A Regional Buffet

Rolling Out Local Flavor

Blueberries Courtesy ThinkstockSummer rolls out quintessential Michigan in a buffet of regional ways, flavoring June and July with unique local flair from one shoreline to the next.

Beyond just another a staple of the season, celebrations set on water are cherished gatherings of community, place and tradition in the Great Lakes State. This edition of BLUE’s Regional Excursions (starting on page 79) heralds an array of time-honored festivals and in-water events.

Among the grandest and most acclaimed of these are competitions of skill and endurance on the freshwater seas: The Queen’s Cup Race, from South Shore Yacht Club in Milwaukee to South Haven Harbor at the end of June, followed in July by the Chicago to Mackinac Yacht Race (first run in 1898); Bell’s Beer Bayview to Mackinac Race (topping off Port Huron’s activity-packed Blue Water Fest); and Little Traverse Bay Regatta in Petoskey. Paired with the Au Sable River Festival, Grayling’s epic Canoe Marathon to Oscoda puts a different spin on offshore prowess the same month, too.

Meanwhile, games and music reign during Charlevoix’s decorative 85th annual Venetian days as midway rides add zest to Grand Haven’s renowned Coast Guard Fest and seaplanes splash in at Grand Marais.

Even more regional flavor unfolds at food and drink-inspired fetes across the state (page 36). Enjoy locally-grown and produced varietals with live music and gourmet chocolate at Weko Beach in Bridgman on the Gold Coast in June; wine, microbrews, art and music in Harrisville on the Sunrise Side in July. Discover hundreds of craft beer creations presented at the Michigan Brewers Guild’s oldest fest in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town (July 24-25) and over 150 things to do and see at Traverse City’s acclaimed National Cherry Festival. 

Peruse a collective round-up of famed tastes from around the Great Lakes starting on page 98 in this issue of BLUE, too, from handcrafted cheeses and wild-caught Lake fish to hearth-baked breads and small-batch specialties. Food journalist Jaye Beeler also serves up iconic flavors synonymous with summer, from juicy just-picked blueberries to Mackinac Island’s sweet swirled fudge (page 102), while Northern Michigan Chef Paul Barbas shares delectable recipes for a blue-sky vintners’ gathering (page 63) and regional cultivators of Michigan’s trendiest artisan crop — hops — lend growers’ insight.

Whether you’re drawn to bustling beaches and enchantments in the sand (page 24) or historic sites and stories unveiling how Michigan came to be (page 56), savor flavorful, great lake days this summer. 

With heartfelt thanks for reading, Lisa M. Jensen, Editor, Michigan BLUE Magazine.

Photography courtesy thinkstock

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