Destination: Charlevoix

·3 min read

Jul. 25—Editor's note: This article was published in Grand Traverse Scene magazine's July 2021 issue. Pick up a free copy at area hotels, visitor's centers, chambers of commerce or at the Record-Eagle building on Front Street. Click here to read GT Scene in its entirety online.

Events are back on the calendar this summer, returning to the schedule in Charlevoix after many were canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Visit Charlevoix Executive Director Amanda Wilkin said they are eager to resume operations mostly as normal.

The summer 2021 season began in early May, extending the tourism season by about a month.

"If you come to Charlevoix, there is at least a few events happening every day," Wilkin said. "It's very busy, but bring it on. We were busy last year during the pandemic and we're even busier this year."

The longtime Charlevoix Venetian Festival takes place July 17-25. Guests can enjoy sporting activities, concerts, a street parade, games, a boat parade and more. The event has occurred for about 90 years.

Wilkin said Aquapalooza is a "really fun event for boaters and beach goers." It kicks off the festival at noon July 17 at Ferry Beach. Attendees may float in Lake Charlevoix while a concert occurs on the beach stage.

The Waterfront Art Fair, Wilkin said, is another popular event returning Aug. 14. Artists sell their works at East Park.

"It's one of the oldest art fairs in Michigan," Wilkin said. "Some local, some national artists. It's definitely very talented artists."

Residents and visitors can hear live music throughout the summer. Wilkin said Bier's Ironwood Brewery hosts weekend concerts in July and August. People are encouraged to bring chairs to these outdoor events.

"They're up on a hill overlooking Lake Michigan, so it's absolutely beautiful," she said.

Other outdoor activities in the Charlevoix area include Mt. McSauba. Wilkin said the ski slope features sand dunes, disc golf and hiking trails in the summer months. She added that this spot is only a couple miles from downtown Charlevoix, so people can take a morning walk and have time for paddling or boating in the afternoon.

Fisherman's Island State Park, she said, is a great place for hiking and Petoskey stone hunting on beaches along Lake Michigan. Everyone may visit, as long as they posses a recreation pass.

"Recreation is the name of the game this year," she said. "Everybody wants to be outside."

Wilkin also suggested taking a day trip to Lavender Hill Farm in nearby Boyne City. They host workshops, live music shows, yoga sessions and many more events.

Wilkin said indoor spots include Charlevoix Public Library and Castle Farms, which offers guided tours of the facility and many events.

Visitors may also take a gem car tour of Earl Young's Mushroom Houses. Wilkin said this is a must-see spot for history and architecture fans.

"They look like they grew up out of the ground," she said. "They're very organic looking."

Sarah Matye, executive director for Charlevoix Circle of Arts, said they are planning their Summer Salon featuring local artists. About 40 artists display and sell their original artworks through Sept. 4.

Matye added that they plan to rotate the displays. When a piece sells, they'll replace it with a new one.

Artists also sell works they create around Charlevoix during a reception from 5-7 p.m. July 16. Charlevoix Circle of Arts partnered with Charlevoix Parks and Recreation to highlight local parks during this event.

Additionally, the nonprofit arts center hosts artist demonstrations on the front lawn throughout the summer.

"It's a great summer to see all the different works," Matye said. "It's exciting to see what artists bring in."

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