Sure, fall is a time to pack those jean cutoffs away and get used to the idea of it getting colder out. But it also means there's lots of fun stuff to do – Halloween is right around the corner, the cider mills are open and it's actually safe to walk around without a jacket and enjoy the brisk autumn air. It's also an apt time to gorge yourself on a turkey leg that's as big as your arm and slug back as much fall-themed craft beer as your body can handle. Fall is a fantastic time in Michigan to get out and enjoy all the amazing festivals going on in our great state (and after that hot-ass summer, you're going to want to get out and do some stuff in a pleasant climate). We've taken the guesswork out of it for you – as we always do – and compiled a nice breakdown of some of the best fests in the metro area for the season. | RDW
Michigan Renaissance Festival
Pirates, wenches, maidens and wizards rejoice! The festival of frivolity is here yet again. It's time to get your fill of cider, Scotch eggs, jumbo turkey legs, jousting and metalsmithing. For anyone who's been before, you know its not only some of the best people-watching around town, it's also a fantastic time each and every year. Food, music, fun, merriment and a tremendous amount of cleavage – is there anything that screams "fall" in Michigan more than this? Additional info at michrenfest.com.
Detroit Design Festival
The DDF is in its second year, and considering how big the inaugural event was, this is going to be a landmark celebration of creativity in the Motor City! Aimed at partnering individuals and institutions with Detroit's rich creative realm, the wheels of change are certainly turning – from improving the economy of our great state to building networks within the creative communities of metro Detroit. Retail, technology and design will all be displaying their best and brightest, showing everyone that Detroit is a creative force to be reckoned with! More info at detroitdesignfestival.com.
Northville Victorian Festival
Who didn't love the party atmosphere of the 1800s? Man, if we could re-live those days! But in all seriousness, Northville takes this period party seriously – all the art, history and entertainment from that era will be showcased along Northville's historic downtown area. Starting with a traditional parade on the evening of 9/21 and continuing all the way through Sunday, you'll get to enjoy hot air balloon rides, vintage baseball, a petting farm, enchanting fairy park, craft market and more! Additional info at Northville.org.
Plymouth Restaurant Week
Downtown Plymouth is beautiful in and of itself – not to mention the dozens of great dining establishments they have tucked in this great town. Well, they're about to embark on their very first restaurant week – offering prix fixe three-course lunch and dinner menus for $15-$35 per person. Ten of their top restaurants will be participating (listed at plymouthrestaurantweek.com with interactive menus) over the ten-day event, and you can guarantee you'll be getting one hell of a meal for a great price. Now's your chance to explore Plymouth if you haven't already.
One of the most diverse communities in southeast Michigan, the city of Southfield boasts a rich collection of cultural, racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds. Partnering with the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit, the city is sponsoring the International Festival at the Southfield Pavilion – showcasing music and dance performances, ethnic arts and craft demonstrations for the whole family as well as fantastic food offerings which will be available for purchase. More info at cityofsouthfield.com.
Detroit Zoo Fall Festival
Royal Oak 10/6
The Zoo's seasonal festival features a great assortment of live entertainment, fall-inspired food and drink and family-friendly activities. Hayrides, pumpkin painting, arts and crafts, face-painting and more. And don't be fooled into thinking this is just a children's event – you're never too old for the zoo! And keep in mind, when it's not a gazillion degrees out, the animals tend to be more active – so head out there and enjoy the sights and sounds of the zoo in fall! More info at detroitzoo.org.
Great Lakes Regional Chili Cook Off
and Motorcycle Show
The 17th annual event that showcases one of the best of all of fall's favorite foods – chili – returns to the Great Lakes State! Nearly 90 different chilies will be competing, with over 50,000 samples passed out and more than 15 different restaurants participating. But that's not all! This is also a motorcycle event, combining two of everyone's favorite events into one – a motorcycle show, complete with a Chili Charity Ride, live music and dance performances and more! For additional info on this great event, head over to greatlakeschili.com.
Detroit Beer Week
Right on the heels of all the beer-y goodness of Oktoberfest season, Detroit Beer Week comes charging in – built on a foundation of a impressively strong craft beer industry in our great state. With events all over the area, a focus is placed squarely on some of our favorite breweries – from Slow's to Grand Trunk Pub to Andiamo. Head over to detbeerweek.com for additional info.
Veteran's Day Parade & Ceremonies
Honoring all of metro Detroit's vets is always something in the back of everyone's minds, so it's most definitely fitting that we appreciate and acknowledge the sacrifices that they've made. The Metropolitan Detroit Veterans Coalition will be including and inviting all veterans and service organizations, youth groups, marching bands, schools and community members to participate in this, the 7th annual metro Detroit Veterans Day Parade.
Windsor International Film Festival
Windsor, ON 11/7-11/11
The WIFF has grown exponentially in popularity in recent years – aiming to recognize and celebrate the art of cinema by showcasing Canadian and international films and filmmakers. With 30+ local and international films screened over the course of three days at the Capitol Theatre in downtown Windsor and the Detroit Film Theatre, there will be some directors and/or actors present from the films – providing a truly interactive experience for fans of film. More info at windsorfilmfestival.com.
Campus Martius Tree Lighting
Everyone knows that Campus Martius is the center of the Holiday universe in Detroit proper. From ice-skating (which begins on 11/19) to the joyous celebration of the official tree lighting, it spreads some cheer early on in the year. Staying lit for over a month, the Christmas tree is a symbol of the spirit of the Motor City – why wouldn't you want to be a part of that celebration? And although it's still technically autumn, everyone sure loves the holiday season, and Detroit is all about spreading the good cheer – so up it goes in November, staying all the way through the holidays! More info at campusmartiuspark.org.
Hob Nobble Gobble
Held at Ford Field annually, this premiere fundraiser for America's Thanksgiving Parade is always a riot – offering rides, carnival games, a marching band, Santa Claus himself and more! Live musical entertainment by British artist Jay Sean concludes the evening and helps support the 86th year of the Parade! More info at theparade.org. And don't forget about the 30th anniversary of the Turkey Trot on 11/22, offering 5k, 10k and one-mile fun runs – but don't forget your costume (over a thousand participants yearly wear outrageous outfits!).
America's Thanksgiving Parade
It all leads up to this! The official welcoming of the holiday season, celebrating the awesomeness of Detroit, the Thanksgiving holiday and a terrific excuse to head downtown with (or without) your family and enjoy the floats, costumes and excitement of this 86-year old tradition! More info at theparade.org.