For our family, and many others throughout the state of Michigan, Mackinac Island is a summer get away and a fun destination. But over the years most people (our family included) never venture past the main street and see the treasures the island has in store. Maybe once or twice we climbed the big hill to visit Fort Mackinac and Arch Rock, but the touristy attractions on the main drag kept us entertained.
The island is one of the few remaining islands in the country that does not allow motor vehicles. Your main transportation when visiting will be your own feet, taxis (that are really horse drawn carriages) or bikes. If you require one the island does allow motorized chairs, but these are few and far between.
Being surrounded by Victorian Architecture, hearing the clomp of horse’s hooves and smelling fresh fudge as you walk down the street almost sets you back in time. There is now denying that Mackinac Island has it’s own appeal and already a small town feel that you feel wrapped in as you walk through the town. But every summer, they throw a celebration that highlights the island and the small community we fall in love with every time we visit.
The Mackinac Island Lilac Festival is a ten day festival held the second week of June every year, around the time the lilacs are blooming on the island. While downstate the lilac blooms are long gone, the cooler weather of Northern Michigan means this beautiful flower gets to be the highlight of the summer. The festival has been happening for years and brings national attention to the small island and includes activities like the coronation of the Lilac Festival Queen and Court, Lilac Festival 10K, horse drawn carriage tours, numerous concerts, wine tastings, A Taste of Mackinac Culinary Event, Mackinac Island Dog and Pony Show, and the Lilac Festival Grand Parade.
From community involvement, including displays local small town shops to the history of the island, everything is on display during the Lilac Festival. You’ll quickly feel at home during the festival and will see a whole new side of Mackinac Island. Take the opportunity to explore, head out on the hiking paths after the parade or learn more about our state’s history as you walk through the fort. The island will reward you with beautiful views, a sense of community and delicious food.
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