SummerCelebrationFor the past 18 years, the lakeshore community of Muskegon comes together for an amazing 10-day event called Summer Celebration. It’s one of the biggest summertime events on this side of Michigan, and includes everything from fireworks and parades to a juried arts & crafts show, music performances by both local and national acts and even a community-wide picnic. Whether you’re headed straight to the beer tent, or to the carnival midway with your kids, there’s something for everyone at Summer Celebration!

This year’s event kicks off on June 30th and goes through July 9th, with different activities planned for each day. You can see the full schedule at http://www.summercelebration.com/schedule.

I’ve attended this event many times, both before and after having kids. It’s a completely different experience each way, but always a blast to go to. Before kids, I loved to attend as many of the concerts as I could get too – in past years I’ve seen a lot of national headlining acts there. They try for a range of musical styles, but it’s generally heavy on classics and ‘oldies’ as well as contemporary acts. This year’s actsinclude Night Ranger, Sugar Ray, Cinderella, the Charlie Daniels Band, Goo Goo Dolls, Michelle Branch, Trey Songz, and country singer Aaron Lewis – as well as many others. The headlining acts are opened by local bands, making for a great evening of music right on the Muskegon Lake waterfront – often accompanied by a gorgeous sunset as well. Many people make a family activity of it and bring blankets and chairs for the whole family to hang out for the evening – with the carnival midway directly adjacent to the main stage and lawn area, it works out well logistically.

Here are a few other of my favorite Summer Celebration activities:

  • The Plumb’s Community Picnic (June 30th, 4-8pm ET), where the food and ice cream is so cheap (usually 50 cents per item or so) that you can feed the whole family for only a few dollars. There are also games and activities for kids aged 10 and under and there’s usually live music and entertainment as well.
  • The Art in the Park / Village Craft Market (July 1-3) takes up an entire city block as well as the local park with hundreds of exhibitors, stalls and artists displaying everything from sculpture and paintings and jewelry to about any kind of craft you can imagine. Over the years I’ve found so many great products that you just can’t get in stores – handmade hair bows, animal-shaped towels and toys for my kids, clothing, hair accessories, photographs, furniture and so much more. 
  • The Fourth of July Fireworks (July 4th, approximately 10:20pm) take place over Muskegon Lake, just at the tail end or right after the finish of that night’s concert (this year it’s the Eagles tribute band, Hotel California A Salute to the Eagles). What a perfectly American way to celebrate the birth of our nation!
  • The Meijer Midway (June 30-July 9) is always the kids’ favorite – a typical carnival set up and you can buy a wristband for $20 (or $15 with a coupon you can get at area Meijer stores) that will let you ride all day. There are different daily specials as well. There are smaller rides for toddlers and preschoolers, plus a ferris wheel, carousel and a lot more!

Deb writes as West Michigan TravelingMom as well as at Mom of 3 Girls and Just a mom’s take on things…. You can also find her on Twitter – she’s @DebMomOf3.

Photo credit: jvh33