Things to do in May: Festivals, exhibits, shows, Memorial Day observances

It’s May in West Michigan, and we — especially those who live in or near Holland — know what that means: Tulip Time! As usual, there’s a lot to do during the festival, but there are plenty of other events and activities on the May calendar. There are plays, concerts, exhibits, a craft fair, and an adventure run. Don’t forget the annual Kite Festival in Grand Haven. And finally, there are Memorial Day parades and other events for those of you who want to honor the sacrifice of servicemen and -women who gave their all in the U.S. military. Enjoy the month with family and friends in Allegan, Muskegon, and Ottawa counties. This list includes options for everyone, regardless of age, ability, or interest.

Week 1 (May 1–7)
Tulip Time celebrates tulips, Dutch heritage, and the Holland community today.
Women of Color United Focus Exhibition — The Art of Storytelling 
Kruizenga Art Museum, 271 Columbia Ave., Holland
Through May 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday 
Cost: Free
Eleven objects are works of and by women of color and were selected and interpreted by the Hope College multicultural student organization Women of Color United (WOCU). 

Photovoice: ‘Telling Our Stories’ 
Kruizenga Art Museum, 271 Columbia Ave., Holland
Through May 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday 
Cost: Free
The lived experiences of seven LGBTQIA students at Hope College whose photographs portray images of safety, identity, belonging, and pride, as evident in their daily lives.

Attack of the Bloodsuckers — Red Cross Blood Drive
Muskegon Museum of Science & Industry, 430 W. Clay Ave., Muskegon
Monday, May 1, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: Free
Stop into the museum to visit the human bloodsuckers! A Red Cross blood drive will be at the museum from 10-4 for those willing and able to donate. The museum will have a craft station to keep kiddos busy while grown-ups give blood. The drive is open to anyone 17 and older in good health. Contact the Red Cross for more eligibility requirements. You can sign up ahead of time at or just walk in on the day to donate.

StoryWalk — ‘Seeds Move’ by Robin Page
Paw Paw Park East, 1230 Paw Paw Drive, Holland
May 1–14, all day
Cost: Free
Herrick District Library is collaborating with Ottawa County Parks to continue providing StoryWalk events this spring. Walk through the pages of a book as you make your way along a park path. These are self-guided programs, and the stories are available from dawn to dusk on the dates listed.

‘Zine’ Workshop
Herrick District Library, 300 S. River Ave., Holland
Wednesday, May 3, 7–8:30 p.m. 
Cost: Free
Everyone has a story to tell. Herrick District Library is aiming to help the public write their stories with a series of writers’ workshops this spring, including a “zine” workshop with local graphic memoirist Elizabeth A. Trembley. Trembley will teach the basics of comic creation and each participant will leave with their own eight-page zine they created. All skill levels welcome; no registration required. 

‘Star Wars’ movie marathon (main)
Herrick District Library, HBH Auditorium, 300 S. River Ave., Holland
Thursday, May 4, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (drop in)
Cost: Free
It’s “Star Wars” Day! May the Fourth be with you as you enjoy any or all of the classic “Star Wars” movies. Movies and times are 10 a.m., “Star Wars: A New Hope” (123 minutes); 12:15 p.m., “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” (129 minutes); and 3:10 p.m., “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (136 minutes).” 

‘Star Wars’ movie marathon (north)
Herrick District Library North Branch, Community Room, 155 N. Riley St., Holland
Thursday, May 4, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Cost: Free
Stop by the HDL North Branch and settle in to watch movies from the “Star Wars” Saga. Dress in your favorite “Star Wars” gear, stay for a photo op, make a craft or two, and explore a galaxy far, far away.

Muskegon Civic Theatre presents ‘Cinderella’
Frauenthal Center, 425 W. Western Ave., Muskegon
May 4–7, 7:30–10 p.m.
Cost: $30
This enchanting, contemporary, and diverse adaptation of the beloved musical will put a spell on all ages. Everyone knows the story about a young woman, her cruel stepmother, the help of her fairy godmother, her transformation into a princess, her glass slipper, and the prince. This tale features some new characters and surprising twists. Add a dash of fairy-tale romance, magical onstage transformations, and the iconic pumpkin and glass slippers — and you're guaranteed to have a ball.

Tulip Time Festival
Downtown Greater Holland (office: 42 W. Eighth St.)
Saturday, May 6, through Sunday, May 14 (times vary)
Cost: Varies
Throughout its 92 years, millions of people have gathered in Holland for the festival. This family-friendly eight-day experience features more than 6 million tulips blooming throughout the city, parades, shows, Dutch Dancers, and more. 
Tulip Time highlights:
Kinder/Middel Dutch Dance. Details:
Dutch Dance. Details:
Carnival. Details: 
Tulip Time Run. Details:
‘Nana’s Naughty Knickers.’ Details:
Historic Walking Tours. Details:
VIP Walking Tours. Details:
Tulip Immersion Garden. Details:
Tulip Time Quilt Show. Details:
Tall Ship Dockside Tours. Details:
Artisan Market. Details:
Art in Bloem Fine Art Showcase. Details:
Elton Rohn. Details:
Dutch Organ Concert. Details:
Dutch Dance Lessons. Details:
Tulip Time Photo Walks. Details:
Floral Arranging. Details:
Tulip City Brewstillery Guided Beverage Tasting. Details:
FiddleFire (concert). Details:
Dutch Dance and Style Show. Details:
American Legion Band Concert. Details:
Kinderparade. Details:
Dutch Dogs on Parade. Details:
Girl Named Tom (concert). Details:
Bicycle Showband Crescendo. Details:
Sara Evans (concert). Details:
Fireworks. Details:

Experience The Netherlands ‘Klok’
Holland Museum, 31 W. 10th St., Holland
May 5–14, noon
Cost: Free with museum admission
See the wonderful moving parts of the Netherlands “Klok,” on exhibit during the 1939 World’s Fair, at the Holland Museum. The Klok will run daily at noon during Tulip Time for one minute.

Cultivating Dutch Tradition in the 21st Century: Jane Jones Hyperrealist Floral Paintings
Holland Museum, 31 W. 10th St., Holland
May 5 through July 3, museum hours vary
Cost: Free with museum admission
This Tulip Time exhibit features 25 contemporary original oil paintings. Jane Jones is an American artist who works in the context of 17th-century Dutch still life. Her contemporary perspective on floral still life successfully combines the history and tradition of 17th-century Dutch still-life painting with modern objectivity. 

Grand Haven Farmers Market
Chinook Pier, 301 N. Harbor Drive, Grand Haven
Saturday, May 6, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend
Buy fresh, Michigan-grown and/or -produced foods directly from the growers and support Michigan small businesses under the green canopy in Grand Haven. Vendors offer a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, and baked goods.

‘Preserving Our Stories’
Holland Museum, 31 W. 10th St., Holland
May 6–13, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Free with museum admission
Don’t miss the opportunity to see this Tulip Time exhibit at the Holland Museum. Short documentary films (each about 20 minutes in length) feature some of Holland’s well-known multigenerational-owned businesses. These films feature Holland Peanut Store, Dykstra Funeral Home, The Holland Bowl Mill, (formerly Wooden Shoe Factory), and Nelis Dutch Village.

Rooted in Michigan
Saugatuck Center for the arts, 400 Culver St., Saugatuck
Saturday, May 6, 7 p.m.
Cost: $35
Join the Saugatuck Center for the Arts for an evening of bold expression, interactive art, musical performance, and more. Ten artists will showcase their talents in various forms, inspiring creativity, thoughtfulness, and positive movement. The evening opens with spoken word, builds on visual art and storytelling, and culminates in a celebration of female-centric musicians and a closing performance by songwriter May Erlewine.

Mr. Tiger’s wooden shoes
Holland Museum, 31 W. 10th St., Holland
May 6–14, museum hours vary
Cost: Free with museum admission
Baseball fans, don’t miss two special pairs of wooden shoes that will be on display at the Holland Museum during Tulip Time. The shoes were given to Al Kaline, right-fielder for the Detroit Tigers for 22 seasons. Known as “Mr. Tiger,” Kaline visited Tulip Time in 1959 and was a grand marshall during the 1975 festival, and was gifted a pair of wooden shoes during each visit.

Week 2 (May 8–14)
Known for his muscular tone and unique blend of Latino and straight-ahead jazz, Diego Rivera presents all this and more, showcasing his latest Positone release, “Mestizo.”

‘Ford v Ferrari’ screening
Herrick District Library, 300 S. Main Ave., Holland
Wednesday, May 10, 6–8:30 p.m.
Cost: Free
The 2023 Le Mans is just a month away (June 10-11) and there’s no better way to celebrate a century of Le Mans than to watch one of the quintessential Le Mans movies. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of Tulip Time and kick back with the high-octane thrill of “Ford v Ferrari” (2019). 

Coopersville Craft & Vendor Fair
Coopersville Farm Museum & Event Center, 375 Main St., Coopersville
Saturday, May 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend
Enjoy this fun, free craft and vendor fair, featuring live music by the Homemade Jam Band, food, activities for kids, and drawings all day long.

Mother’s Day Weekend Sculpture Garden Viewing
Cynthia McKean Studio, 1000 Mason St., Saugatuck
Saturday–Sunday, May 13–14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: Free
If you’re looking for a way to celebrate Mom with an outing that’s free, not too far away, and offers the great outdoors and fine art? Enjoy Mother Nature while wandering through Cynthia McKean's Sculpture Garden and Studio. 

Diego Rivera Quartet
The Block, 360 W. Western Ave., second floor, Muskegon
Saturday, May 13, 7:30–9:30 p.m.
Cost: $32–$48, $10 for students
Known for his muscular tone and unique blend of Latino and straight-ahead jazz, Diego Rivera presents all this and more, showcasing his latest Positone release, “Mestizo.” A world-class musician, composer, arranger and educator, Ann Arbor-born Rivera has entertained audiences for over 20 years. Rivera is a tenured associate professor of jazz saxophone at Michigan State University, where he also serves as associate director of jazz studies.

Week 3 (May 15–21)

World-famous stunt kite flyers perform to music on the center flying field while kites larger than a school bus hover just to the south.
OAISD Play n Learn and OAISD Bilingual Play n Learn
Join OAISD for two special playgroups, where there will be stories, fingerplays, creative art experiences, educational play, and a free book for each family. Caregivers stay with their children to learn and play.
Play n Learn, Herrick District Library, HBH Auditorium, 300 S. River Ave., Holland
Monday, May 15, 10:45–11:45 a.m.
Cost: Free
Bilingual Play n Learn, HDL North Branch, Community Room, 155 Riley St., Holland
Tuesday, May 16, 6–7 p.m.
Cost: Free

 “Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience” documentary
First United Methodist Church of Holland (FUMC), 57 West 10th St. Holland
Monday, May 15, 7 p.m. 
Cost: Free, donations appreciated. Register at the link below. 
This compelling, adult film features Native Americans in the Midwest who use ancestral teachings in their daily lives, work to heal from traumatic experiences in forced boarding schools and help build bridges of understanding and respect. A Q&A with producer Audrey Geyer will follow. Hosted by FUMC Anti-Racism Team and community partners.

ForeShore Adventure Run
Pere Marquette Beach, 3510 Channel Drive, Muskegon
Saturday, May 20, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cost: $55
Muskegon Rescue Mission’s ForeShore Adventure Run is the lakeshore’s premier 5K obstacle course run. ForeShore features more than 20 obstacles to conquer. Every registration, apparel purchase, and donation helps Muskegon Rescue Mission provide nutritious meals, safe shelter and life-changing services to homeless men, women, and children in West Michigan.

Grand Haven Kite Festival
Grand Haven State Park, 1001 S. Harbor Drive, Grand Haven
Saturday–Sunday, May 20–21, all day
Cost: Free to attend; there may be a fee for parking inside the park
Enjoy a day at the beach as the sky is filled with colorful kites of all types and sizes. World-famous stunt kite flyers perform to music on the center flying field while kites larger than a school bus hover just to the south. Bring your own kite to fly on the open flying field at the north end of the event, or test the year’s newest kites on one of the manufacturers’ fields.

Lakeshore Community Chorus — Route 66 Road Trip
Saugatuck Center for the arts, 400 Culver St., Saugatuck
Sunday, May 21, 4 p.m.
Cost: Free
The chorus will “drive” the audience along the famous and historic Route 66, starting from Chicago and ending in Los Angeles. Selections include “Route 66,” “Shenandoah,” “Oklahoma,” and “Hooray for Hollywood.” Several songs will incorporate a professional jazz combo. Community members will share their artistic talents via short compositions and artwork reflecting Route 66 and travel. Classic custom cars will be displayed in the parking lot before the performance.

Week 4 (May 22–31)
Zeeland is one of the many communities planning a Memorial Day parade and program.
Hackley Attic Escape Room
Hackley and Hume Historical Site, 484 W. Western Ave., Muskegon
Friday, May 26, 5–6:30 p.m. (registration is required)
Cost: $20 for Lakeshore Museum Center members, $25 for nonmembers
Experience the Hackley House as you never have before! For many years, the Hackley Attic has been a mysterious place for visitors. Now it is up to you and your closest friends to escape a Victorian storage room filled with puzzles, locks, and riddles. Brush up on your Muskegon history and escape the attic in 80 minutes. Space is limited. 

Tea Time with Historical Drama
Herrick District Library, HBH Auditorium, 300 S. River Ave., Holland
Saturday, May 27, 2–4 p.m.
Cost: Free
Do you love your tea time with a side of costumed drama? Join Herrick District Library as you sip tea and transport yourself through history with the magic of film. Fancy dress and costumes are welcome, though not required. “The Other Boleyn Girl,” rated PG-13, will be showing. Tea will be provided. Feel free to bring your own teacup. 

Allegan Antiques Market
Allegan Antiques Market, 150 Douglas St., Allegan
Sunday, May 28, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $5 admission
Known for its diversity of quality merchandise, giving shoppers a large-show experience, the Allegan Antiques Market features hundreds of dealers — inside the market and outside under canopies. Exhibitors carry a large variety of antiques and collectibles, with many specializing in glass, pottery, china, primitives, advertising, vintage jewelry, sport and fishing, furniture, and more.

Greater Muskegon Memorial Day Parade & Ceremony
2081 Deerwood, Twin Lake
Monday, May 29, 9–10 a.m.
Cost: Free
The Downtown Muskegon Memorial Day Parade will include high school marching bands, marching units, veterans and local organizations. Weather permitting, the parade begins with a flyover by the Hooligans Flight Team (classic war planes). Immediately following the parade, a free ceremony — including a musical program by the Mona Shores Marching Band, guest speaker and honoring of veterans — will take place at the Frauenthal Center, 425 W. Western Ave., Muskegon.

Spring Lake Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony
South side of St. Mary’s Church, 406 E. Savage St., Spring Lake
Monday, May 29, 10–10:30 a.m.
Cost: Free to attend
Come celebrate all of the brave men and women in uniform who made the ultimate sacrifice for the USA. This year’s parade will include a color guard from the Muskegon V.F.W., the Spring Lake Middle School and High School marching bands, local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, Spring Lake Village and Township police and firefighters, and others. Spectators are invited to line the parade route — east on Exchange Street, south on Lake Avenue, east on River Street, and north on Fruitport Road. A memorial ceremony will follow the parade at noon in Spring Lake Cemetery.

Zeeland Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony
Begins at Main Street, Zeeland
Monday, May 29, 9 a.m.
Cost: Free
A Memorial Day parade and ceremony are planned in Zeeland. The parade starts at Main Avenue and Centennial Street at 9 a.m. and ends at Zeeland Cemetery, at Lincoln Avenue and Church Street, at 10 a.m. A ceremony is planned after the parade at the cemetery. 

Holland Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony
Eighth Street and Central Avenue, Holland
Monday, May 29, 9 a.m.
Cost: Free
Holland community members will gather downtown on Memorial Day for a parade in honor of those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to this country. The parade, which ends at Pilgrim Home Cemetery, is followed at noon by a program of remembrance and music in the cemetery, at 370 E. 16th St.

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.