August Arts & Entertainment Roundup

Back-to-school sales are on, but summer festival and concert season isn’t quite over. Here’s a roundup of some of the options in the area in August.

Dow Bay Area Family YMCA Uptown Park

The Dow Bay Area Family YMCA Uptown Park is officially open. If the YMCA is open, the park is open. No membership passes required. The YMCA does not provide sports equipment or supervision, so kids need to bring adults and their own supplies. The park is adjacent to the YMCA, which is at 225 Washington Ave.
The Dow Bay Area Family YMCA opens its Uptown Park to everyone in the community, including non-members.
Concerts in Wenonah Park

The free Wednesday night series continues through August, bringing Listen to the Music – A Dobbie Brothers Tribute on Aug. 2; The Van Halen Invasion on Aug. 9; Chicago Transit on Aug. 16; Epic Eagles on Aug. 23; and Abbamania on Aug. 30.

Rockin' The River brings bigger names to the park on Friday and Saturday nights. Ticket prices vary.

During Rockin' The River, you can hear Riot with The Screaming Casanovas, Here After Six, and The Chase Engel Band on Fri., Aug. 4. The next night - Sat., Aug. 5 - Larry McCray takes the stage with guests The Robert Lee Revue, The Scott Baker Band, and the Mike Brush Band. 

On Fri., Aug. 18, catch Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. On Sat., Aug. 19, Warrant with special guest Nelson takes the stage. 

Finally, on Sat., Aug. 26, the "I Want My 80s Tour" brings Rick Springfield, Tommy Tutone, and Paul Young to Wenonah Park.

The concert schedule and links to buy tickets are posted on the State Theatre Calendar of Events.

Graphic courtesy of the Hell's Half Mile Film & Music Festival
Hell’s Half Mile Launch Party

You have to wait until September for the full Hell's Half Mile Film & Music Festival experience, but the launch party is set for Thurs., Aug. 10 at the State Theatre. This year, the featured performer is stand-up comedian John Caparulo. More information and a link to buy tickets for the launch party are available here.

Thursdays At Uptown is still going strong, with performances scheduled through Aug. 24.
Thursdays At Uptown

Celebrate Friday Eve with live music on Thursdays in August in the Uptown Plaza near the fountain at 199 Uptown Drive. The schedule includes the String Thing Band on Aug. 3; Jeff Yantz on Aug. 10; Finnigan's Cross on Aug. 17; and the Scott Baker Band on Aug. 24.

The Thursdays at Uptown schedule is available on the Downtown Bay City website.

Friday at the Falls

The Third Street Waterfall Park, located at 101 Third St., is the scene of another free concert series, Friday at the Falls. The August line-up includes Jeff Poirer on Aug. 4; A Pair of Aces on Aug. 11; String Thing Band on Aug. 18; and The Josh Ramses Band on Aug. 25.

The Friday at the Falls schedule is available on the Downtown Bay City website.

If you want to have fun while learning about Bay County's history from inside a climate-controlled building, visit the Historical Museum of Bay County. (Photo Credit: Ashley Brown)
No School Day at the Bay County Historical Society Museum

If your school is closed on Fri., Aug. 25 or Mon., Aug. 28, you're in luck. The Historical Museum of Bay County, 321 Washington Ave., invites you to visit the museum, complete a scavenger hunt, and receive a free treat from The Farm at Apple Acres. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and children must be accompanied by an adult. More information is available on the Historical Society's online calendar.

Chalk Walk Art Festival 2023
The Chalk Walk Art Festival turns the streets of Downtown Bay City into colorful pieces of art on Sat., Aug. 12. (Photo Credit: Studio 23/The Arts Center
Art literally takes to the streets during the Chalk Walk Art Festival on Sat., Aug. 12. Artists are invited to create chalk art on Water Street and Center Avenue during the festival. Music and food also are part of the event, which begins at 11 a.m. and wraps up at 6 p.m. Awards will be given in three different age categories: Youth (7 to 12 years old), Teens (13 to 17 years old), and Adults (18+).

Details are available on the Studio 23/ The Arts Center website. 

Artist in Residence 2023

Dana Lynn Harper, a Columbus, Ohio-based artist, is the next participant in the Artists in Residence program at Studio 23/The Arts Center at 901 N. Water St. Harper works in vibrant colors to create 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional artwork.

During Harper’s stay from Aug. 24-Oct. 21, she will lead workshops inviting community members to provide small mementos or objects to put into art. What they create during the workshops becomes part of the exhibit.

Outdoor Markets

Whether you seek art, farm-fresh produce, or hand-made baked goods, Bay City has two great options.

The Jefferson Street Market, located outside 409 First St., debuted earlier this summer. The market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The Auburn Farmers Market is open on Thursdays throughout August. The market is located in the Auburn Park pavilion. This summer, the market is holding monthly Moonlight Markets. The August Moonlight Market is set for 6 to 9 p.m. Fri., Aug. 25.

Historic Masonic Temple Events

The Historic Masonic Temple, 700 N. Madison Ave., is earning its reputation as an arts education and performance space. 

The first Tuesday of every month – which lands of Aug. 1 this month – is the Artists' Assembly. Artists of all types are invited to join the monthly drop-in workshop.

Enjoy a Midnight Monster Movie on Sat., Aug. 19. In August, the movie is 1974's "Phantom of the Paradise." Tickets are $2 for 9 p.m. and midnight shows. More information is available online.

Singers, poets, storytellers, and other performers are invited to an Open Mic Night at 7 p.m. Fri., Aug. 25. Performers must register. Audience members need only buy a ticket for the suggested donation of $5. Learn more online.

If all this information leaves you wanting to know more about the Historic Masonic Temple, you're invited to an Open House from 1 to 4 p.m. Sat., Aug. 19.

Bay City State Park

The Bay City State Park is a year-round destination. In August, you'll find music, a festival, and a fundraising race all within the park boundaries.You would expect to find opportunities for hiking, fishing, swimming, and camping at the Bay City State Park, located at 3582 State Park Drive. 

But the park also hosts music, festivals, and even a race.

Music from the Marsh kicked off in June. This August schedule includes Saturday performances from The Louie Longoria Band on Aug. 5; Muzyka! on Aug. 12; Daniel Vaillancourt on Aug. 19; and  Suisan and Zig on Aug. 26. The complete schedule is available on the Friends of the Bay City State Park website.

The Waterfowl Festival takes place on the weekend of Aug. 5-6. An outdoor and hunting vendor expo, waterfowl hunting workshops, and dog fun hunt trials are all part of the event. A Calling Competition at the festival serves as regional and state qualifier for the World's Championship Duck Calling Contest to be held in Stuttgart, Germany in November.

The 2023 Beach Wellness race will be held on the Bay City State Park's trails on Sat., Aug. 12. You can pre-register  online. The race is a fundraiser fees to improve and maintain the swimming beach at the park, located at 3582 State Park Drive.

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Read more articles by Kathy Roberts.

Kathy Roberts, a graduate of Central Michigan University, moved to Bay City in 1987 to start a career in the newspaper industry. She was a reporter and editor at the Bay City Times for 15 years before leaving to work at the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Covenant HealthCare, and Ohno Design. In 2019, she returned to her storytelling roots as the Managing Editor of Route Bay City. When she’s not editing or writing stories, you can find her reading books, knitting, or visiting the bars of Bay County. You can reach Kathy at