Macomb summer festival line-up offers big music names, family events, and foodie fun

What's summertime without a little fun? Macomb County certainly has plenty of exciting summer events for residents and visitors alike. In addition to being the home of the Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill, which brings world-class entertainers to the region, the county is known for a wide variety of summer festivals. These include local celebrations like the Armada Fair, agriculture-related gatherings like the long-running Romeo Peach Festival, music series like St. Clair Shores Music on the Lake Summer Concert series, and fishing-related fun like the annual Bass Brews and BBQ Festival. We've profiled three of these summer fairs here and included a more extensive calendar of festivals and events to check out. 

Visitors check out carnival games at Center Line Independence Festival. (Photo courtesy Center Line Parks and Recreation)Center Line Independence Festival

The city of Center Line is planning to start off the summer festival season on the right foot with an annual that draws thousands of visitors each year. The festival features a variety of different attractions, including a parade, live music, carnival, beer fest, car show, fireworks, and a 5K run.

"The Center Line Independence Festival [is] a very family-oriented event that truly has something for everyone to enjoy," says Shawn Messeria, Center Line's Recreation Director. "Some special highlights this year are the bands. Everyone is very excited about Family Tradition returning this year."

In addition to The Family Tradition Band, an area country band, this year's line-up also includes the Oneders, Captain Fantastic, Sunset Blvd., American Ages, the Bernadette Kathryn Band, The Jacki Daniels show, Shiatown, a little bit Diamond, The Prolifics, and Magic Bus.  

The North American Midway Entertainment Carnival and Cruisin '53, a car show, parade, and cruise, will be taking place on 10 Mile and Van Dyke Ave. Other festival events will be happening at Memorial Park, 25355 Lawrence Ave. The annual Run Warren-Center Line 5K fun run will start at 8 a.m. at Warren City Square in Warren to Memorial Park in Center Line. 

A young girl goes for a pony ride at Blake's Country to the Core festival. (Photo Courtesy of Blake's Orchard)
Blake's Country to the Core and other summer fun events

Blake's Orchard and Cider Mill is a well-known destination orchard in Armada that offers 40 different varieties of apples. Beyond that, it's also an 800-acre working farm that grows 30 unique fruits and vegetables that visitors can pick for themselves. The orchard and farm also offer a variety of year-round attractions, including a kids' play area with a petting zoo and other activities, as well as a tasting room where patrons can try out cider, beer, and Blake's own branded wine.

Throughout the year, the farm and orchard also sponsor a variety of events, from fall evening campfires to a winter holiday extravaganza. Blake's summer festival season is getting started with an event called Country to the Core, a celebration of all things country that takes place June 2-4. Admission to Country to the Core will be free all weekend long. 

"Country to the Core is our official kick-off to our growing season and we’re excited to invite the community to the farm in celebration—and enjoy homegrown fun from pig races and pony rides to DIY workshops and a fireworks show," says Jacqlyn Bradford, Director of Marketing for Blake's Orchard. "Saturday we’ll be raising a glass in honor of BHC’s 10-year anniversary where guests can expect the return of retired ciders for one day only, line dancing, live music, and more." 

In addition to that event, the farm and orchard also sponsor several other summer festivals. Blake's Lavender Festival takes place July 14-16.  It offers a special marketplace with over 200 artisans offering handcrafted items, as well as classes and DIY workshops centered around lavender, children's activities, and lavender-infused food and drinks.

In August, visitors can check out Blake's Sunflower Festival. Running from August 11-13, it features more than 40 artisans, sunflower-focused workshops, and classes on topics like natural wellness, aromatherapy, farming and gardening, and local honey.

Later that month, the farm and orchard hold Cider Dayz, a beer and cider festival with more than 50 craft breweries, live music, food trucks, a beer stein holding contest, giant-sized beer pong, cornhole, and a silent disco party. Each ticket to Cider Dayz includes nine five-ounce pours and a commemorative glass.

Blake's Orchard and Cider Mill is located at 17985 Armada Center Rd. in Armada.

Sterlingfest offere music, carnival games and more. (Photo courtesy City of Sterling Heights)Sterlingfest

With over 40 years under its belt, Sterlingfest can certainly be considered a Macomb County tradition at this point. The three-day event offers a unique mix of music, arts and crafts, food, and fun for Sterling Heights families and the broader public.

“For 41 years now, the last weekend in July has made Dodge Park in Sterling Heights the destination for what has become the region’s favorite art and music festival,” says Mayor Sterling Heights Michael Taylor. “Our annual art and music fair has grown to be one of the best-loved festivals in Michigan, and we get more than 150,000 visitors over three days. The last four decades of hard work have paid off, earning us the titles of Detroit News’ 'Michigan’s BEST Summer Festival' and WXYZ’s 'Top Summer Festival in Metro Detroit.'"

Music is certainly a big draw for the festival. This year's star attractions are Steven Adler of Guns N' Roses and Anne Wilson of Heart. Other acts include The Whiskey Charmers, Denise Davis and the Motor City Sensations, Black Irish featuring Tosha Owens, The Kennebec Jazz Group, Space Cat, and Hip Hop Hooray, an 80s and 90s hip hop tribute.

In addition to the music, there will also be carnival rides, a kid's tent, a 5K race, a beer pavilion, and choreographed fireworks.

Sterlingfest will be held this year on the City of Sterling Heights campus at 40555 Utica Road. Festival Hours will be between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m., while arts and crafts fair hours will be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Macomb County Summer Festivals 2023 Calendar

Lake St. Clair Metropark Summer Concert Series - May 28- September 3, 2023
31300 Metro Parkway, Harrison Township
Live Music Series

Blake's Country to the Core Festival - June 2-4, 2023
17985 Armada Center Road, Armada
Live music, food and drinks, children's activities, games,  fireworks, 

Center Line Festival, June 2-June 4, 2023
Memorial Park (25355 Lawrence, Center Line
Music, beer fest, cornhole, 5K run, car show and parade

Music on the Lake Concert Series - Wednesdays, June 7-August 16, 2023
32400 Jefferson Avenue, St. Clair Shores
Live music series

Stony Creek Metropark Summer Concert Series - June 9-August 18, 2023
4300 Main Park Dr, Shelby Township
Live music series

Cruisin’ Gratiot - June 15-17, 2023
Various locations along Gratiot, Eastpointe
Car show, Cruise, awards and raffle drawings

Juneteenth Festival - June 16-17
Downtown Mt. Clemens 
Arts and crafts show, day of reflection and remembrance

Fun Food Friends Fest - June 18, 2023
Knight Park & Pavilion, 11542 21 Mile Rd. Shelby Township
Food truck, live music, bounce house car show

Bay-Rama Fishfly Fest - June 21-25, 2023
Walter & Mary Burke Park, 36300 Front Street, New Baltimore
Live music, kid's games, cornhole tournament, fireworks, Miss Bay-Rama pageant

Blake's Lavender Festival - July 14-16
17985 Armada Center Road, Armada
200+ artisans, lavender-infused food and drinks, free classes, DIY workshops, children's activities, train rides U-Pick lavender, fruits, and vegetables

Festa Italiana - July 14-16, 2023
Freedom Hill County Park - 14900 Metro Parkway, Sterling Heights
Live music, food vendors, Italian wines, beer, and cocktails, petting zoo, fireworks, bounce house, rock climbing wall

Fraser Lions Club Carnival – July 20-July 23, 2023
Steffens Park, 33000 Garfield Rd, Fraser, MI 48026
live music, carnival games, cornhole, fireworks

Sterlingfest - July 27-July 29, 2023
Dodge Park, 40555 Utica Rd, Sterling Hts, MI 48313
Live music, art fair, kids tent, 5K run

Bass Brews and BBQ Festival - July 28-30, 2023
Brandenburg Park, 50050 Jefferson Avenue, Chesterfield, MI 48047
Coincides with  2023 AFTCO Bassmaster Elite fishing tournament On Lake St. Clair (July 27-39), live music, craft beer, BBQ, family fun

Blake's Sunflower Festival - August 11-13, 2023
17985 Armada Center Road, Armada 
100+ artisans, classes, speakers, demonstrations, DIY workshops, U-pick sunflowers, wild flowers, fruits, and vegetables

Shelby Township Art Fair - August 12-13, 2023
River Bends Park is located at 5700 22 Mile Road, Shelby Township
Live music, art fair, interactive art, kids crafts and activities

Armada Fair – August 14 - August 20, 2023
Armada Agricultural Fairgrounds, 74280 Fair St, Armada, MI 48005
Live Music, carnival games, livestock sale, monster Trucks, demolition derby, rodeo, tractor & truck pulls

Blake's Cider Dayz Festival - August 26-27
17985 Armada Center Road, Armada 
50+ craft breweries, live music, food trucks, silent disco, games

Romeo Peach Festival, September 1-4, 2023
Various locations in Romeo area
Parade, carnival games, food vendors, car show, photo contests, 5K/10K runs

This series, made possible with the support of Macomb County, captures the stories of how residents and visitors live, work, and play in the region.
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Read more articles by David Sands.