Ann Arbor Art Fair and Beyond

May 21, 2017

Art-inspired summer festivals and events in the Ann Arbor area are as iconic as Wolverine football is in the fall. From grassroots events to one of Michigan’s finest summer traditions, be inspired in Ann Arbor!

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The Ann Arbor Art Fair

It’s no surprise that the second most well-known aspect of Ann Arbor is the Ann Arbor Art Fair. Going strong for more than 50 years, the Ann Arbor Art Fair spans 30 city blocks with a thousand national and international artists participating in one of the largest outdoor art fairs in the country. The city streets will transform from Thursday, July 20 – Sunday, July 23 when hundreds of thousands of arts lovers, from seasoned enthusiasts to novice collectors, will discover that the art fair has something perfect just for them.



Providing an alternative experience is DIYpsi, a curated indie art fair featuring local artists from the Ypsilanti and Detroit metro areas. Hosted at the Ann Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery (still affectionally called Corner Brewery by locals), the summer 2017 event will take place Saturday, August 5 – Sunday, August 6. Stay tuned for artist details and more information.


Ann Arbor Summer Festival

From mid-June – early-July, the University of Michigan campus welcomes the Ann Arbor Summer Festival (A2SF). From Main Stage events to the outdoor series Top of the Park, A2SF encapsulates everything wonderful about Michigan summer nights. A few highlights include the return of Australia’s Strange Fruit for a public performance of the troupe’s international premier of Tall Tales on the High Seas; Colin and Brad from Who’s Line is it Anyway at the Power Center for a laugh filled night of improv; and an entertaining (and free!) collection of family-friendly movies and live music.


Sounds and Sights Festival

West of Ann Arbor is the delightful community of Chelsea, Michigan. While visitors may be more familiar with Chelsea’s more notable attractions, Chelsea Milling Company (home to JIFFY Mix) and the Purple Rose Theatre (founded by native son and Emmy award-winning actor Jeff Daniels), the city’s summer music series is drawing big crowds and even bigger acts. From Thursday, July 27 – Saturday, July 29, mainstage acts include Jill Jack, Thunderwude, Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers, Fifty Amp Fuse and more. Other activities include an art market, a classic car show, a pet parade, and a movie under the stars.


Sonic Lunch

If you’re looking to start your weekend a little early, head to downtown Ann Arbor Thursday afternoons this summer for the incredibly danceable live music series, Sonic Lunch. Every Thursday from June – August (except for July 20), local, regional, and national artist will take the stage in Liberty Park Plaza. A few artists you may want to check out include local Blues man and Ann Arbor native Laith Al-Sasdi on June 1, TUXEDO featuring Mayer Hawthorn on June 15, Theo Katzman on June 28, Ann Arbor favorites NOMO on July 27 or Joshua Davis from NBC’s The Voice on August 24.


Sundays in the Garden

A new music series hosted by Cultivate Coffee and Tap House kicks off Sunday, June 11 and features a different artist every Sunday from 6-8 p.m. through August 20. Each week will feature a different artist and Michigan craft beer benefiting a local non-profit organization. Wrap-up your weekends will a relaxing evening in Cultivate’s beer garden with friends for a good cause!


First Fridays Ypsilanti

This monthly art walk spanning Downtown Ypsilanti and Depot Town connects area artists with local restaurants, galleries, and boutiques and provides a perfect opportunity to explore the shopping and entertainment districts along Michigan Avenue and in Depot Town. Perfect for a date night, be sure to include a great dinner at an Ypsilanti iconic restaurant like Sidetrack or Haab’s, or check out one of the newer dining destinations like Ollie or Ma Lou’s Fried Chicken. If you need a little help getting around after a big meal, use hail a Boober Tour pedicab!


Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival

Possibly one of the most tranquil festivals within the Ann Arbor area, the Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival from Monday, August 14 – Sunday, August 20 welcomes artists and the public to experience and observe the creative process in scenic Dexter, Michigan. Artists embrace this opportunity to leave the four walls of their studios behind and paint landscapes in the open air while curious spectators can watch blank canvases transform before their eyes. The festival culminates with a three-day exhibit and art sale of all competition work.



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