Twenty years ago, the Detroit International Riverfront was an unremarkable industrial setting full of parking lots, overgrown brush and broken concrete – a sad site for a major international border. Now, thanks to public and private investments and the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, the 3+ mile border along the Detroit River has become the Detroit RiverWalk: a magical pedestrian space along the river perfect for playing in fountains, riding carousels and people watching.
Hence the birth of River Days – an annual festival celebrating the development of the riverfront and an opportunity to show off all of the great experiences available on both land and water to visitors.
Now in its tenth year, the event features activities for people of all ages. Kids can enjoy activities including carnival rides, face-painting, crafts and a special children’s stage featuring animal performances, magic shows and storytelling. Adults can enjoy numerous live bands throughout the weekend, including big names such as the B-52s and Patti Labelle, as well as yoga on the riverfront. Boat tours, circus performances, jet ski demonstrations and zip line rides round out the festival, creating a fun, high energy atmosphere that is sure to surprise and delight.
Admission for the event ranges from $3-$5 with proceeds benefitting the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy and their efforts to continue to create and expand a vibrant community space on the waterfront. For additional information visit www.RiverDays.com.
Often set in busy downtowns, it’s not often the location of an art fair is as pretty as the art within it. But that’s not the case for the Palmer Park Art Fair in Detroit, arguably the loveliest art fair in the state. Set among the quaint backdrop of Palmer Park, visitors enjoy a quiet relaxing atmosphere among the ducks, hills and historic log cabin as they peruse art booths spread around the lake.
The boutique art fair started in 1976 and lasted for about a decade before closing for about 25 years. The fair was revitalized in 2013 and has occurred every May ever since, even featuring some of the same artists as the original fair.
Art-lovers can choose from work from about about 100 artists, including prominent local artists and those from out of state. The show features 2D and 3D pieces as well as wearable art, including paintings, sculptures, jewelry, furniture, photographs and more.
New this year, the art fair includes work from local teenagers at part of the Mint Artists Guild, an opportunity for young artists to showcase their work and get a taste of what life is like as an artist.
Additionally, the fair features live music performances, art projects and food trucks, creating an interactive experience for attendees.
For more information visit www.PalmerParkArtFair.com.
If you’re looking for something a little more unique for Halloween, Detroit has possibly the coolest party around: Theatre Bizarre.
To call Theatre Bizarre a Halloween party would be superficial at best. While the event is a costume party and does take place in October, Theatre Bizarre is just as much a performance as it is party. And comparing it to your average Halloween party, it’s frankly, more bizarre…
After about a decade at the Michigan State Fairgrounds, the event moved to its permanent home in Detroit’s Masonic Temple in 2011. And while there are many old-schoolers yearning for the illegal days of the past, the Temple’s beautifully gothic structure adds its own dark atmosphere perfect for an evening of spectacle, magic and debauchery.
Theatre Bizarre is not for the faint of heart nor is it for those, we’ll say, a little too pure of heart… The Temple’s eight floors are filled with a variety of experiences to choose from ranging from live music and dancing on the ground floor to a train ride in the dark on the top floor to a plethora of characters performing (in various states of dress and costume) in between. The real fun is in the exploration and never quite knowing what’s coming next…
While the event has developed quite a hype over the years, to truly understand Theatre Bizarre one must experience it first-hand. But if you do – come prepared. Below are a few tips:
- Purchase tickets early: Tickets go on sale in the summer and sell out every year. If you don’t want to be hunting through Craig’s List (like I did) and pay exorbitant prices beyond the $80+ ticket, get yours early.
- Dress to impress: Costumes are mandatory but tend to be quite elaborate with some preparing months in advance. This is an opportunity to get creative and go full out – take advantage of it!
- Bring an open mind: Theatre Bizarre’s themes explore sexuality, illusion, counterculture and the general bizarre. Come with an open mind and enjoy an evening of marvel!
For more information on Theatre Bizarre visit www.TheatreBizarre.com.
For more Michigan travel tips visit Under the Radar Michigan.
It’s been more than three years since I returned home from Asia, and I’m excited to announce the return of Erica in Wonderland. This time, however, I’ll be blogging about something a little more familiar – my home state of Michigan!
In fact, I’m partnering with Under the Radar Michigan – a Michigan travel show – to provide additional perspectives and content about life in the mitten – so you will find many of my home-based travel blogs there as well.
Stay tuned as I explore the the coolest events, museums, buildings, parks and more that make up a (rather significant) part of my everyday life, with hopefully a few special twists thrown in!