Experience The Southwest Michigan Lifestyle

Fun & Interesting Things To Do In Michigan’s Great Southwest In July…

WOW – can you believe that it is the end of August? Summer is winding down, autumn is knocking on our door, and kids will be heading back to school. Speaking of school, there are acres and acres of outdoor class rooms just waiting for you to show your children how fruits and vegetables grow in Michigan’s Great Southwest! Thereare more varieties of farm fresh fruits and vegetables grown here than any other area of the Midwest! Apples, cider, gourds, Indian corn, apricots, nectarines, melons and plums are ripe for the picking, or just picking up, as well as a cornucopia of vegetables. There are almost as many different farm experiences to choose from as varieties of apples to pick. See what life on a working farm is all about.

Speaking of that farm experience, every weekend September 1-October 28, Jollay Orchards will be holding their Harvest Festival. The all-inclusive rate offers a bounty of opportunities for family fun. Challenge your family to the (new this season) second Bigger Corn Maze. Run through the Haunted House. Relax on a hayride.  Enjoy views from high above the orchard on the Tree Top Ferris Wheel. Visit the pumpkin patch. Spend the day and capture new memories.

Also Labor Day weekend, you can see Lake Michigan filled with brightly colored spinnakers as yachts travel from Chicago to St. Joseph on the first leg of the Tri-State Regatta September 1st. While in St. Joseph enjoy the Regatta Craft Fair. Watch the boats, shop and don’t forget the Farmers’ Market will be in Lake Bluff Park on Saturday and Antiques on the Bluff on Sunday.

The next weekend, September 6-9, brings back one of the largest events of its kind in the state, the Antique Engine & Tractor Show, which draws collectors from all over the country. Take a walk back into the 20th century as you watch the huge steam traction giants operate the sawmill, see the blacksmith hammering tools, visit Old Towne filled with businesses that were common during the early 1920s. Music, parades, flea market, crafts, tractor pulls and children’s activities make this four-day event a must for families!

There’s more family fun at Barodafest, September 8. Among the offerings are a pancake breakfast, 5K run/walk and children’s fun run, pie baking contest and kid’s cookie baking contest, arts & crafts, 3-on-3 basketball tournament, horseshoe tournament, parade, entertainment and the ever popular House of David 1850s baseball game.

Next, September 15 brings more entertainment, this time to the Benton Harbor Arts District during Artoberfest.  The Benton Harbor Arts District presents a proper celebration of music, art, craft beer, wine and local food. Live on the Artoberfest Main Stage, Benton Harbor’s own Char Jones & Friends, plus Chicago AfroBeat Project and Trachead Entertainment. It’s a great day featuring local talent that you won’t want to miss!

We end the month, September 29, with a couple of choices for the adult audience. This year St. Joseph Today and the City of St. Joseph have joined forces to combine two popular events: the Wine Festival and the Public Art Auction. Enjoy wine and food at Whirlpool Centennial Park while viewing this year’s public art display of Beached Pirates, which will be on the auction block that evening.  There is also an option for those of you who only want to attend the auction.  However, if beer is your preference, wonder on down to Weko Beach in Bridgman for their annual Brewer’s Festival. Enjoy live music and great food under two big top heated tents featuring beers from southwest Michigan’s best micro and craft breweries.

For more information on these and other events visit www.swmichigan.org or give April a call at 269-925-6301. We’ll be back again next month with more Fun & Interesting Things to Do in Michigan’s Great Southwest!

Millicent Huminsky
Executive Director
Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council