All summer long, from pickles to pickerel, Michiganders play with their food. Get a taste of Michigan-grown eats at one of these food-themed festivals.
Mesick Mushroom Festival, May 10-12:
Get down and dirty at the 60th Mesick Mushroom Festival, where people will be hunting, cooking and eating the woodland delicacies called morels. If you really want to get dirty, join the fest’s “Bump and Run” in the Mud Bogg. mesick-mushroomfest.org
Boyne City National Morel Mushroom Festival, May 16-19:
For good, clean mushroom fun, wait a week for the Boyne City National Morel Mushroom Festival. bcmorelfestival.com
Empire Asparagus Festival, May 17-18:
No one has more fun with its food than the folks at the Empire Asparagus Festival.While many towns have pageants, this one will have a Miss Asparagus on Stilts production, odes to the asparagus and a 5K Kick Yer Ass-paragus Fun Run/Walk. empirechamber.com/event/asparagus-festival
Pinconning Cheese Fest, June 13-15:
Wisconsin thinks it has cheeseheads? Ha! Check out the Pinconning Cheese Fest. Pinconning and nearby Linwood sponsor a 5K run/walk, a CheeseTown Dad Contest and a mac and cheese dinner. Folks say the Saturday night fireworks display is “cheesemendous.” michiganfun.com/event/pinconning-cheese-festival (And Linwood has a festival of its own for pickles: linwoodpicklefestival.org).
National Cherry Festival, June 29-July 6:
Entertaining half a million people over eight days, Traverse City’s National Cherry Festival is the cherry atop Michigan’s summertime food festivals. So much to see, do and eat. The cherry fest is the perfect appetizer for the Traverse City Film Festival, July 30 through Aug. 4. cherryfestival.org, traversecityfilmfest.org
Algonac Lions Pickeral Tournament and Festival, July 3-7:
If you’ve never seen a pickerel run, sign up for the 5K at the Algonac Lions Pickerel Tournament and Festival. Of course, there will be fishing contests, plenty of lying and someone will win a big ol’ fishing boat. algonaclions.org
Yale Bologna Festival, July 26-28:
The Yale Bologna Festival is no baloney. The town of 2,000 plumps to 20,000 who come for food, music, the outhouse race and the crowning of the King and Queen of Bologna. Who will be the wiener? yalechamber.com/yale-bologna-festival.html
Calumet Pasty Fest, August 17:
The one-day Calumet Pasty Fest celebrates this Cornish delicacy, a meal in a pastry for Copper Country miners a century ago. A bake-off and lots of samples will fill you up. mainstreetcalumet.com/pasty-fest-2019.html
Joe Grimm is a lifelong Michigan resident who enjoys all of the foods in this lineup.