While Cereal Fest really kicks off summer here in Calhoun County, it’s only the beginning of the fun.
Here are 10 events you should put on your calendar:
Juneteenth has been celebrated in Battle Creek for decades. Join the tradition June 16-17 with activities for the entire family.
Go to Claude Evans Park for a showing of the blockbuster “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Bring blankets and lawn chairs and the movie will start at dusk.
The party continues On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Claude Evans. There will be a free hot dog lunch, activities for kids, community recognition and entertainment.
Marshall Blues Festival
Maybe it’s because Marshall is halfway between the musical cities of Detroit and Chicago, but this small town loves the blues. In summer, main street is replaced with a music stage and beer tent. Food vendors line the street, ready to feed hungry music-lovers. Plan on it for June 24.
Field of Flight
Hot-air balloons, jet planes, giant kites, fireworks and Ferris wheels take over the skies of Battle Creek from June 29 to July 4.
The official air show, with demo teams and acrobatics, is from noon to 5:30 p.m. July 1-4. Hot air balloons usually launch at 7 p.m. every day, and night shows include pyrotechnics.
If what you’re after are carnival thrills, June 29 is the best day to attend. There aren’t any planes, but admission is free (parking $10). All of the vendors will be open, selling things like barbecue ribs and lemonade by the gallon. Skerbeck Carnival, Victoria Circus, Great American Kites and FireKeepers Stage will provide the entertainment. It’s also Kids Day, so kids can sign up to win a free bike.
Welcome to My Garden Tour
Get a peek into some secret gardens among Marshall’s historical architecture July 8-9. The tour puts on display award-winning plants and colorful plantings, but also creative fixtures such as a tortoise pen, reading room, sauna and a unique collection of rocks. If you’re inspired, stop by the Vintage Garden Market near Marshall’s Fountain Circle.
Let the sounds of reggae transport you to the Caribbean on July 15. An outdoor stage will be set up at Festival Market Square in Battle Creek. The headliners for the night are Antoinette Rootsdawtah, and the Grammy-nominated band Pato Banton & The New Generation. Vendors will sell crafts and food. If you can’t wait until July to experience the Caribbean, you can always visit Island Style BBQ for an authentic taste of island food.
Celebrate the LGBTQ+ community with a big family festival at Leila Arboretum on July 22. There will be food trucks, more than 70 vendors, a fun-filled kids’ area, live entertainment and a beer garden. Adults can stick around for the After Glow dance party.
Leilapalooza is two days of music, food, art and fun. The music festival takes place in Leila Arboretum, at the Fantasy Forest stage. You can spread out a picnic blanket among the fantastic sculptures that have been carved from tree trunks. On July 29, you’ll get a variety of music, from electronic to rock to Americana.
Color the Creek
Color the Creek has brought professional muralists to paint in Battle Creek since 2016. It has filled the walls of the city with realistic animals, larger-than-life heroines, prism bursts and the mantra “Believe in Battle Creek.”
You can pick up a guide to all of the murals at the Battle Creek Welcome Center and take yourself on a tour. Not only is it great art, it’s great for Instagram.
Color the Creek returns Aug. 14-19 with more murals, art installations and events. Families should keep an eye out for Kids Day – last year included spray paint art, flower crowns and chalk designs.
Calhoun County Fair
The county fair has been a tradition since 1848. You don’t have to be a farmer to enjoy this weeklong event. Anyone craving fried food and a ride on the carousel is welcome Aug. 13-19.
It’s a chance for kids to get close with animals such as sheep, horses, cows and goats. There’s a petting farm and show animals are kept in barns that are open to the public.
There’s a show every night, ranging from a rodeo to demolition derby. Check out the schedule for livestock selfies and the frog-jumping contest.
Backyard Burgers & Brews Festival
Finish the summer with good food on Aug. 26. This festival started as a burger competition and has evolved into a food truck rally with offerings that range from pizza to Indian food to ice cream bars.
There are at least three blocks of trucks to try.
Of course, the burgers and brews are still important. We recommend stopping by Handmap Brewing’s outdoor patio for the best burgers and inventive pairings with craft beer brewed here in Battle Creek.