1. Critters and Crashes
The 81st Saline Community Fair (Aug. 31-Sept. 5) judges and shows every type of farm animal imaginable. Bring the kiddos down for the preschool/toddler ride specials starting at 11 a.m. Sept. 1 – and, at 2 p.m., hit the “Have Ice Cream With a Hero” event. The next day there’s a princess and pirate party. Beyond the loads of livestock, hit the rides and games and, of course, smash-’em-up demolition derby.
- Address: Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, 5055 Ann Arbor Saline Road, Ann Arbor
- Hours: 9 a.m.-midnight Wednesday-Sunday, 1-6 p.m. Monday
- Cost: $7/ages 11-plus, free/Labor Day; $18/ride wristbands ($10/Labor Day)
2. Just Peachy
Our state’s second-oldest fair, the Romeo Peach Festival (Sept. 1-5), returns – and its parades are as phenomenal as ever. Labor Day Monday hosts a pair: the children’s parade, with a “The Jungle” theme, followed by the Floral Parade at 1:30. The day before, don’t miss the Bed Races at 7 p.m. and Mummer’s Parade after. All four march along Main Street. Rides also run all weekend for fairgoers.
- Address: Downtown Romeo
- Phone: 586-752-2553
- Hours: 4 p.m.-midnight today, 3 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-1 a.m. Saturday, 7 a.m.-1 a.m. Sunday, 10 a.m.-midnight Monday
- Cost: Free/general, $25/ride wristband
3. It’s a Circus
Novi is hosting the Michigan State Fair (Sept. 1-5) and, every day, the Shrine Circus is set to wow the crowds. “There’s acrobats and a bunch of animal routines,” says vendor manager Jackie McMahon. There’s also Tiny Totville, a collection of rides, activities and games aimed at kids 5 and under. Plus, milk the cow at a special exhibit to get a coupon for endless chocolate milk at the Guernsey Farms Dairy booth (after paying $1 for the first pint and a wristband).
- Address: Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave.
- Phone: 248-348-6942
- Cost: Fair: $8/adults, $6/ages 2-11, free/under 2 with paying adult; fair and circus or rides: $23; all three: $30
- Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday
4. Arts, Beats & Eats
The title of this massive Royal Oak fest really does say it all. Bring the family to Arts, Beats & Eats (Sept. 2-5) to see beautiful art, listen to the great music and sample foods from over 40 restaurants. Children’s Hospital of Michigan sponsors the Kids Zone – complete with a petting zoo, hockey skills challenges, moonwalks and a kiddy carnival. “We’re packed full of fun stuff for kids, and this year is no different,” says festival producer Jon Witz.
- Address: Downtown Royal Oak
- Phone: 248-541-7550
- Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday
- Cost: $3/person, $5/after 3 p.m.
5. Jazz Hands
The world’s largest free-entry jazz festival is back home in Detroit. Hundreds of musicians take over four stages as the Detroit Jazz Festival (Sept. 2-5) hits Hart Plaza and Campus Martius. All year, the fest supports education and is helps young aspiring jazz musicians perfect their craft. “Some high school bands preform,” fest spokesperson Steve Blow says. “They give it a family feel.”
- Address: Hart Plaza, Detroit
- Phone: 855-529-9338
- Hours: 7-11 p.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday, noon-8 p.m. Monday
- Cost: Free/entry