Spring 2024 Great Lakes Calendar of Events

Great Lakes

As flowers bloom and temperatures rise in the north, spring becomes the perfect time for a Great Lakes escape. More than 9,000 miles of picturesque shorelines present historic ports packed with attractions. From Lake Superior to Lake Ontario, the region hosts a multitude of events to get seafarers excited for the spring boating season. From April to June, catch everything from boat shows and birdwatching to lakeside arts and music festivals.


Detroit Bourbon Fest selection | Courtesy of Detroit Bourbon Fest

Detroit Bourbon Fest

Detroit, MI, April 6

This indoor festival hosted at Royal Oak Farmers Market takes place a few miles north of downtown Detroit. Explore 200+ whiskeys and bourbons, a high-end bottle section and staff selections, while sampling classic and specialty cocktails. Enjoy vendors, food trucks and live music.

Where to Dock: Safe Harbor Detroit River

Total Eclipse Fest 2024

Cleveland, OH, April 6-8

The Great Lakes Science Center partners with NASA Glenn Research to host this celestial celebration at downtown Cleveland’s North Coast Harbor. The city is located along the path of totality, meaning it will experience several minutes of darkness during this solar eclipse. Join family-friendly science activities, performances, food vendors and free eclipse-viewing glasses.

Where to Dock: Oasis Marinas at North Coast Harbor

Great Lakes Poetry Festival

Marquette, MI, April 22-27

As April celebrates National Poetry Month, the Peter White Public Library near Lake Superior hosts a week-long event honoring the art of writing. Catch readings, live performances, open mics, workshops and contests. Be sure to check out the three-day International Chapbook Competition.

Where to Dock: Cinder Pond Marina

Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth | Courtesy of DECC

Homegrown Music Festival

Duluth, MN, April 28-May 5

What began as just 10 acts performing in 1999 has grown into an annual community-wide event hosting hundreds of bands and art showcases. Venture to various venues throughout the city such as the waterfront Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, as well as local breweries, distilleries and restaurants to see everything from poetry to visual arts.

Where to Dock: Lakehead Boat Basin

Yellow warbler | Credit: SteveByland


The Biggest Week in American Birding

Oak Harbor, OH, May 3-12

Head to the “Warbler Capital of the World” this spring and witness amazing species at this 10-day birding event. Attend photography and art workshops, presentations, and evening socials, and catch all things bird lover-themed from the Birder’s Marketplace to Bird Trivia Night.

Where to Dock: Maumee Bay Lodge & Conference Center

Chicago Mayfest

Chicago, IL, May 17-19

Support the local neighborhood, celebrate the arts scene and enjoy music, artwork and delicious food at this annual festival. Located in the Historic District of Lincoln Park at Armitage & Sheffield, two stages will showcase some of Chicago’s most acclaimed musicians. Vendors display throughout the district presenting tons of artwork to buy.

Where to Dock: Chicago Harbors

Great Lakes Boating Festival

Grosse Pointe Shores, MI, May 18-19

Join the Grosse Point Yacht Club in celebrating the 35th annual Great Lakes Boating Festival. Sip, shop and stroll along the docks to browse various tenders, bow riders and center consoles on display at the marina, plus exhibitors. Peruse the Art Show, catch in-water demos and groove to steel drums.

Where to Dock: Safe Harbor Jefferson Beach

Bayfield in Bloom

Bayfield, WI, May 31-June 8

Gaze across gardens filled with 50,000+ daffodils and orchards of apple blossoms at this annual springtime celebration. The week-long event features gorgeous garden tours, a special live broadcast of Garden Talk with Larry Meiller at Bayfield Lakeside Pavilion and the Blessing of the Fleet ceremony at Bayfield City Harbor on June 2.

Where to Dock: Apostle Islands Marina


Chicago Blues Festival

Chicago, IL, June 6-9

Known as the largest blues festival in the world, catch some of the industry’s best acts at this four-day event. Concerts are hosted daily in the heart of downtown Chicago at Millennium Park. Transients can choose from one of the many Chicago Harbors marinas located along the coast such as DuSable, Monroe or Burnham Harbors.

Where to Dock: Chicago Harbors

Riverside Arts Festival

Bay City, MI, June 8-9

This festival celebrates its 50th year showcasing local entertainment, vendors and Great Lakes artistry along the Saginaw Riverfront. Artists from across the nation showcase a variety of works including handmade pottery, jewelry, sculptures, intricate woodwork, home and garden items, and more.

Where to Dock: Bay Harbor Marina

Credit: Bay Harbor Lake Marina

Bay Harbor In-Water Boat Show

Bay Harbor, MI, June 14-16

Head to Bay Harbor Lake Marina to see exhibitors and cruisers on display at this annual spring boat show. The Village at Bay Harbor is a lovely destination boasting world-class amenities, waterfront dining, charming vacation homes and a boutique-style hotel. The show supports Great Lakes marinas and local businesses.

Where to Dock: Bay Harbor Lake Marina

Adelaide Pointe Powerboat Weekend

Muskegon, MI, June 21-22

Formerly known as Muskegon Powerboat Weekend, the opening event of the West Michigan offshore season is changing its name and location and moving to Adelaide Pointe. Located on Muskegon Lake, the two-day cruisers event hosts boating activities, a dock party and poker run.

Where to Dock: Safe Harbor Great Lakes

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