May marks that transitional time of year, when we’re busy soaking up the sun and pleasant temperatures, while already making plans for warmer days ahead this summer. The Ann Arbor area calendar is packed with events and festivities of all kinds, from craft fairs to color runs and bike rides to beer tastings. Most are designed to help you spend time outside, enjoying our region’s breathtaking natural beauty.
Peruse these fun and exciting May events in the Ann Arbor area and add a couple to your calendar!
Don’t miss the opportunity to see Joe Jackson live at the historic Michigan Theater! Jackson is an English musician and singer-songwriter with a punk rock/ska/jazz pop sound. His first hit, “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” was released in 1979, followed by a Top 10 hit, “Steppin’ Out” in 1982. Ever since, Jackson has recorded 19 studio albums and has received five Grammy Award nominations. Get your tickets for this unforgettable evening before they sell out!
Celebrate another wonderful season at the orchestra with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra 2021-22 season finale, Beethoven & Dvorak. Featuring guest conductor Andreas Delfs, the program will include a performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 6, with performances from A2SO concertmaster Aaron Berofsky on the violin. Click here for more information about the concert and to purchase tickets.
For a fun, springy event that you won’t soon forget, head over to Grass Lake for Roaming Goat’s annual Spring Street Fair! Vendors, including local artists, makers and food connoisseurs will be lined up in booths on South Lake Street, selling everything from candles to jewelry to soap and even flowers. Before stepping out to explore South Lake Street, stop by The Roaming Goat to pick up a delicious latte and a treat to fuel your adventure!
Third place is not always smiled upon, except when it comes to community building. A “Third Place” refers to those third places aside from the two typical social environments — home (first place) and the workplace (second place). This might be churches, cafes, clubs, public libraries, bookstores or parks. Third Place [MusicFest] celebrates these third places and the community that is found therein with four days of concerts in local spaces. This year, the festival is taking place from May 25–28 at multiple places throughout Ann Arbor. Check the website for more details leading up to the festival!
The Water Lantern Festival is a truly remarkable, memorable experience. This family-friendly event invites guests to enjoy tasty food trucks, live music and the beautiful sight of hundreds of floating, illuminated lanterns floating on the water on Kent Lake. Your ticket includes a floating lantern kit, an LED candle, a commemorative drawstring bag, and a marker. Plus, your ticket purchase helps pay for lantern retrieval and water cleanup, which includes any trash that may have previously been in or around the water. Tickets will sell out fast — so grab yours today!
More than 40 years ago, Huron River Day began as “a way to encourage partnerships among government, private and non-profit organizations and to educate citizens about the importance of water quality and Huron River preservation.” Today, the event has grown to include educational and fun river exhibits, canoe and kayak rentals, stand-up paddle boarding, live music, fishing, and more. Admission to Huron River Day is free — and if you ride your bike there, your boat rental is free too!
Did you know May is National BBQ Month? Celebrate everyone’s favorite style of cooking — and Memorial Day — at the Memorial Day Backyard BBQ at the Detroit/Ann Arbor KOA in Ypsilanti. Spend a day or two (or the entire weekend) camping to take part in this friendly BBQ competition running from May 26–30!
MIOCA (Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance) is hosting their 11th annual Mother’s Day Time to Teal 5K Run Fun Run/Walk downtown on May 8, which is World Ovarian Cancer Day. This event — which includes both in-person and virtual options this year — hopes to bring together survivors, supporters and anyone who has been impacted by ovarian cancer. All proceeds from this event go towards promoting the early detection of ovarian cancer and improved treatment outcomes. Click here for more details about the race, including information about registration, which is half-off for all survivors.
After a long, gray winter, it’s time to add some color this spring! What better way to celebrate and welcome the season than with a blast of spring colors in Hudson Mills Metropark at their annual Spring Color Fling? Take a walk through the gravel and dirt nature trail and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. Throughout your walk, you’ll come across five stations where you will be “doused” with a different powdered color. Each registered participant will get a t-shirt to wear and get colored. Choose from one of the one-hour time slots between 1–3 p.m. Registration is only $7 per person — adult or child!
Calling all Star Wars fans — this one is for you! EpicRaces proudly presents the May the 4th Run With You race, a virtual 4K that celebrates with fans and “wook-alikes” everywhere. They encourage you to grab your favorite Star Wars costume and head outside to complete a 4K wherever you are. Because May is National Cancer Research Month, EpicRaces is partnering with the American Association for Cancer Research, donating a portion of every entry to help combat cancer. Click here for all the information and to register.
Join the Ann Arbor Velo Club, the Ann Arbor Running Co. and Bløm Meadworks for their free 4th annual Blom 100 Mile Ride, a bike ride over mixed terrain, including open roads and gravel. Choose from the 50K (ideal for those wanting a chill ride), 100K (for the seasoned rider looking for a good workout) and the 100-mile (for the hardcore rider who doesn’t mind gravel and rough terrain). After the ride, stick around for some tamales and snacks from Pilar’s Tamales and mead or cider from Bløm on the patio! For all the information, and to register, visit Blom Meadwork’s website.
Spend an evening at the Yankee Air Museum in Belleville for their 5th Annual Bombers, Berries & Brews event. Sample several different types of craft beers and ciders from local breweries and wineries while admiring the historic aircraft at the museum. Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the door, and each ticket includes 12 tasting tickets — with the option to purchase five more for $5. You must be 21 and over to attend!
Meals on Heels is a fundraising event hosted by Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels, a nonprofit providing nutritious meals, social contact and other services to the homebound elderly, ill and disabled in eastern Washtenaw County. On Thursday evening in Ypsilanti Freighthouse, guests can enjoy a funky, ‘70s-themed evening complete with craft beers from 734 Brewing Co., delicious hors d’oeuvres by Simply Scrumptious, dancing, a cocktail demonstration by The Bar at 327 Braun Court, a 1970s photo booth, and a silent auction. There will be prizes for the best ‘70s outfit and shoes, so make sure you come dressed for the occasion! Purchase your tickets here.
April Showers Bring May…Events!
What Ann Arbor area events are on your calendar this May? Tell us about it in the comments below.