If you are spending Memorial Day weekend home working in the garden and longing for a summer weekend getaway, check out the Mackinac Island Lilac Festival!
The festival runs June 3-12 and daily attracts thousands of visitors, celebrating the history of Mackinac Island as the Lilac Capital of the Midwest.
Now a ten-day celebration, the Mackinac Island Lilac Festival started as a one-day event in 1949 by local residents Evangeline “Ling” Horn and Stella King. The festival kicks off on Friday at the Farm Bureau Family Fun Area at Windermere Point. Families are invited to a free bounce, jump and slide experience on the shores of Lake Huron. They can also color on a new 15-foot coloring canvas of iconic Mackinac Island landmarks including Arch Rock, Fort Mackinac and horse and carriage.
“The Mackinac Island Lilac Festival showcases an Island full of Lilacs, our vibrant nightlife and family friendly activities,” said Bob Benser, President of the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau. “It serves as the official kick off to summer. We’re excited to add our coloring canvas to the Family Fun area and our Grand Lilac Parade always makes for an exciting day on Mackinac.”
Lilac Festival activities include Mackinac Island’s culinary event of the summer, A Taste of Mackinac. This ticketed event offers guests an opportunity to sample favorite recipes from local restaurants, Mackinac Island fresh fudge, Michigan wine and beer and Coca-Cola products. Tickets are available at http://www.bitly.com/2016TasteOfMackinac for $20 until the event sells out.
The festival concludes with the Grand Parade, one of the longest running horse hitch parades in the world. The June 12 parade begins at 4 p.m. featuring several marching bands, area Festival Queens, The Island’s Mayor, Native American Leaders, horse back riders, private carriages, bicycle riders and the 2016 Lilac Festival Queen and court.
Other events include the Dog and Pony Parade, face painting, scenic cruises, daily Lilac Walking Tours with national Lilac Experts Jeff and Jan Young, wine and beer tastings and carriage tours.