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Mackinac Island, Michigan holds special events in almost every month of the year, beginning in February with the Annual Winter Festival and Chili Cook-Off. Seasonal businesses open their doors once again in May and a special Motherís Day weekend celebration kicks things off for another summer season. Mackinac State Historic Park opens itsí historic sites to the public in May and Mission Point hosts their annual Bridal Show. There is also a special Memorial Day observance at Fort Mackinac Post Cemetery. June, however, is the month when things really begin to heat up. One of the most well known and most loved events is the annual Lilac Festival, held each June since 1949. A week of special events celebrates the hundreds of fragrant varieties of lilacs that bloom on Mackinac Island. Jesuit missionaries originally brought the lilacs to the island and the National Lilac Society considers Mackinac Islandís lilacs to be the oldest in the United States. The Lilac Festival Parade, where horses pull all of the floats, is one of the largest festival parades in the U.S. It includes clowns, bagpipers, U.S. War Veterans, bands and beautiful carriages. Just a few of the other activities during the festival include live music, food, the crowning of the Lilac Queen and Lilac Princess at the coronation ball, and the Lilac Festival Foot Race. ďThe Taste of Mackinac,Ē where local chefs serve their culinary specialties on the lawn of the islandís oldest hotel, is also a part of the festival.

The following list shows some of the other special events held during the summer months on Mackinac Island:

Guided Tours of the Governorís Mansion each Wednesday through August
Mackinac Arts Council Lecture Series (Every Thursday Through August)
Mackinac to Manitoulin to Little Current Yacht Race
The Grand Hotelís Arts Weekend in late June
Independence Day Celebration includes a Stone Skipping Contest, American Picnic at Fort Mackinac and Fireworks at Dusk.
The Great Turtle Festival in July
Mackinac Island Arts Council Festival
Bay View to Mackinac Yacht Race
Chicago to Mackinac Yacht Race
Hickory Stick Golf Classic in August
The Snag and Brag Fishing Contest
The Annual Mackinac Island Music Festival

Labor Day brings the Grand Hotelís Jazz Festival, a three-day weekend of lively music and fun, which is the perfect transition from late summer into fall. Autumnís cooler weather comes early to Mackinac Island, and with it more events such as a September Foot Race, The 16th Michigan & 102nd Colored Infantry Civil War Re-enactment and Oktoberfest. Halloween is a big event on the island with a foot race, costume parade, pumpkin painting contest and a famous pumpkin roll down Mission Hill. Winter is quieter, but itís a great time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds and see Mackinac covered in a blanket of white snow. Many summertime visitors return for December's Christmas Bazaar that features local arts & crafts, decorations and food.


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