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Low cost family fun this summer in Imlay City, Michigan

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If you are looking for low cost or free family fun this summer why not head out to one of the many festivals and fairs held in Imlay City, Michigan. Imlay City is close to the M53 and I69 expressways in Michigan, and located in the thumb area of Michigan. The city is an easy drive from most metro Detroit suburbs. Its home to the Eastern Michigan State Fairgrounds, where a full schedule of family friendly events takes place over the summer. The fairgrounds are large, with modern restrooms, and paved paths for good accessibility and plenty of parking, which is free at most events.

Imlay City itself is a quaint small farming town, with many well- kept historic homes and a walkable downtown district that is beautifully planted. It has many interesting shops and restaurants, including authentic Mexican restaurants. It also has modern hotels and motels for visitors and a complete array of fast food places. Links to the Imlay City Chamber of Commerce and several hotels are at the end of this article.

Imlay City is famous for its Vlasic Pickle factory ( Pinnacle Foods) where the world’s number one selling pickle was first produced. It’s the only place the 120 Vlasic brand products are produced in the US. The fields around the city and across Michigan produce the cucumbers and other produce needed to make the Vlasic products. The facility often processes 25 semi-loads of cucumbers a day in late summer.

So if you are looking for an interesting, family fun day, (or two), why not try one of the festivals and fairs in Imlay City, Michigan? A few descriptions of the events follow.

Michigan Honey Festival
Michigan Honey Festival

Michigan Honey Festival

Michigan Honey Festival, Saturday,  July 27, 2013 at the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds, Imlay City Michigan. 

This is a low cost, fun festival for the whole family that is vastly entertaining as well as educational.  You can see demonstrations of beekeeping, including live bees, watch a man grow a beard with live bees, see and taste numerous products made from honey.   Local chefs will be producing foods made with local foods, (including honey) and there is a mead tent- where you can taste and purchase mead (wine made from honey) and even sample beer made from honey.

There are lots of demonstrations for everyone and free activities for kids all day long.  There will be vendors galore for those who like to shop, selling everything from bee supplies to candles, even plants to attract bees.  This festival costs only $5.00 per person, children under 16 are free! Free parking too.

For more information about the Michigan Honey Festival click on this link

Imlay City Blueberry festival
Imlay City Blueberry festival

Imlay City Blueberry festival

The 33rd Imlay City Blueberry Festival is being held August 2nd and 3rd, 2013.  Imlay City is known for its fantastic blueberry festival as well as its pickles.  The farms around Imlay City supply the blueberries.  This festival is spread out through the entire town and includes fireworks at the fairgrounds at dusk on Friday.  There are eating contests of various sorts, (blueberry pie, pickles, crazy bread), blueberry and ice cream socials, lots of kids activities including clowns and children’s entertainers as well as numerous street concerts featuring a wide variety of music.

Vendors and civic groups will line the streets selling a variety of tasty food and a wide range of crafts and art .  There are parades and contests to enter.  The best part of this festival is that it is primarily free- there’s no admission, you’ll just need money for food, including delicious blueberry pies.

For more information and a complete schedule of events click on this link

See me at the Eastern Michigan State Fair
See me at the Eastern Michigan State Fair Kim Willis

See me at the Eastern Michigan State Fair

The Eastern Michigan State Fair takes place August 6-10 at the Imlay City State Fairgrounds, 195 Midway, Imlay City.  If you miss the State Fair that used to be held in Detroit, try this fair, that’s easy to get to, easy parking, clean and family friendly.   The one price admission covers unlimited rides, grandstand shows, circus shows, even parking.  Its $15 per person but if you get there before 2 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, admission is discounted to $10. Hours are noon to 11 pm.

There’s a full, large selection of carnival rides, daily circus shows, the live alligator exhibit, horse shows, children with their animals and 4H projects, adult fair projects, as well as a full line up of evening grandstand shows.   Tuesdays grandstand event is the Bulls and Broncs rodeo; Wednesday there is a concert by the band Spin Doctors, Demolition Derby on Saturday.  For a full line up of shows click on the link below:

The fairgrounds are safe, family friendly and handicapped accessible.  There are a lot of vendors selling that delightful fair food and souvenirs.  There is a beer tent for adult entertainment. You can also buy a champion steer or hog by participating in the 4-H auction on Thursday. Call the Lapeer County 4-H office at 810-667-0341 for more information on the auction.

Woods and Water Festival
Woods and Water Festival

Woods and Water Festival

If you enjoy the outdoors you’ll want to attend the Woods and Water Festival, September 6-8 at the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds.  Hours are Friday-5pm to 9pm Saturday-9am to 7pm, Sunday-9am to 5pm.  Admission is $8 daily, 3 day pass for $15.  Children under 12 are free and there is free parking.

This is a huge weekend for those who enjoy outdoor sports; one of the largest outdoor shows in the state, over 15,000 people attended the event in 2012.  There will be hunting and fishing demo’s, dog training demo’s, a puppy tent where you can play with puppies and purchase your next hunting companion,  and hundreds of exhibitors and vendors.  There are activities for all ages of outdoor enthusiasts.

You may be interested in the Native American stories and dance presented on both Saturday and Sunday by Reg Pettibone.  Learn about Native American traditions, beliefs and heritage.  Its one more reason to attend the Woods and Water festival.

For a complete line up of events click on the link below:

Michigan Festival of Gourds
Michigan Festival of Gourds Kim Willis

Michigan Festival of Gourds

For a late fall festival that’s certainly different come to Imlay City and the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds for the Michigan Festival of Gourds.  It’s September 13 - 15, 2013, Friday: 12 pm - 8 pm, Saturday: 10am - 6 pm, Sunday: 10 am - 4 pm. This festivals profits benefit the Children’s Hospital of Detroit.  Admission is only $5, children under 12 free and free parking.  Food and some classes are extra.

This festival features gourds in all their glory, raw and turned into glorious pieces of art. The art and craftsmanship involved is astounding if you like crafts and folk art you’ll be quite pleased.  The Michigan Woodcarvers Association  will also have exhibits at the event. There will be exhibitors and vendors from across the country.  Prepare for fall decorating by attending the event and purchasing your craft supplies.

There is also a full schedule of classes, demonstrations, children’s crafts and contests.  Folk music artists will perform and a dinner prepared from local foods is offered on Saturday.  There is a beer and wine tent featuring local products.  One of the interesting events is the “blanket swap” on Saturday evening where participants place a valued item on a blanket and see what someone will offer to swap them for it.  For more information on this and a complete schedule click on the link below:

Where to sleep and other information.
Where to sleep and other information. Kim Willis