May things to do: Tulip Time, Kite Fest, Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, art, music, fundraisers, more

We’ve had April showers; now we have May flowers (though the weather had them a bit confused). May offers a wide variety of things to do in Allegan, Muskegon, and Ottawa counties: tulip, kite, and old-fashioned festivals, an inside look at the art of Dr. Seuss, farm markets, LGBTQ+ discussions, an escape room, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day. This list includes options for everyone, regardless of age, ability, or interest.  

Week 1 (May 1–5)
Courtesy Tulip Time website Parades, Dutch Dancers, theater, fine art, fireworks and so much more are on tap during the 95th Tulip Time festival, taking place throughout Holland from May 4-12.

The Art of Dr. Seuss

Holland Area Arts Council, 150 E. Eight St., Holland
May 1-31
Cost: Free 

In a joint effort with The Pinnacle Group, HAAC presents “25 Years Through the Wrong End of the Telescope,” a national touring exhibition that offers a rare glimpse into the artistic life of this celebrated American icon. The works included in this exhibit are not only an inspired tribute to Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) and his wife, Audrey (who guided Seuss’ legacy following his death), but to all those who believe life is better when viewed through the wrong end of the telescope. 


The Wagon Wheel Shaggy Speed Show
Muskegon County Fairgrounds, 6621 Heights Ravenna Road, Fruitport
Friday, May 3, 6-11 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend

Get ready for an action-packed day of equine excitement. Watch these magnificent horses showcase their speed and agility in thrilling competitions. It’ll be a “mane” event you won’t want to miss.


Friday Matinee
Loutit District Library, 407 Columbus Ave., Grand Haven
Fridays, May 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31, 2-4:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

Stop in for a matinee showing, and bring snacks and drinks to enjoy during the film. Registration for one event in the series registers you for the entire month. Afterward, submit suggestions for future matinees. Films on tap for May include: “The Greatest Game Ever Played” on May 3, “Emma” on May 10, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” on May 17, “The Greatest Showman” on May 24, and “Mr. Holmes” on May 31. 

Details: uBot8HGeDO/

‘Star Wars’ Day
Herrick North Branch, 155 Riley St., Holland
Saturday, May 4, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: Free

Join fellow “Star Wars” fans to make a craft and watch a film or two. Feel free to come dressed in your favorite gear and test your knowledge with the library’s trivia activity sheets.


STEAM Along the Lakeshore
Downtown Muskegon
Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: Free

This family fun event promotes STEAM learning. Participants will be given a map to visit activity booths downtown. Each participant also will receive a STEAM swag bag, which consists of a take-home STEAM kit activity, a T-shirt, and a passport to collect stamps for completing each activity at the event. Each STEAM activity is different, ensuring a fun and educational experience to remember.


East End Beer de Mac
The Unicorn Tavern, 415 Beechtree St., Grand Haven
Saturday, May 4, noon to 4 p.m.
Cost: $20

This inaugural family-friendly event — a macaroni and cheese cookoff and beer tasting —  aims to create a sense of community and raise awareness for the East End Association and funding for future East End events. Ticket price includes a souvenir tasting glass and the first taste at each mac n’ cheese vendor. Buy tickets here


Kentucky Derby Parties
*Wick’s Park Bar & Grill, 449 Water St., Saugatuck
Saturday, May 4, all day
Cost: Free to attend

Celebrate the 150th Run for the Roses, wear your best Derby attire, and stay for the day. 

*Ravines Golf Club, 3520 Palmer Drive, Saugatuck
Saturday, May 4, 4-7:30 p.m.
Cost: $35

Come for live music by Mark Proulx, themed appetizers, and a best-dressed prize for the most fun Derby attire.


Tulip Time
Holland, various locations
May 4-12
Cost: Depends on event

The city celebrates its 95th tulip festival with parades, Dutch Dancers, national and local entertainment, theater, a run/walk, a carnival, walking tours, fine art, a quilt show, fireworks, and so much more. Thousands of spectators line the streets to watch amazing floats, marching bands, and Dutch Dancers in over two miles of pure celebration. Don’t miss it.


‘On Golden Pond’
Holland Community Theater, 50 W. Ninth St., Holland
May 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11, 7 p.m.
Cost: $23

This is the love story of Ethel and Norman Thayer, returning to their summer home on Golden Pond for their forty-eighth year. As summer fades, a mild heart attack brings Norman and Ethel closer. Despite time's passage, their bond remains strong, hinting at the possibility of another summer on Golden Pond. 


Week 2 (May 6–12)
Courtesy West Michigan Symphony websiteAldo López-Gavilán will perform with the West Michigan Symphony at Frauenthal Symphony on Friday, May 10.

Baby Storytime

Herrick North Branch, 155 Riley St., Holland
Tuesday, May 7, 9:30-10 a.m.
Cost: Free

Explore early literacy skills with stories, bounces, and music. Caregivers and children ages newborn to 18 months are invited to stay and play after storytime.


Bow Wow Readers
*North Muskegon Library of Muskegon Area District Library (MADL), 1522 Ruddiman Drive, North Muskegon
Wednesday, May 8, 3-4 p.m. 

*Dalton Branch of MADL, 3175 Fifth St., Twin Lake
Wednesday, May 8, 4-5 p.m.

*Norton Shores Library of MADL, 705 Seminole Road, Norton Shores
Monday, May 13, 5:30-7 p.m.

*Muskegon Township Branch of MADL, 1910 E. Apple Ave., Suite D, Muskegon
Tuesday, May 14, 4-5 p.m. 

Cost: Free (registration required)

Bow Wow Readers pairs people ages 6 and up with a trained therapy dog for reading or quality time. 


Teen Volunteer Council
Loutit District Library, 407 Columbus Ave., Grand Haven
Friday, May 10, 4-5 p.m.
Cost: Free

Teens, here’s the chance to actively engage with your community. Participate in organizing events, offering feedback, and shaping library services while developing leadership skills and making a positive impact. 


‘Rhapsody in Blue’
Frauenthal Center, 425 W. Western Ave., Muskegon
Friday, May 10, 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $19

West Michigan Symphony’s season finale delivers high-energy, fast-moving, and not-to-be-missed works, topped off by pianist Aldo López-Gavilán’s brilliant rendition of George Gershwin’s masterpiece. 


Free Tour for Muskegon County Moms
Hackley and Hume Historic Site, 484 W. Webster Ave., Muskegon
Sunday, May 12, 1-4 p.m.
Cost: Free to moms, $15 adults, $12 seniors, $5 kids 2-12 

This visit includes a tour of the Hackley and Hume Historic Site, Fire Barn Museum, and the Scolnik House of the Depression Era. Muskegon County Moms also will a complimentary gift. No registration is required. Visitors are welcome to walk in during open hours. The last tour leaves at 4:00 pm


Week 3 (May 13–19)
Courtesy Momentum Center Singles, couples, and groups can kick up their heels at the Momentum Center’s annual Prom with a Purpose, set for Saturday, May 18, at the Trillium Event Center in Spring Lake.

Red Cross Blood Drive
Loutit District Library, 407 Columbus Ave., Grand Haven
Monday, May 13, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Free

Come donate and help the Red Cross save lives. Walk in during the drive or schedule an appointment ahead of time by calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). Remember, you are somebody’s type.


Brazilian Drumming Performance
Holland Museum, 31 W. 10th St., Holland
Monday, May 13, 6-7 p.m.
Cost: Free

The Holland Samba School, a 15-member community musical group that “focuses on how to play different styles of Brazilian drumming” with the mission of creating community through the joy of music, will perform at this family event.

Details: brazilian-drumming-performance/

Holland Farmers Market
Holland Civic Center Place, 150 W. Eighth St., Holland
Wednesday, May 15, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend

After spending the winter and early spring indoors, the market returns to outdoor stalls along Eighth Street. Local farmers offer fresh-picked fruits and vegetables, beautiful flower bouquets, and plants for home and garden. A wide variety of baked goods, all-natural honey and maple syrup, farm-fresh cheese, eggs, and meats are also available, and much more. The outdoor market continues on Wednesdays and Saturdays through October.


Simple Kintsugi
Herrick Main Library, 300 S. River Ave., Holland
Wednesday, May 15 and 22, 7-8:30 p.m.
Cost: Free (registration is required at

Kintsugi, also known as golden joinery or golden repair, is a traditional Japanese style of ceramic repair that draws attention to damage and repair rather than hiding it. In this adult-ages program, participants will have the chance to pick from an assortment of ceramic ware and statuettes, smash and break their chosen item in some way, and implement elements of kintsugi to put their object back together. 


Saugatuck Douglas Art Club Gallery Show and Sale
Capizzo Studio Gallery and Event Space, 3279 Blue Star Highway, Saugatuck
Friday-Sunday, May 10-12 and May 17-19; hours vary
Cost: Free to attend

This event, expanded to two weekends this year, features scores of original pieces by local artists. 


Ride United 2024
Heritage Landing, 1050 Seventh St., Muskegon
Saturday, May 18, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: Road Ride, $40; Community Ride, free

This 25-, 50-, and 100-mile century ride and community ride event is a fundraiser for United Way of the Lakeshore, providing a healthy way to help others. Proceeds from the event will support mental health programming across Muskegon, Newaygo, and Oceana counties. A presentation by Christine D’Ercole, a renowned motivational speaker, cyclist, and trainer — followed by a donor appreciation dinner with D’Ercole — is set for Friday, May 17.


Holland Repair Cafe
Herrick Main Library, 300 S. River Ave., Holland
Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: Free

Help keep items out of the landfill by learning skills to make repairs. You’ll also find tools and materials to help make repairs and connect with local community volunteers who have experience repairing clothes, textiles, and other household items. Sign up to volunteer here.


2024 Grand Haven Kite Festival
1001 S. Harbor Drive, Grand Haven
Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, May 19, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend

Enjoy a day at the beach as the sky is filled with colorful kites of all types and sizes. World-famous stunt kite fliers will perform to music on the center flying field while kites larger than a school bus hover just to the south. Bring your kite to fly on the open flying field at the north end of the event or test fly the year’s newest kites on one of the manufacturers’ fields.


Another option for Saturday, May 18, is the Grand Haven Jeep Fest 2024, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium, 1 N. Harbor Drive; details:

Pickleball Tournament
Pickleball courts, 5535 School Ave., Hudsonville
Saturday, May 18, 1-4 p.m.
Cost: $60 per team

Love Your Neighbor is hosting this second annual event to raise awareness and funds for the more than one in three families in Ottawa County struggling to make ends meet. The organization received almost 2,000 calls for help in one year. Many families take part in their long-term program called Life Skills, which combines education with critical resources. Whether you’re a pro or a first-timer, this tournament promises a fun afternoon for all.


Prom with a Purpose
Trillium Event Center, 17246 VanWagoner Road, Spring Lake
Saturday, May 18, 5-9 p.m.
Cost: $35

This grown-up event for singles, groups, and couples promises a dazzling evening that includes dinner, desserts, dancing with a DJ, and a cash bar. A prom raffle includes a six-night stay at Boyne Mountain and a five-night stay in New Orleans, as well as many local prizes. A photographer will be on hand to take prom portraits; prom wear is encouraged but not required. Buy tickets in person at The Momentum Center, or online here.


Armed Services Marathon
Grand Haven High School football stadium, 17001 Ferris St., Grand Haven
Sunday, May 19, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: $50-$145

Starting and ending at the high school, the marathon, half-marathon, and 5K honors all branches of the U.S. military and first responders, and offers scenic courses. There will be a joint services honor guard presentation and the singing of the national anthem ahead of the run.


Sunday Concert Series
Loutit District Library, 407 Columbus Ave., Grand Haven
Sunday, May 19, 2-3 p.m.
Cost: Free

The Library welcomes Jim Cooper for an all-ages performance. Cooper teaches jazz during the summer and various music classes during the school year. Registration is recommended but not required.


Week 4 (May 20–June 2)Courtesy Visit Muskegon website Communities throughout West Michigan honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms on May 27 with Memorial Day musical tributes, parades, and cemetery programs.

OAISD Play n Learn
Herrick North Branch, 155 Riley St., Holland
Monday, May 20, 10:45-11:45 a.m.
Cost: Free

Join the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District for a special playgroup where there will be stories, fingerplays, creative art experiences, educational play, and a free book for each family. Caregivers stay with their children, ages birth to 5 years old.


‘The Monk and The Gun’
Knickerbocker Theatre, 86 E. Eighth St., Holland
Monday, May 20, through Saturday, May 25, 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Cost: Adults $7, Seniors, Hope Faculty and Staff $6, Hope Students free

This “droll political satire” is set in the year 2006 as the Kingdom of Bhutan transitions toward becoming the world’s youngest democracy. 

Details: Film Series: The Monk & The Gun

Fruitport Old Fashioned Days
Pomona Park, 53 Third St., Fruitport
Wednesday, May 22, through Monday, May 27; hours vary
Cost: Free to attend

Enjoy good old-fashioned family fun with fireworks, a carnival, an ox roast, a 5K run, a craft show, live entertainment, a Memorial Day parade, and so much more.


John Steuart Curry: Weathering the Storm
Muskegon Museum of Art, 296 W. Webster Ave., Muskegon
Public reception 5-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 23
Exhibit continues through Monday, Sept. 2.
Cost: Free with museum admission

The museum is proud to present a showcase reunion of the artist’s most iconic masterpieces, which visually define the Midwest. The exhibit brings the masterworks of one of America’s most influential artists under one roof for the first time in more than two decades. A member preview of the exhibit is set for 5-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22.


Saugatuck Farmers Market
Saugatuck Center for the Arts, 400 Culver St., Saugatuck
Fridays, May 24 and 31, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend

Shop the seasonal market featuring West Michigan farmers, talented crafters, woodworkers, artists, chefs, and more. Find a selection of locally grown and fresh-picked fruits, vegetables, and flowers — along with goods, honey, maple syrup, eggs, cheeses, meats, gourmet mushrooms, and coffees. Market vendors also offer luxury bath items, beautiful home goods, and unique apparel.


18th Annual VFW Ribfest
VFW Post #2326, 20 N. First St., Grand Haven
Friday, May 24, 4 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and Saturday, May 25, 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Cost: Prices vary by vendor

Enjoy mouthwatering ribs, delicious food, adult beverages, and live music. The event is open to the public. Cash only and no cover charge. Bring your friends and enjoy the food and live entertainment while supporting veteran-based charity causes.


Spring Peddlers’ Market + Little Peddlers’ Market 
City Hall, 21 S. Elm St., Zeeland
Saturday, May 25, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend

These open-air lifestyle markets feature one-of-a-kind vendors peddling their wares — vintage furniture and décor, architectural salvage, farm-to-table treats, handmade specialties, antiques, repurposed finds, and live music. 


Memorial Day Parades
West Michigan communities
Monday, May 27 (unless otherwise noted)
Cost: Free to attend

Many local communities are honoring fallen military members with musical tributes, parades, and cemetery programs. Veterans are encouraged to take part in these activities, and residents and visitors alike are encouraged to come out as a way to say thank you to those who gave their all.

Douglas: 10 a.m., parade starts at Lake Vista Supervalu, 237 W. Center St. and ends at Beery Field. Details:   

Fruitport: 2 p.m. (lineup starts at 12:30 p.m.), downtown Fruitport; the parade starts and ends at the middle school parking lot. Details:

Holland: 9:30-10 a.m., downtown Holland (Eighth Street and Central Avenue) to Pilgrim Home Cemetery, where a remembrance program will follow at 11 a.m. Details:

Mona Shores: 10 a.m., Frauenthal Center, 425 W. Western Ave., Muskegon. Join the Mona Shores High School Band for a free, patriotic concert commemorating Memorial Day. Details:

Muskegon: 9 a.m., beginning at Morris Street parking lot and ending at Hackley Park. Details:

Saugatuck: 10 a.m., parade starts at Culver Street and ends at Mary Street. Details:

Zeeland: 9-10 a.m., downtown Zeeland, cemetery ceremony immediately following the parade at Zeeland Cemetery (Lincoln Avenue and Church Street). Details:

Understanding Modern Electronics: More Fun with Op-Amps
Herrick Main Library, 300 S. River Ave., Holland
Tuesday, May 28, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Cost: Free (registration is required)

Adults and teens, explore peak detectors that “remember” the maximum voltage reached, as well as Schmitt Tirggers whose output retains its value until the input changes sufficiently to “trigger” a change in the output. Use these concepts to design a practical circuit: an alarm to warn if your freezer’s temperature has been above freezing. Participants younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Centennial Anniversary Celebration
Port Sheldon Township Hall, 16201 Port Sheldon St., West Olive, and
Port Sheldon Township Fire Department, 16045 Port Sheldon St., West Olive
Tuesday, May 28, through Monday, June 3
Cost: Free to attend

The township marks its 100th anniversary with an art show — featuring stories, memories, photos, and historical items gathered from township residents — at Township Hall throughout the celebration; a car and tractor show from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, May 31, at the Township Hall Park; and a picnic from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 1. If you wish to contribute items for the art show, please use this form. Also, ahead of the centennial events, there will be cookies and a ribbon cutting of the new playground at Township Hall Park, 16201 Port Sheldon St. on Saturday, May 18.

Details: Township Centennial Celebration | Port Sheldon Township

‘The Fight Isn’t Over’
Saugatuck Douglas Library, 174 Center St., Douglas
Friday, May 31, 4-5:30 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend

This Karen Graves lecture at the library focuses on how the history of LGBTQ+ teachers informs current school battles. 


Hackley Attic Escape Room
Hackley and Hume Historic Site, 484 W. Webster Ave., Muskegon
Friday, May 31, 5-6:30 p.m.
Cost: $20 for museum members, $25 for non-members

You and your closest friends must escape a Victorian storage room filled with puzzles, locks, and riddles. Brush up on your Muskegon history and escape the attic in 80 minutes. 


Grand Adventure Kick-Off Party
Central Park, Washington Avenue and Fifth Street, Grand Haven
Saturday, June 1, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: Free

Celebrate the start of Loutit District Library’s 2024 Summer Reading Challenge with this family-friendly event. Register for summer reading, collect your prizes, and stay for the fun. Activities include games, food trucks, book sale, and more. 

Details: Calendar | Loutit District Library

Summer Reading Challenge
Central Park, Washington Avenue and Fifth Street, Grand Haven
Saturday, June 1, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: Free

Loutit District Library is hosting a family-friendly kickoff to The Grand Adventure, a lifelong learning game with something for everyone. The event will include live music, games, face painting, food trucks, a book sale, and more. Participation is free, and you don’t have to have a library card. Earn Adventure Points as you read on the beach, listen to an audiobook, or attend a library program. Collect 500 points to receive a finisher prize. Every 100 points earned is an additional entry into a grand prize drawing. The challenge continues through July 31. 


Need suggestions for specific destinations or activities, check out these tourism resources for details:
Holland Area Visitors Bureau
Grand Haven CVB
Ottawa County Parks & Recreation
Saugatuck CVB
Allegan County Parks & Recreation
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Read more articles by Melody Wilson.