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The Ultimate Guide to Annual Events in Ann Arbor

free summer events in Ann Arbor Michigan

Whether we’re in the freezing temperatures of winter or under the beautiful summer sun, Ann Arbor certainly knows how to celebrate. Our beloved hometown hosts some of Michigan’s biggest and best annual events—from nationally acclaimed music and film festivals to Main Street fairs and everything in between.

To make sure you don’t miss a thing, we rounded up Ann Arbor’s major events happening every single year—and some have been going strong for more than half a century!

 

 

Ann Arbor Folk Festival

January

Ann Arbor Folk Festival, a fundraiser for The Ark, began in 1977 and is now one of Ann Arbor’s most anticipated annual events. Over the course of two days, Hill Auditorium hosts the likes of Gregory Alan Isakov, Rufus Wainwright, Haley Heynderickx, Brandi Carlile and more. Tickets sell out every year, so follow The Ark on Facebook to get updates.

 

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week

January and June

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week is a twice-yearly event hosted by the Main Street Area Association. The event brings together upwards of 50 restaurants all over town, which offer special lunch and/or dinner menus for a fixed price. It’s a great opportunity to introduce yourself to some of our town’s best local eats!

 

Ann Arbor Film Festival

March

free spring events in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Film Festival

One of Ann Arbor’s most important annual events, the Ann Arbor Film Festival presents 40 programs with more than 180 films from over 20 countries highlighting all lengths and genres, including experimental, animation, documentary, fiction and performance-based works. Founded by George Manupelli in 1963, the festival is the oldest avant-garde and experimental film festival in North America. Follow the team on Facebook for updates on tickets and special events.

 

Ann Arbor Marathon  

March

Whether you’re walking your first 5K or running your tenth marathon, this Epic Races event offers something for everyone. Beginning just outside of The Big House, each course winds through downtown Ann Arbor and through the University of Michigan campus. The longer races also traverse stretches of the Huron River, Gallup Park and Nichols Arboretum before returning to downtown. To learn more about the marathon and see all of the events hosted by Epic Races throughout the year, click here.

 

FOOLmoon

April

Considered one of the community’s favorite annual events, FoolMoon is the nighttime kick-off event to a very foolish weekend hosted by Wonderfool Productions. The celebration takes place in downtown Ann Arbor with tons of dancing, laughing and handmade luminaries. Other attractions include interactive installations, laser shows, live performances, DJs and a beer tent. You can even make your own luminary at several workshops in advance! For details, follow the Wonderfool Productions team on Facebook here.

 

FestiFools

April

free spring events in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Myra Klarman Photography via Wonderfool Productions

FestiFools is Wonderfool Productions’ daytime event of foolishness and art. The enormous public art spectacular showcases creations made by members of the community and U-M students. You can make your own puppet or come down to Main Street to watch the procession of colorful, bizarre, human-powered paper-mâché creations for an entire hour of fun!

 

Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival

April

The Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival is an annual celebration hosted by the Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival Planning Committee, a coalition of local environmental nonprofits and agencies, and the Leslie Science & Nature Center. At this free, family-friendly event, guests can enjoy displays from 40 local organizations, live animal demonstrations, hands-on activities, live entertainment and much more.

 

Cinetopia Film Festival

May

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 typically the Michigan Theater, State Theater and The U-M Hatcher Library with various other events happening in Detroit and the surrounding area. You can find all the ticket and pass info here.

 

Ann Arbor Bloom Fest

May

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

 

Huron River Day

May

In celebration of our beautiful river, Huron River Day is an afternoon full of free, family-friendly river activities at Gallup Park. Attractions in the past have included 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!

 

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week

June and January

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week is a twice-yearly event hosted by the Main Street Area Association. The event brings together upwards of 50 restaurants all over town, which offer special lunch and/or dinner menus for a fixed price. It’s a great opportunity to introduce yourself to some of our town’s best local eats!

 

Sonic Lunch

June – August

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

 

Treeverb Music Festival

June

As the newest event on this guide, Treeverb held its inaugural music festival on June 1, 2019. Free and open to the public, the festival brings both national and local artists to the stage in downtown Ann Arbor for a full day of live music entertainment. Other attractions include food trucks, a beer tent and, of course, all the attractions of downtown Ann Arbor! For event updates, follow the team on Facebook here.

 

African American Downtown Festival

June

This festival has been a tradition in downtown Ann Arbor for more than two decades and today offers even more fun and entertainment. That lineup includes street and stage performances, dancing, local vendors and information booths, kid-friendly fun and more. For updates, check out the website here.

 

Ya’ssoo Greek Festival

June

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!

 

Ann Arbor Summer Festival

June

free summer events in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Myra Klarman Photography via Ann Arbor Summer Festival

As the can’t-miss, arts-centered event of the summer, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival offers world-class entertainment in comedy, cinema, food, jazz, pop and rock, acoustic, spoken word and public radio every year. Though some events are ticketed, the great majority of festival happenings are admission-free concerts, workshops and classes! You can see those listed on the website here.

 

Green Fair

June

A tradition for nearly two decades, the Mayor’s Green Fair comes to Main Street every June. In celebration of our community’s environmental leadership, the event closes 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

June

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.

 

Taste of Ann Arbor

June

This beloved annual event hosted by Main Street Area Association brings together dozens of 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 offers bite-sized foods to showcase what they do best and to ensure you can taste more than one! Tickets for food can be purchased at the event for $1 each and no item is priced over $4 or four tickets.

 

Rolling Sculpture Car Show

July

Hosted by Main Street Area Association, the annual Rolling Sculpture Car Show returns to Main, Liberty and Washington Streets in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor every July. The event itself is free and open to the public and all cars are welcome to exhibit for a pre-registration fee of $20. On the day of the show, guests can enjoy 300 exotic, antique, classic and one-of-a-kind cars, live music from local artists, and family activities provided by The Ann Arbor District Library.

 

Ann Arbor Art Fair

July

free summer events in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Art Fair

Kicked off by the Townie Street Party and hosted in conjunction with the State Street Art Fair, Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair and Ann Arbor’s South University Art Fair, the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair has grown into one of our hometown’s largest and most beloved annual events. All around town, you’ll find stage performances, street performers and street painting, an art activity zone, a youth art fair, and even more.

 

Ann Arbor Blues Festival

August

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. Every August, it all comes back to the Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds for an all-ages music event you don’t want to miss. For information and tickets to this year’s event, click here.

 

Ann Arbor Pride

August

Originally called OUTFest, Ann Arbor Pride has been showcasing equality and LGBTQ support for decades. Throughout the Kerrytown District, guests can enjoy a parade, face painting, family-friendly activities, presentations, a silent auction and more. And proceeds from the event benefit the local organization Jim Toy Community Center!

 

Ann Arbor Antiques Market

October

Established in 1968, this historic antique market has been fueling our love of home decor and vintage finds for more than 50 years. Admission is below $10 with free parking and kids are admitted for free! Come by every October to peruse antiques, jewelry, paintings, mid-century and industrial design, folk art, repurposed furniture and more. It’s the perfect place to get some holiday shopping done!

 

Jewish Book & Arts Festival

October

This huge, multi-week festival celebrates culture and arts of all kinds but is heavily anchored by authors as it has been for the past three decades. Most of the events are free to attend and the authors, performers, artists, topics and projects are Jewish or have significant Jewish connections. Check out the schedule for this year’s event here.

 

Midnight Madness

November

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, downtown Ann Arbor businesses stay open late for one of our community’s favorite shopping events. Main Street Area Association’s Midnight Madness includes holiday specials inside shops and restaurants, as well as visits by Santa Claus and Miss Washtenaw County and performances by various outdoor entertainers.

 

Kerrytown KindleFest

November

Coinciding with Midnight Madness on Main Street, Kerrytown KindleFest is Ann Arbor’s version of the German tradition Christkindlmarkt. In the same location as the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, you’ll find artisans, farmers and retailers selling their holiday wares, plus traditional food like pretzels, bratwursts, roasted nuts, Glühwein (a mulled wine) and beer. Then, you can shop Kerrytown retail businesses that will be open late and grab a spot around a fire pit for warmth and s’mores!

 

Is your favorite event missing?

Please tell us about it 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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Everything You Can Do in Waterloo Recreation Area

things to do in Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

Waterloo Recreation Area offers more than 20,000 acres of outdoor paradise just minutes from Ann Arbor in Chelsea and is the largest park in the Lower Peninsula. Especially famous for its campgrounds, mountain biking trails and educational opportunities, guests in the park can walk or ride more than 40 miles of multi-use trail, boat and fish, visit the Gerald Eddy Discovery Center, bike the DTE Energy Foundation Trail, rent kayaks and canoes, play on swimming beaches, camp, hunt, play disc golf, and even ride horses.

Directly adjacent to Pinckney Recreation Area, the two open spaces offer a combined 31,500 acres of wilderness to explore and it’s all connected by the 36-mile Waterloo-Pinckney Trail!

To learn about all the ways you can explore Waterloo, keep reading.

 

 

Ride horses with Horse ‘N Around Stables.

things to do in Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

Waterloo Recreation Area offers 18 miles of horseback riding trails accessible to anyone. If you don’t have your own horse, stop by Horse ‘N Around Stables for guided trail rides, riding lessons and even kid-friendly summer camps! Their trail ride offerings include moonlight rides and special occasion BBQ picnic rides with Hotel Hickman Chuckwagon BBQ; to see all the options, dates and prices, click here.

If you do have your own horse, the park also offers equestrian camping at the Waterloo Equestrian-Rustic Campground where sites are available on a first come, first served basis.

 

Bike the DTE Energy Foundation Trail.

The DTE Energy Foundation Trail is a multi-use trail that loops through Waterloo Recreation Area. Though it’s still being developed and grown—with plenty of help from international mountain biking associations—the trail already offers multiple different loops and more than 10 miles to explore. The planning vision includes five loops with one loop built per year over five years for a total of 25 miles. For more information and updates, click here.

 

Visit the Gerald Eddy Discovery Center.

A great way to introduce yourself to our natural surroundings inside Waterloo, The Discovery Center explores the glacial geology of the region, the diverse natural habitats and the many recreation opportunities available in the park and the Chelsea area. Established in 1981, the facility offers educational exhibits, special programs and even year-round events.

 

Play disc golf.

Located near Portage Lake—along with a boat launch, the public beach, a concession stand and a campground—you’ll find an 18-hole disc golf course open to the public. Be sure to bring your own frisbees!

 

Camp overnight.

things to do in Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

As the largest park in the Lower Peninsula, Waterloo Recreation Area is one of the most popular places for camping. In total, the park offers nine different campgrounds, which include equestrian camping, modern camping, rustic camping with limited amenities, a group campsite, an accessible and reservable yurt, multiple rustic cabins and a modern cabin. The Sugarloaf Campground even has an ADA accessible playground! To see a full list of campgrounds, click here.

 

Go fishing.

With a whopping 11 fishing lakes inside the park, this is a popular activity in Waterloo. While doing so, you may catch bass, panfish and pike, but be sure to get your fishing license first! For more information on that, click here.

 

Take a hike.

A variety of trails are available for hiking, including nature trails at the Discovery Center and the 36-mile Waterloo-Pinckney Trail that traverses from Big Portage Lake to Green Lake and further into Pinckney Recreation Area. Additionally, the new DTE Energy Foundation Trail offers more than 10 miles of loops and will soon consist of 25 miles to explore.

 

Watch wildlife.

Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

One of the most popular activities in Waterloo is viewing sandhill cranes which nest and migrate throughout the region. Directly adjacent to the park on the west side, you’ll find the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Audubon Sanctuary, a bird sanctuary that consists of more than 1,000 acres and is famous for its sandhill cranes. Also in the park, you may encounter deer, wild turkeys, ducks, coyotes and more.

 

Visit Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Audubon Sanctuary.

As we mentioned, the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Audubon Sanctuary is an Audubon sanctuary located on the west end of Waterloo. Though outside the park, the sanctuary offers more than 1,000 acres of trails and wildlife observation opportunities. Renowned for its sandhill cranes, a record 8,177 cranes were counted on one fall afternoon as they landed in Mud Lake Marsh. To learn more about visiting the sanctuary, click here.

 

Kayak on a lake.

things to do in Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

One of the most popular activities in Southeast Michigan, Waterloo offers spectacular settings for still water kayaking. The park’s 11 inland lakes are all available for paddle sports and you can even rent rowboats at the Portage Campground near Portage Lake. Campers can also rent kayaks, canoes and rowboats at Sugarloaf Campground.

 

Swim at the public beach.

With 11 inland lakes and the recreation gem that is Portage Lake, Waterloo offers tons of water recreation opportunities. Day-use swimmers should head to the public beach at the Portage Lake Unit, and registered campers can also take a dip at the beach accessible from the Sugarloaf Campground.

 

Hunt for deer, turkey and small game.

Waterloo Recreation Area is open to hunting for all species following regular state regulations. Opportunities include deer, wild turkey and small game throughout the mix of open brush, open meadows, wetland habitat and mature hardwood forest. Hunters should be aware of private lands, hikers and equestrian trails throughout the open hunting areas; to learn more about the open areas, check out the Mi-HUNT map here. And to learn about the proper licenses, click here.

 

Hit the trails for cross-country skiing.

During our snowy months, all the trails within Waterloo are open for cross-country skiers, offering more than 40 miles of ungroomed exploration. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources put together a map of recommended cross-country ski trails, which you can see here.

 

Hike on snowshoes.

things to do in Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

All the trails within Waterloo are open to snowshoeing throughout the winter. Though they’re not groomed, this offers more than 40 miles of snowy trekking. To see a list of all the park’s trails, click here.

 

Go snowmobiling.

When snow falls, the majority of the park is open to snowmobiling. Check out the snowmobile map here to see these specific areas.

 

 

What do you love about Waterloo Recreation Area?

Are you a camper, a horseback rider or a cross-country skier? In the comments below, let us know what you love to do in our region’s largest park!

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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

White space

White space

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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What to Do in Ann Arbor in the Spring

what to do in spring in Ann Arbor Michigan

Spring sees the last of our bitter cold days and welcomes the warm, summer sun back to Ann Arbor. Through the transition, our community celebrates with huge annual events, blooming gardens, bountiful harvests, and plenty of outdoor adventure.

To help you make the most of the season, we created a guide to spring activities in Ann Arbor and our surrounding communities. From the hyper-local community gardens and farmers market events of Ann Arbor to the wilds of Waterloo Recreation Area in Chelsea, here’s everything you need to do this spring. Enjoy!

 

1. Attend a seasonal event.

Zingerman's Camp Bacon 2019

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

Though community events don’t ever stop here in the Ann Arbor area, they certainly increase during the warmer months. Spring brings us some of our most beloved happenings, like FOOLmoon and FestiFools, Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival, Cinetopia Film Festival, Camp Bacon, Ypsilanti Proud, and so many more.

On the Reinhart blog, we post monthly event guides so you can stay up-to-date on our community’s most exciting events. First, check out The 11 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend April 2019. Follow us on the blog here or on our Facebook page here for our upcoming May and June guides, too!

 

2. Visit a community garden.

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

Spring is planting season, and here in the Ann Arbor area, you don’t have to have an at-home garden to celebrate. In fact, Project Grow operates more than 20 garden sites around Ann Arbor, including plots at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Leslie Science and Nature Center, and West Park! To learn more about community gardens in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Chelsea and Dexter, check out our list of Community Gardens in the Ann Arbor Area. Our guide includes garden plots you can rent and grow yourself, as well as community gardens maintained for charitable and educational purposes.

 

3. Go to the dog park.

As snow melts and we get sneak peeks of summer weather, there might be no one else who is as excited as your dog. Your pups are free to play and explore outdoors without snow or cold and in some regional dog parks, they can even play in the water! To help you and your four-legged family members explore the area, we rounded up The Best Dog Parks Near Ann Arbor, Mapped. It includes details on local spots like Brighton Recreation Area where your dog can play on one of the state’s only dog-friendly beaches, Mill Pond Dog Park which is the only local park that offers off-leash water access, and Swift Run Dog Park right here in Ann Arbor — at ten acres, it’s the largest dog park in the city!

 

4. Shop the farmers market.

Ann Arbor Farmers Market

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Farmers Market

Here in Ann Arbor, you can shop the Ann Arbor Farmers Market year-round on Saturdays. But beginning in May, market hours get longer and you can shop two days a week—Wednesday and Saturday. Monthly Food Truck Rallies return in May, too! These community events bring together some of Michigan’s best food trucks once a month from May through October for a full evening of fun in Kerrytown. For complete details, hours and dates on this year’s market, click here.

 

5. Sign up for a CSA program.

In addition to local farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture—or CSA programs—are an excellent way to get local meat, veggies, fruit and/or eggs directly from a local farmer. These programs invite people of the community (like you!) to invest in a local farm for the season and those paying members get to enjoy the annual harvest however abundant it may be. Typically, you pay a one-time fee at the beginning of the season. Then, you get to be a part of the farm community and enjoy a portion of the harvest every week.

Since Southeast Michigan has been built largely upon our agricultural history, our community boasts several thriving, local and family-run farms, and many of these farms offer CSA programs! A few of our favorites include Tantré Farm, Community Farm of Ann Arbor, Raindance Organic Farm and Sunseed Farm.

 

6. Visit Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum are two educational and environmental spaces on the UM campus. The botanical gardens include eleven outdoor areas full of bonsai, native and medicinal plants, perennials and more. The arboretum spans miles of trails and land with impressive collections of both native and exotic trees and shrubs. Together, they provide trails, lawns and stunning gardens—especially stunning during full bloom in the spring.

 

7. Kayak the Huron River.

Huron River Kayak Ann Arbor Michigan

Ann Arbor and its surrounding communities have developed along the banks of the Huron River amid countless lakes and ponds suitable for paddle sports. So, whether you want a challenging route down the river or a peaceful float atop a lake, you’ll find the perfect setting right here.

Some of the best places to get on the river can be found in Argo Park and Gallup Park, which are connected by the Huron River and home to the Argo Canoe Livery and the Gallup Park Canoe Livery, respectively. Through these facilities, you can embark on guided adventures, rent equipment and even attend river-themed events like the Huron River Day Festival, which happens every May!

 

8. Explore our city parks.

The City of Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation maintains 159 parks and 15 park facilities offering everything from hands-on experiences at Cobblestone Farm to swim lessons at Fuller Park Outdoor Pool. On the long list of activities available throughout these outdoor areas, you’ll find disc golf courses at Bandemer and Mary Beth Doyle, a dirt bike course at Bandemer, more than ten acres of off-leash dog area, an outdoor skate park at Veterans Memorial Park, soccer and softball fields, basketball and tennis courts, and so much more.

To see the full list of parks and activities, click here.

 

9. Head to Waterloo Recreation Area.

Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

Directly adjacent to Pinckney Recreation Area, Waterloo Recreation Area offers more than 20,500 acres of outdoor paradise just minutes from Ann Arbor near Chelsea. Especially famous for its campgrounds, mountain biking trails and educational opportunities, guests in the park can walk or ride more than 40 miles of multi-use trail, boat and fish, visit the Gerald Eddy Discovery Center, bike the DTE Energy Foundation Trail, rent kayaks and canoes, play on swimming beaches, camp, hunt, play disc golf on an 18-hole course, and even ride horses. There are 18 miles of horseback riding trails accessible to anyone, and Horse ‘N Around Stables offers guided trail rides and riding lessons.

Together, Pinckney Recreation Area and Waterloo Recreation Area offer a combined 31,500 acres of wilderness to explore and they’re connected by the 36-mile Waterloo-Pinckney Trail.

 

10. Grab a spot on the patio.

Our Ann Arbor community certainly loves being outdoors—whether we’re lounging in a park, exploring a nearby trail or simply enjoying a meal under the sun. And there are plenty of places to do all three. When you’re looking for a meal and a patio, check out The 16 Best Outdoor Patios in Ann Arbor. Our guide includes local businesses like Bill’s Beer Garden, a beer garden and community gathering space that’s open seasonally from March through October, and Dominick’s, a local legend famous for potent sangria, Italian-inspired eats and outdoor seating.

 

Happy Spring!

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Community Gardens in the Ann Arbor Area

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

Through decades of history, our Ann Arbor area communities have been built around agriculture. As a result, our neighborhoods are home to thriving family farms, year-round farmers markets, several food and agriculture-based organizations, and dozens of community gardens.

This history has cultivated some of the most important organizations serving our communities, too! For example, Food Gatherers runs a Plant-A-Row program which invites gardeners anywhere to grow extra food for community food pantries. A few community gardens even have designated areas for Plant-A-Row and Food Gatherers.

We the People Growers Association is another force behind urban farming in Washtenaw County. This local farm business was founded by Melvin Parson, the man behind several community gardens in the area, and is working to build the We the People Opportunity Center, a world-class, nonprofit, urban farm in Ypsilanti. To find out how you can help, follow the team on Facebook here.

If you want to grow your own food, build community and help our local organizations, gardening is one of the best ways to do it. And while community gardens are great settings, these plots aren’t always easy to find. To help you find your new gardening home, we rounded up more than 35 community gardens operated by volunteers and organizations throughout Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Chelsea and Dexter.

Keep reading to learn more about each garden or organization, and keep in mind some sections have information on more than one garden site. Happy planting!

 

Click to jump ahead and find:

Gardens where you can grow your own food or gardens developed for educational + charitable purposes

White space

Gardens where you can grow your own food

 

Project Grow | Ann Arbor

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

Photo courtesy of Project Grow

Project Grow is one of the driving forces behind urban farming and community gardens in the Ann Arbor area. This organization operates more than 20 garden sites around Ann Arbor, including plots at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Leslie Science and Nature Center, and West Park. On the list, you’ll also find three different Discovery Gardens which offer raised beds for limited mobility gardeners. To see the full list, click here.

 

Pittsfield Township Community Garden | Ann Arbor

The Pittsfield Township Master Plan includes initiatives to increase local food availability and their first community garden is working to do just that. Open Spring 2019, the Community Garden at Prairie Park will feature more than 15 different beds, six of which are located on an ADA Accessible surface. Other on-site materials include compost bins, an equipment shed, a pollinator garden and rain barrels. For more information on reserving your plot, click here.

 

Frog Island Park Community Garden | Ypsilanti  

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

The community garden at Frog Island Park is maintained by the adjacent neighborhoods at the north end, and plots are available to rent on a sliding scale. Open to all residents of the City of Ypsilanti and all skill levels, gardeners are welcome to grow both vegetable and flowers. For more information, check out the group, Frog Island Community Garden (FICG) on Facebook.

 

Parkridge Community Garden | Ypsilanti

Developed and maintained on city-owned land next to Parkridge Community Center, the Parkridge Community Garden is a hidden gem in Ypsilanti operated by a dedicated group of volunteers and community members. To find out how you can help cultivate the garden and when you can attend special events, join the group on Facebook here.  

 

Normal Park Neighborhood Association | Ypsilanti

With assistance from Growing Hope and nearby neighborhoods, Normal Park Neighborhood Association developed three community gardens around Ypsi, including Recreation Park Community Garden, West Middle School Community Garden and Midtown Community Garden, which was developed with the Midtown Neighborhood Association. Plots in these gardens are available through registration and are open to all skill levels for planting organic fruits, vegetables and flowers.

 

Chelsea Community Garden | Chelsea

The Chelsea Community Garden at Timber Town Park has plots available by reservation so residents can grow their own organic vegetables and flowers. And as a gardener in this tight-knit community, your household is expected to contribute at least six hours per plot in the gardening season to help with composting, mowing, weeding, administrative duties and more. For full details, click here.

 

City of Dexter Community Garden | Dexter

Dexter’s community garden is located at 7651 Dan Hoey Road and plots are assigned to residents on a first come, first served basis. They offer three different sizes and types of plots, which you can reserve here.

 

 

Gardens developed for educational + charitable purposes

 

Help Yourself Garden at University of Michigan School of Dentistry | Ann Arbor

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

The University of Michigan has several gardens on campus, including the Campus Farm available to students and interns. Many of these gardens aren’t open to community members, but the Help Yourself Garden at the School of Dentistry is open to everyone! Begun in 2014 as a community resource, the garden is maintained by staff, students and faculty from the School of Dentistry. Anyone walking by is welcome to plant, water and weed, take photos, and even harvest your own veggies to take home. For more information, click here.

 

Children’s Services Community Garden | Ann Arbor

This community garden began at the Washtenaw County Youth Center in 2008 by local celebrity Lisa Gottlieb. Today, the garden is directed and guided by a group of Washtenaw County Master Gardeners and community volunteers, but students do all the planting, tending, harvesting and cooking. Together, they grow more than 40 types of vegetables and 10 herbs.

 

Ypsilanti District Library | Ypsilanti

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

Ypsilanti District Library maintains gardens at YDL-Whittaker, YDL-Michigan and YDL-Superior. These include a community vegetable garden, The Learning Garden and a pollinator garden developed specially for bees. Through these gardens, you can learn about growing and cultivating your own garden. The Learning Garden welcomes any aspiring gardeners to lend a hand and learn. Additionally, fresh produce is given away to library visitors during the growing season!

The Seed Library is another great resource for local gardeners at Ypsilanti District Library. Available to anyone at YDL-Whittaker and YDL-Michigan with or without a library card, this library is a collection of seeds that anyone can take from and contribute to.

 

The Farm at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor | Ypsilanti  

The land that is now home to St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor was once a family farm, and in 2010, they honored that history by breaking ground on one of the first hospital-based farms in the United States. Today, The Farm serves both as a staff community garden and as a tool for hospital patients and the community to learn, heal and eat locally grown food. If you want to taste the food for yourself, stop by the farmers market that pops up in the main lobby every Wednesday. To learn more about the educational opportunities and facilities on-site, click here.

 

Growing Hope | Ypsilanti

Growing Hope is a local organization that serves to improve our lives and our communities through gardening and through increased access to healthy food. The Growing Hope Urban Farm began with just 1.5 acres in 2008 and has grown into a community gathering space, educational facility and setting where vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers can flourish. To get hands-on at the farm, check out Growing Hops events here which include Farm & Garden Volunteer Days, cleanup days, special celebrations and more.

 

The Cooperative at Dawn Farm | Ypsilanti

This farm is located on 64 acres of the Dawn Farm property in Ypsi. When it began, the program served to put the land to better use and that mission has grown into a beautiful cooperative of varied growers, farmers and stewards who have built the perfect setting for flower growing, beekeeping, vegetable harvesting and even sheep raising. Currently, the land is home to an eight-acre food forest, bees, personal gardens, a market garden and Project Mow which is a sheep lawn mowing service. And the member program is driven by a gift and service system rather than a monetary one. Each member is encouraged to give back to Dawn Farm in an appropriate way of their own choosing, whether it’s through homegrown food, education, system design, community outreach or something else. To stay up-to-date on Cooperative events, follow the team on Facebook here.

 

 

Happy growing!

If we missed your favorite community garden, tell us about it in the comments below.

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The 11 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend April 2019

April 2019 Events in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Good news, Ann Arbor. Spring is officially here! To welcome the new season, our community is hosting Earth Day celebrations, seasonal expositions and some of our favorite annual events (looking at you, FoolMoon!).

We rounded up the essential events happening throughout the Ann Arbor area this month, so you can celebrate Easter, Earth Day and more. Enjoy!

 

Jump ahead:

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

 

 

Arts + Culture

 

Michigan State University Science Festival | Various locations

April 5 – 20, various times | Various locations

April 2019 Events in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Michigan State University is hosting a science festival during the month of April with events on campus in East Lansing and all around the state. Here in the Ann Arbor area, you can join in the educational fun at events at Sherzer Observatory on the Eastern Michigan University campus, at Yankee Air Museum, and even in Detroit. To see the full schedule of events, click here.

 

Cabaret 2019: An Evening to Remember | Ann Arbor

April 13, 6:30 p.m. | North Campus Research Complex, Building 18

On Saturday, April 13th, the UMS Ambassadors, UMS Board Chair and UMS Cabaret founder Sarah Nicoli are celebrating with an evening of food, fun and show tunes provided by University of Michigan musical theater students and alumni. The best part is all proceeds support UMS K-12 Education programming! For tickets, click here.

 

Spring Fiber Expo | Ann Arbor

April 13 – 14, various times | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds

Once during the spring and again during the fall, the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds are filled with fiber products of all kinds. Come by to shop, learn and meet makers of wool, linen and cotton crafts, see real alpacas and more! Children 12 years and under are admitted for free, while adults pay just $4 cash for one day or $6 for two.

 

 

Community Celebrations

 

FOOLmoon | Ann Arbor

April 5, 7 – 10 p.m. | Ann Arbor Farmers Market in Kerrytown

FoolMoon and FestiFools Things to do in Ann Arbor, Michigan in April 2018

Photo courtesy of Ryan Stanton via WonderFool Productions

Considered one of the community’s favorite annual events, FoolMoon is the nighttime kick-off event to a very foolish weekend hosted by Wonderfool Productions. This year, the celebration is taking place in Kerrytown at the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, but it will still have all the dancing, laughing and luminaries we’ve come to love. Other attractions include interactive installations, laser shows, live performances, DJs and a beer tent. You can even make your own luminary at several workshops in advance. For details, follow the Wonderfool Productions team on Facebook here.

 

FestiFools | Ann Arbor

April 7, 4 – 5 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor

FestiFools is Wonderfool Productions’ daytime event of foolishness and art. The enormous public art spectacular showcases creations made by members of the community and U-M students. You can make your own puppet or come down to Main Street to watch the procession of colorful, bizarre, human-powered paper-mâché creations for an entire hour of fun!

 

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.

 

Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival | Ann Arbor

April 28, 12 – 4 p.m. | Leslie Science & Nature Center

The Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival is an annual celebration hosted by the Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival Planning Committee, a coalition of local environmental nonprofits and agencies, and the Leslie Science & Nature Center. At this free, family-friendly event, guests can enjoy displays from 40 local organizations, live animal demonstrations, hands-on activities, live entertainment and much more.

 

 

Sports

 

Earth Day 5K | Ann Arbor

April 13, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Lillie Park South

April 2019 Events in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Pittsfield Township is celebrating Earth Day with their first ever Earth Day 5K. Open to all ages and skill levels, the course will wind through Lille Park, and you can register here.

 

Dawn Farm Ride for Recovery | Ypsilanti

April 28, 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Dawn Farm

This family-oriented fitness event is an annual fundraiser for Dawn Farm. Community members at any fitness level are invited to register for one of four bike rides: a 10K, a 25-mile, a 40-mile and a 58-mile. There will also be a Farm Fun 5K Run/Walk, and a celebratory lunch will be provided after the races. Family members not participating are asked to register for the $5 lunch only option so there is enough food for everyone. You can register for all the options online here.

 

 

Food + Drink

 

HopCat Ann Arbor Beer Dinner | Ann Arbor 

April 23, 7 – 10 p.m.HopCat

HopCat Ann Arbor is teaming up with California’s Lagunitas Brewing Co. for an epic beer pairing dinner this April. The event will feature five beers and four courses made with locally sourced ingredients in the HopCat kitchen.

 

Two James Spirit Dinner at rel-ish | Ann Arbor

April 26, 7 – 10 p.m. | rel-ish

The local restaurant inside The Kensington Hotel, rel-ish, is celebrating on April 26th with a specially paired, five-course dinner. Two James Spirits is the first licensed distillery in the city of Detroit since Prohibition, and their contributions to the event include artisanal gin, vodka, whiskey, rum and absinthe. For full menu details and tickets, click here.

 

 

Happy April!

Want to submit your next event for our monthly guide? Send us an email at ReinhartPR@booj.com.

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7 Steps to Prepare Your House for a Spring Sale

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Spring is right around the corner. With the warming weather, home-buyers come out of hibernation making spring an ideal time to put your house on the market. If you are considering listing your home, you will need to start preparing now. Following these seven steps will speed the sale of your home this spring.

Cleaning supplies in washbasin standing on cleaned kitchen countertop. Hand of cleaning lady with rubber glove beside

1. Clean Everything
A clean home will allow buyers to picture themselves in the space. This is the chance to remove clutter from your house. The best way to start is to make a list of essential things that need to get done. Once you have a spring cleaning list, recruit your family to help tackle each task individually. Remember to have realistic expectations about the amount of time it will take to clean. It’s usually best to take your time with cleaning. Try spending one weekend doing the garage and the next weekend cleaning the storage unit. By breaking up each task, you won’t become overwhelmed or frustrated.

Hat Rack2. Organize
After cleaning it becomes clear to many homeowners that they are in need of increased organization. By adding a few hooks, shelves, and storage baskets organizing becomes a breeze. Organizational systems make closets and storage spaces appear larger.

Repair man3. Repair
Have you been meaning to tighten loose doorknobs, fix a leaky faucet, or replace old lighting fixtures? Now is the time to tackle these tasks. These small things can be a big turn-off to buyers and end up preventing you from getting top dollar for your home.

Welcome Mat4. Replace the Ragged
Replace items that may be worn out. Things like your welcome mat, street numbers and mailboxes often get overlooked. These small ticket items are easy to replace with a quick trip to Target or Home Depot.

Lawn ornaments5. Remove the Clutter
Personal touches make your house feel homey. They also make it hard for buyers to picture themselves living there. Remove any lawn ornaments, personal pictures, children’s artwork and personal effects that you plan to bring with you to your new home. Potential buyers will look through your home thoroughly so make sure to remove piles of shoes and coats from the entry and the mail from the kitchen table.
Painting

6. Paint
When living in a house, people decorate and paint in ways that are not always alluring to potential buyers. In order to get the most value out of your home, it is important that buyers can picture themselves living there. Painting a house in neutral shades with white ceilings will make it appear larger and more comforting to buyers. Remember to also repaint trim, molding and the front door if needed. New paint can help your house sell faster.
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7. Let the Light Shine
Bright rooms feel warm and inviting whereas dark rooms feel smaller and gloomy. Removing heavy or dark curtains will allow more light to shine in. Also, consider adding mirrors to rooms. The bigger the mirror, the more light you capture. Adding a large mirror at the end of a short hallway will make the room look longer. Additionally, make sure your windows are clean and streak free to maximize the sunshine.

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