  

June 7, 5 – 10 p.m. | Downtown Ypsilanti

Celebrating its third year in 2019, Ypsi Pride is a block party of epic proportions on Ypsilanti’s South Washington Street. The event will include stages for family-friendly entertainment, beer gardens, local organizations and vendors, a children’s activity area and more! For details and updates, RSVP to the Facebook event here.

 

Ann Arbor Summer Festival | Ann Arbor

June 14 – July 7, various times | Various locations

As the can’t-miss, arts-centered event of the summer, the 2019 Ann Arbor Summer Festival will include world-class entertainment in comedy, cinema, food, jazz, pop and rock, acoustic, spoken word, public radio, and so much more. To see the full lineup and buy tickets, click here.

 

Green Fair | Ann Arbor

June 14, 6 – 9 p.m. | Main Street

The 19th annual Mayor’s Green Fair is coming to Main Street on June 14th. In celebration of our community’s environmental leadership, the event will close down the street so pedestrians can enjoy environmental displays and green products, live music, and fun in one of the town’s liveliest neighborhoods.

 

Juneteenth Celebration | Ann Arbor

June 15, 12 – 6 p.m. | Wheeler Park

Juneteenth is an annual holiday that commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery on June 19, 1865 in several American states. In Ann Arbor, the celebration is hosted by The Ann Arbor Branch of the NAACP and includes public readings, performances of traditional songs, historical re-enactments, cake walks, food, vendors and more.

 

 

Sports

 

Island Lake Triathlon | Brighton

June 1, 7:30 a.m. | Island Lake State Recreation Area

June 2019 Ann Arbor Michigan events things to do

Photo courtesy of Greg Sadler Photography via Epic Races

Island Lake State Recreation Area is the home of the Island Lake Triathlon and is an epic training destination. Participants in this multi-sport event will swim the waters of Kent Lake, bike the park’s rolling hills, and run the final leg to the lakeside finish line. After the race, stick around for post-race festivities, which include a recovery meal and beer tent!

 

Tri Goddess Triathlon | Chelsea

June 23, 7:30 a.m. | Waterloo State Recreation Area

The first-ever all-women triathlon in Michigan, the Tri Goddess Tri is an event organized by women to celebrate women of all abilities. The event is held at the Portage Lake Unit of Waterloo State Recreation Area and includes several different distances, post-race snacks, an epic finisher’s medal and more. And when you register, a portion of proceeds benefit The Sparrow Freedom Project.

 

 

Food + Drink

 

Taste of Ann Arbor | Ann Arbor

June 2, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Main Street

June 2019 Ann Arbor Michigan events things to do

This beloved annual event brings together 40 local restaurants and vendors to show off their goods and their talents on the two blocks of Main Street between William and Washington. Each vendor will offer bite-sized foods to showcase what they do best and ensure you can taste more than one! Tickets for food can be purchased at the event for $1 each and no item will be priced over $4 or four tickets. You can get all the details here.

 

Grillin’ for Food Gatherers | Ann Arbor

June 9, 3 – 8 p.m. | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds

Established in 1988, Food Gatherers was Michigan’s first food rescue program and still works today to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes in our community. Grillin’ for Food Gatherers is their annual fundraiser that includes food and desserts from our area’s best restaurants, live music, a cash bar featuring Michigan microbrews and wines, children’s activities hosted by the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, free massages by Body Wisdom Massage, and a photo booth! To buy your tickets and get more information, click here.

 

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week | Ann Arbor

June 9 – 14 | Various locations

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week is a twice-yearly celebration of local food and business in our hometown. The weeklong event gives you the opportunity to try various Ann Arbor restaurants for one low, fixed price at lunch and dinner. Participating restaurants will offer $18 lunch menus and/or $28 and $38 dinner menus—and some will even be offering two meals for the price of one! To see who is participating and to preview their menus, check out the website here.

 

 

Happy June!

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Kid-Approved Dining in the Ann Arbor Area

the best restaurants for kids in Ann Arbor

We know, kids can be the pickiest eaters in the world. And apparently, so do our local eateries, because many of them offer menus and environments that can make even the pickiest kids want to eat dinner.

We rounded up 15 of the best restaurants in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Dexter and Saline that offer specially designed kids menus, a comfortable and fun atmosphere, and weekly specials — and some on this guide even offer all three!

 

 

The Blue Nile | Ann Arbor

221 E Washington St | Facebook

The Blue Nile is a casual Ethiopian restaurant in Downtown Ann Arbor offering both delectable plates and all-you-can-eat platters. Both options offer meat and vegetarian foods. On the lunch menu, the all-you-can-eat feasts are available for half the price for children under 12 and children under 5 years old eat for free! You can see the lunch menu online here.

 

Conor O’Neill’s | Ann Arbor

318 S Main St | Facebook

the best restaurants for kids in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Conor O’Neill’s

Taking inspiration from real, historic pubs in Ireland, Conor O’Neill’s is the place to go for community fun, social gathering, Irish hospitality, hearty food and great drinks. The pub was even designed and built in Ireland! And their menu amps up the Irish culture even more with meals like fish and chips, Mighty Murray’s Corned Beef & Cabbage, Kate’s Shepherd’s Pie and more. They made this list for the fun atmosphere and their Tuesday special when kids under the age of 12 eat for free with the purchase of an adult meal.

 

Fresh Forage | Ann Arbor

5060 Jackson Rd | Facebook

Fresh Forage fills Ann Arbor’s need for both convenience and health as well as quick and locally sourced. The team’s ingredients are sourced from their own family farms and other local farms, and several are even sustainably foraged from Michigan’s deep woods. Using 100 percent compostable materials, they prepare these meals rapidly so the busy people of Ann Arbor can fuel up on the go. Their Kids Menu offers all these healthy ingredients at a low price and prepared in approachable, kid-friendly meals. You can see it here.

 

Frita Batidos | Ann Arbor

117 W Washington St | Facebook

the best restaurants for kids in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Steve Julin via Frita Batidos

At Frita Batidos, the burgers are the main attraction because a frita is a traditional Cuban burger made from spicy chorizo served with shoestring fries on a soft egg bun. And a batido is a tropical milkshake made with fresh fruit, crushed ice, sweetened milk and rum (optional, of course). The team’s Kid’s Menu offers all of that fun in mini sizes plus shoestring fries and fresh fruit. You can see the full menu here.

 

Harvest Moon Café | Ypsilanti

5484 W Michigan Ave | Facebook

Harvest Moon Café has been a staple of the Ypsi community for more than 30 years, and their home-style menu offers something everyone can love, including the kids! That’s because their Kids Menu is one of the largest on this guide and offers smaller portions of some of their best creations: fish and chips, a slow-roasted turkey dinner, linguine with marinara sauce and more. To see the menu, click here, and don’t forget to order your free kiddie drink!

 

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales + Kitchen | Dexter

2319 Bishop Cir E | Facebook

the best restaurants for kids in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales + Kitchen

Founded by Ron Jeffries in 2004, Jolly Pumpkin began in Dexter and now operates pubs and tap houses in Dexter, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Traverse City, Royal Oak, Grand Rapids and Chicago. In the Dexter tasting room and kitchen, you can enjoy their signature sour beers while your kids enjoy kid-sized portions of fried drumsticks, burgers and cheese pizza. On Family Night every Wednesday, kids can eat free with the purchase of any full price sandwich or pizza.

 

Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery | Ann Arbor

311 S Main St | Facebook

This famous brewery was born in Dexter in 2004 and operates pubs and tap houses in Dexter, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Traverse City, Royal Oak, Grand Rapids and Chicago. In Downtown Ann Arbor, you’ll find Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery, a full-service brewpub serving lunch, dinner, brunch, late-night eats and a large kids menu that offers simple selections alongside adventurous choices (plus three delectable desserts!).

 

Maíz Mexican Cantina | Ypsilanti

36 E Cross St | Facebook

The Maíz team has brought a fresh approach to traditional, Mexican favorites and Tex-Mex specialties. Everything on their menu is made from scratch daily and is made with ingredients from local purveyors and farmers, too! Every Sunday from 12 to 10 p.m., kids ages 10 years and under can enjoy up to two free kids meals with the purchase of any adult entree, and they’ll be enjoying some Mexican classics like quesadillas, tacos and arroz con pollo.  

 

The Original Cottage Inn | Ann Arbor

512 E William St | Facebook

Back in 1948 when it opened, The Original Cottage Inn was Ann Arbor’s first restaurant to serve pizza. Today, they still serve some of the best pies in town as well as classic American, Italian and Greek cuisine. On that extensive menu, you’ll also find several smaller, lower priced, kid-friendly selections, including Pita Pizza, Grilled Cheese and Spaghetti with Meatballs.

 

The Pretzel Bell | Ann Arbor

226 S Main St | Facebook

the best restaurants for kids in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of The Pretzel Bell

The Pretzel Bell was the place to be for students, townies and visitors for more than 50 years. When the doors reopened after a brief closing, it became one of the Tree City’s warmest and coziest spots while still functioning as a popular student hangout. The menu offers a modern take on traditional American comfort food with hearty items like fried chicken and signature burgers. That gourmet style extends to the kids menu where you’ll find items like the Lil’ Bell Burger and Mini Mac topped with a Goldfish cracker topping. From Sunday through Wednesday, kids eat free!

 

Red Brick Kitchen & Bar | Dexter

8093 Main St | Facebook

Red Brick is a small, family-owned restaurant in the heart of Downtown Dexter where their team offers fresh, innovative food alongside craft cocktails and a warm community atmosphere. Adults can enjoy some of the region’s best, most creative comfort foods, and the kid’s menu doesn’t skimp on quality, either. Approachable selections like homemade mac and cheese and chicken tenders come with a side of fries, sweet potato fries, chips, fruit, sauteed vegetables or celery and peanut butter, and on Mondays, kids eat for free with the purchase of an adult entree!

 

Revel & Roll | Ann Arbor

1950 S Industrial Hwy | Facebook

With more than 2,400 square feet of video screens, 100 different arcade games and 27 lanes of bowling, Revel & Roll might be the most kid-approved option on this list. Because, in addition to offering tons of entertainment, they also offer a gourmet menu that covers all the pub favorites—from buffalo chicken nachos and loaded tater tots to a PB&J burger and mouth-watering pizzas.

 

Salt Springs Brewery | Saline

117 S Ann Arbor St | Facebook

Named for Saline’s ancient, historic salt springs, this hometown brewery and restaurant is housed in a beautiful, 118-year-old former church. Undoubtedly one of the most impressive settings in Southeast Michigan, you can enjoy true-to-style ales, wine and cider alongside locally sourced food with stunning stained glass as the backdrop. On Tuesdays, kids eat for free from a menu that includes burgers, sandwiches, pizza and poutine.

 

Zingerman’s Delicatessen | Ann Arbor

422 Detroit St | Facebook

The first business that opened in the Zingerman’s Company was this historic deli; it opened in 1982 with a staff of two. Today, the deli is still located in the small, red brick building across from the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, but you can now choose from an enormous menu of both classic and creative sandwiches, breakfasts, salads, housemade Jewish specialty foods, handmade pot pies and more. In addition to offering a great Kids Menu (which you can see here), they host regular events, including storytime tastings and classes! You can check out that schedule here

 

Zingerman’s Roadhouse | Ann Arbor

2501 Jackson Ave | Facebook

At this all-day restaurant, the Zingerman’s team showcases their favorite things about American food—both locally and nationally. The regular menu includes grits inspired by South Carolina, Maryland-inspired crab cakes, Carolina barbeque, local meat from Washtenaw County, produce from local farms, artisan cheeses, micro-brewed beers, and fine wines sourced from all over the country. The Just for Kids menu offers more approachable, smaller portions of some of our favorite Roadhouse flavors, from Mac n’ Cheese and the BBQ Slider to Roadhouse Corn Dogs and a Fish Plate with the fresh catch of the day. You can see the menu here.

 

Do you have a kid-friendly favorite?

Tell us about it in the comments below!

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The Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in Ann Arbor

Huron River Kayak Ann Arbor Michigan

Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County and the entirety of Southeast Michigan are famous destinations for paddle and water sports. This is thanks in large part to the Huron River, a designated National Water Trail that winds through the entire region and has been developed into one of the best, most beautiful, and easily accessible recreation opportunities in Michigan.

So, if you want to try your hand at kayaking or canoeing, this is a great place to start. Keep reading to find out where you can rent or buy the necessities, where you can sign up for programs, classes and guided trips, and where you can go to paddle both on the river and off.

 

 

Where to Go

The primary reason Southeast Michigan is a haven for kayakers is the rejuvenated Huron River, which meanders through Island Lake Recreation Area over to Dexter, through Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, then all the way to Lake Erie. And though the river offers fantastic waters for kayaking, it’s not the only place where you can practice your paddling!

 

Huron River Water Trail

As we mentioned, the Huron River is a huge kayaking attraction through Southeast Michigan. It winds through some of our favorite communities and is one of only 18 designated National Water Trails. The river trail sees more than 100,000 visitors every year who paddle, float and fish along the water. The 104-mile river offers 32 access sites, an all-abilities access point in Gallup Park and more accessible access points planned.

 

Waterloo State Recreation Area

The largest state park in the Lower Peninsula, Waterloo Recreation Area encompasses 20,000 acres. Home to 11 inland lakes, visitors can paddle in several different surroundings. Overnight campers can rent paddle boats at Sugarloaf Campground and all visitors can rent at the Portage Campground. For more information regarding park activities, click here.

 

Independence Lake County Park

Operated by the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, Independence Lake Park offers countless year-round attractions. During the summer months, the park’s 360 acres feature trails for biking and hiking as well as fishing, boating and swimming in Independence Lake. Featuring both a small dock and a boat launch, you can take off in your own kayak across the water, or rent paddle boats and rowboats on site.

 

Kensington Metropark

Just 40 minutes from Ann Arbor directly above Island Lake Recreation Area, Kensington Metropark is one of the most popular parks in the state of Michigan. Throughout the 4,486 acres, you’ll find an 18-hole golf course, a 27-hole disc golf course, a nature center, a farm center, beautiful picnic areas, and the 1,200-acre Kent Lake. Paddle boats, canoes, kayaks and rowboats are available at the boat rental building near Maple Beach; you can get more information here.

 

Seven Lakes State Park

An hour north of Ann Arbor, Seven Lakes State Park is made up of farmland, rolling hills, forested land and 230 acres of water. During the summer months, you can rent or bring your own rowboats, canoes and paddle boats. Near the swim beach, you’ll find a boat launch, a concession stand for snacks, restrooms and changing courts as well as horseshoes, volleyball and playground equipment.

 

 

What You Need

There’s more to kayaking than just the kayak. Especially if you’re a beginner, there are a few safety items you may want to look into and maybe even a fun accessory or two! If you’re wondering where to start, we suggest stopping by any one of these local facilities or businesses. There, you’ll find local experts, rentals and more.

 

Gallup Park Livery and Argo Park Livery

Argo Park guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

The City of Ann Arbor operates two rental facilities: Gallup Park Livery and Argo Park Livery. Here, they maintain and offer hundreds of boats available on a first come, first served basis. They also offer guided river trips, still water paddle excursions, river programs, festivals, camps for kids, and an annual canoe and kayak auction. Whether you need a boat, need to ask a question, or want expert guidance on the water, start here.

 

Adventure Leadership Rental Center

Adventure Leadership Rental Center is a University of Michigan facility that rents outdoor and recreational equipment to students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. To see their operating hours, click here.

 

REI

Our Ann Arbor REI is a great place to ask questions about local recreation and buy your own equipment. They also offer regular classes and trainings in recreation topics, from the How to Pack a Backpack Workshop to Kayaking Basics and everything in between.

 

Dunham’s Sports

Dunham’s Sports is the Midwest’s largest sporting goods chain. When they opened in 1937, they were just a small bait and tackle shop in West Bloomfield. Today, they have 230 stores, including one in Ann Arbor and one in Ypsilanti. Their available equipment includes kayaks, canoes, boats, life vests and more.

 

Play It Again Sports

Play It Again Sports is the go-to sporting goods store for gently used, lower-priced sports and recreation equipment. The Ann Arbor store is located at Westgate Shopping Center.

 

 

How to Learn

Paddle sports can be dangerous in some cases, and learning the ropes through classes, workshops or guided trips is always a good idea before you take off alone. If you want to practice with an expert or take a class on the basics, keep reading!

 

Gallup Park Livery and Argo Park Livery

Gallup Park guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

In addition to boat rentals, Gallup Park Livery and Argo Park Livery offer great places to learn through guided river trips. In addition to these seasonally available daily trips, their calendar includes special classes and camps in kayaking, fishing and stand up paddleboarding. To see their programs, click here.

 

REI

Our Ann Arbor REI hosts regular classes in several outdoor and recreation topics. That calendar often includes workshops like free Kayaking Basics, free Women’s Kayaking Basics, and even SUP Basics. To see the calendar, click here.

 

Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery

Guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery

Located at Delhi Metropark, Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery is open seasonally and offers some of the best, guided river trips on one of the most scenic stretches of the Huron River. Their lineup includes tubing and kayaking trips between one and four hours and new Guided Glow Paddle trips, which take place at night in kayaks equipped with color-changing LED lights. To learn more, click here.

 

Tecumseh Paddling Company

Located right on the water in Tecumseh, this family-run paddling company offers guided river trips on River Raisin—one of the world’s most crooked rivers—and paddle practice and excursions on Globe Mill and Standish Ponds. Paddle the Ponds is an especially good option for beginners and kids! For more information, check out the website here.

 

Heavner Nature Connection & Canoe Rental

Heavner Nature Connection & Canoe Rental have four locations to make traveling the Huron River easy and convenient. Their main location is at Proud Lake State Recreation Area with others at Island Lake State Recreation Area, Kensington Metropark and Newburgh Lake in Livonia. Their team offers a variety of trips ranging from one-hour, self-return trips to multi-day journeys with transportation back to the canoe rental. To learn more, click here.

 

 

Do you have any tips?

If you love paddling in Southeast Michigan, share your local tips in the comments below!

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The 15 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend May 2019

May events 2019 Ann Arbor Michigan

In our Ann Arbor area communities, April showers bring May festivals. Though summer doesn’t officially start until June, our cities and towns are already celebrating the warmer weather with outdoor events, including car shows, art walks, fairs, fundraisers, 5Ks and river days.

We rounded up the can’t-miss events happening this May so you can take part in all the fun—from indoor film screenings to outdoor community cleanup days. Read more about them below, find links to tickets and registration where necessary, and get ready for a fun-filled month!

 

Jump ahead:

Arts + Culture | Community Celebrations | Sports | Food + Drink

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Arts + Culture 

 

Cinetopia Film Festival | Ann Arbor   

May 10 – 19, various times | Various locations

May events 2019 Ann Arbor Michigan

Specially curated for the community of Southeast Michigan, Cinetopia features the best feature-length dramas, comedies and documentaries shown at the world’s best film festivals, including SXSW, Sundance and more. Outside of screenings, special pre- and post-film events include presentations, discussion panels, and Q&A sessions with directors, writers and stars. The Ann Arbor venues are the Michigan Theater, State Theater and The U-M Hatcher Library with various other events happening in Detroit and the surrounding area. You can see all the ticket and pass info here.

 

Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival | Ann Arbor

May 10 – 15, various times | Michigan Theater

An Ann Arbor tradition for nearly two decades, the Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival is teaming up with Cinetopia Film Festival in 2019. The special program explores the global Jewish experience through the art of filmmaking and you can see all the featured films here.

 

Michigan Vintage Volkswagen Festival | Ypsilanti  

May 18 – 19, various times | Riverside Park

Now in its 32nd year, this car show celebrates all variations of Volkswagens. If you have a vehicle to display, you can pay $15 at the gate, but spectators can enter for just $5 on the day of the festival. Don’t miss the Slow Speed Slalom on Saturday!

 

Westside Art Hop | Ann Arbor

May 19, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Old West Side

Westside Art Hop is presented as Michigan’s quirkiest Art Walk. The twice-yearly event showcases high-quality arts and crafts for sale to the public in a festive atmosphere. While exploring the Old West Side, you can peruse artwork, meet the artists and perhaps even find a new piece for your home!

 

 

Community Celebrations

 

Ann Arbor Bloom Fest | Ann Arbor

May 11, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor

November 2018 events Ann Arbor Michigan

Hosted by Main Street Area Association in Downtown Ann Arbor, Bloom Fest is a celebration of spring with our local businesses. Nearly all day on Saturday, you can enjoy special sales, events, deals, treats and more. To see all the offerings, click here.

 

Meals on Heels | Ypsilanti  

May 16, 5 – 8 p.m. | Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace

Meals on Heels is a fundraising event hosted by Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels. On Thursday evening in Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace, guests can enjoy a glamorous, Gatsby-themed evening celebrating the style of the 1920s while showcasing the flavors and colors of spring in Ypsilanti. Enjoy plenty of local food, drinks and music as accompaniment, plus live demonstrations like cocktail mixing, cooking and floral arranging. You can learn more and get tickets here.

 

Community Cleanup Day | Ypsilanti

May 18, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Various locations

May events 2019 Ann Arbor Michigan

Previously called Ypsilanti Proud, this annual event began as a class project by the 1995 graduating class of Leadership Ypsilanti. Now celebrating its 24th year, the event fosters community pride and encourages local business growth through simple beautification projects. Join more than 500 volunteers on May 18th and help clean up litter, paint and plant flowers. For more information on locations and projects, click here.

 

Water Lantern Festival | Milan

May 18, 5 – 10 p.m. | Milan Beach

This family-friendly event in Milan invites guests to enjoy tasty food trucks, live music and the beautiful sight of hundreds of floating, illuminated lanterns floating on the water at Milan Beach. Your ticket comes with a floating lantern and a marker so you can write your own inspiring message before placing it on the water. For tickets and more information, click here.

 

Huron River Day | Ann Arbor

May 19, 12 – 4 p.m. | Gallup Park

Huron River Day May 2018 events in Ann Arbor, Michigan things to do

Huron River Day is an afternoon full of free, family-friendly river activities at Gallup Park. Attractions will include live music, a butterfly house from the Michigan Native Butterfly Farm, an antique and classic boat show, water activities with the University of Michigan Natural History Museum, live animals from the Leslie Science & Nature Center, and so much more!

 

Milan Fair | Milan

May 30 – June 1, various times | Wilson Park

In 2019, Milan Fair highlights include a carnival, a parade, an artisan market, fireworks, kids’ activities, and an entertainment tent that features live music, dancing, food and adult beverages. In total, the three-day festival includes 18 spectacular events in Wilson Park with something fun for everyone in the family.

 

 

Sports

 

The Color Run | Ypsilanti

May 11, 8 a.m. | Riverside Park  

May events 2019 Ann Arbor Michigan

The Color Run is coming to Riverside Park on May 11th. This wildly happy and fun event includes an untimed 5K run. At each kilometer mark, runners are doused from head to toe in a different colored powder so you can cross the finish line completely tie-dyed. To register, click here.

 

Suburban Chevrolet Ann Arbor Goddess Run | Dexter

May 12, 8:30 a.m. | Hudson Mills Metropark

This Mother’s Day event includes fun pre-race warmups, a 5K course, a one-mile fun run and a 200-meter dash for kids. As a celebration of all the women in our community, you can run individually or run as a couple in the Mother-Daughter category, or invite your grandma to run in the Three Generations of Women category! Get all the details and registration info here.

 

Walk and Wag | Ypsilanti

May 18, 8 a.m. | Rolling Hills Park

Hosted by Humane Society of Huron Valley, this fundraising event assists in the rescue and care of the most vulnerable animals in our community. Bring your family and your pup on race day to enjoy a 5K run or a one-mile walk, as well as games and fun for everyone!

 

 

Food + Drink

 

Ypsi Food Fight | Ypsilanti

May 18, 5 – 8 p.m. | Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace

A fundraiser to benefit Growing Hope, Ypsi Food Fight brings together six local restaurants, five judges and hundreds of guests (that’s you!). The restaurants will battle it out in a friendly, foodie, high-energy competition and all guests get to sample the dishes and vote for their favorite. To get your tickets, click here.

 

Camp Bacon | Dexter

May 31, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Zingerman’s Cornman Farms

Zingerman's Camp Bacon 2019

Photo courtesy of Emma Boonstra via Zingerman’s Community of Businesses

As one of Southeast Michigan’s favorite annual events, Camp Bacon brings together food lovers, historians and community members for an entire week of fun and bacon. The main event, Camp Bacon, is scheduled for May 31st from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Zingerman’s Cornman Farms. However, Zingerman’s Community of Businesses is hosting several other events throughout the week at various venues, including the Camp Bacon Film Festival on May 29th, the 10th Annual Bacon Ball on May 30th, and the Camp Bacon Street Fair on June 2nd. For more information and the full schedule, click here.

 

 

Happy May!

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16 Easter Events and Egg Hunts in the Ann Arbor Area 2019

Easter 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

This year, Easter falls on April 21st, but our Ann Arbor area communities are celebrating long before. Beginning April 13th, you’ll find plenty more opportunities to meet the bunny and hunt for eggs.

Keep reading to start planning your family-friendly fun in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Saline, Dexter, Chelsea and Plymouth. And we mean the whole family as some of these events are open to your dogs, too!

 

 

Easter Bunny Photo Time | Ann Arbor

March 22 – April 20 | Briarwood Mall

Briarwood Mall is hosting the Easter Bunny for nearly an entire month before Easter. Kids are welcome to meet him and snap commemorative photos. For the full schedule, click here.

 

Easter Egg Hunt at West Side UMC | Ann Arbor

April 13, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Ann Arbor West Side United Methodist Church

Easter 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

Free and open to everyone, West Side UMC is hosting an Easter egg hunt on the grounds of their church on April 13th. Children through 5th grade are welcome to hunt for eggs and stick around for games, crafts and storytime.

 

Easter Bunny Photos at The Pet Emporium | Ann Arbor

April 14, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. | The Pet Emporium

The Pet Emporium is hosting a kid and pet-friendly event where all ages and all types of pets can meet the Easter Bunny and get photos taken. Photo sheets cost $15 and all profits support Greyhound Expressions. For more information, check out the Facebook event here.

 

Fur Ball Egg Hunt | Ypsilanti

April 14, 2 – 4 p.m. | Fur Ball Society

Easter 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

Local dog daycare and pet sitting service, Fur Ball Society is hosting the Fur Ball Egg Hunt for dogs on April 14th. The event will feature a large fenced area where dogs can find plastic eggs filled with prizes. Make sure to stick around to snap a photo with the Easter Bunny! To get your tickets, click here.

 

Easter Eggstravaganza at Woodside | Plymouth

April 14, 5 – 7 p.m. | Woodside Bible Church

Woodside Bible Church in Plymouth is hosting a free evening of Easter fun complete with an egg hunt, crafts, food, games and more. The event is open to the entire community so bring the whole family along!

 

Pet Photos with the Easter Bunny | Ann Arbor

April 14, 6 – 7:30 p.m. | Briarwood Mall

Your human kids can meet the Easter Bunny at Briarwood Mall through April 20th, but your dog only has one more chance on April 14th! Bring your pet between 6 and 7:30 p.m. to get your festive photos.

 

Passover and Easter Storytime Tasting | Ann Arbor

April 19, 10:30 – 11 a.m. | Zingerman’s Upstairs Next Door

The Zingerman’s Just for Younger Kids tasting series invites kids between the ages of 2 and 5 to hear a story and learn to taste like an expert. And this special event will have a festive twist—kids’ admission costs $10 and parents attend for free! You can reserve your spot here.

 

Easter Eggstravaganza | Dexter

April 20, 10 a.m. | Community Park

Easter 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

The City of Dexter is hosting their beloved Easter Eggstravaganza for the 9th year in a row on April 20th. Attractions include live bunnies, egg scrambles, pictures with the Easter Bunny, face painting and more. You can purchase tickets in advance at a discount, or on-site for $3 per child and $5 for two or more children. For more details, click here.

 

SpringFest | Saline

April 20, 11:30 a.m. – 1:40 p.m. | Saline Recreation Center

Saline Recreation’s SpringFest is a family-friendly event packed with spring and Easter-themed fun. During the event, you can join in the egg hunt with your own basket, have lunch with Mr. Bunny, meander the Hippity Hop Trail, and dive in the leisure pool for the Egg Dive. For full event details, check out the event on Facebook here.

 

Easter Egg Hunt at Vineyard Church | Ann Arbor

April 20, 10 – 11:30 a.m. | Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor

The annual egg hunt at Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor is a favorite local Easter event. Free and open to all, this year’s event will begin with breakfast at 10 a.m. followed by an egg hunt, inflatables, pony rides, face painting and a petting zoo. For event updates, check out the Facebook event here.

 

Spring Bunny Tea | Ann Arbor

April 20, 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. | Eat More Tea

Easter 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

Spring Bunny Tea is an event hosted by Eat More Tea and designed specifically for kids. For $12 per person, you can enjoy an afternoon tea complete with light refreshments. Reservations are required and you can make yours by leaving a message at (734) 882-2787. For updates, check out the Facebook event here.

 

Dragon Egg Workshop at Unicorn Feed & Supply | Ypsilanti

April 20, 2 – 4 p.m. | Unicorn Feed & Supply

Unicorn Feed & Supply is celebrating Easter weekend with dragon eggs instead of chicken eggs. At this drop-in workshop, you’re invited to create your very own magical dragon egg guided by local artist Amy Balzer-Pemberton. Open to all ages, this event costs $12 and you can get more information on the Facebook event page here.

 

Easter Egg Hunt at Stony Creek United Methodist Church | Ypsilanti

April 21, 11: 30 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Stony Creek United Methodist Church

Easter 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

On Easter Sunday, Stony Creek United Methodist Church is hosting an egg hunt immediately after church service. For updates, check out the Facebook event here.

 

The Village Conference Center Easter Brunch | Chelsea

April 21, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | The Village Conference Center

The Village Conference Center at Comfort Inn is hosting an Easter brunch on Sunday morning complete with a chef-attended omelet and waffle station, gourmet macaroni and cheese, applewood smoked ham, and more. Reservations cost $25 per adult, $21 per senior, $13 for kids aged 6 to 12 years, and children 5 years and younger are admitted for free. Make your reservations by calling (734) 433-8000.

 

The Polo Fields Golf & Country Club Easter Sunday Brunch | Ann Arbor

April 21, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | The Polo Fields Golf & Country Club

The Polo Fields Golf & Country Club is hosting an Easter brunch open to members and non-members. A few of the breakfast attractions include an omelet station, a crepe station, a seafood bar and a carving station. You can see the full menu and get price details here.

 

Paesano Easter Brunch Buffet | Ann Arbor

April 21, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Paesano

Paesano is an award-winning Ann Arbor restaurant famous for its Italian-inspired meals and their impressive wine list. On Easter Sunday, you can join them for a special Easter brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. but reservations are required. Call (734) 971-0484 to make yours.

 

 

Happy Easter!

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