June is shaping up to be an exciting month of special events within Mackinac Island State Park and over at Colonial Michilimackinac, in Mackinaw City.

   To start, Mackinac Island State Park and Fort Mackinac will host a number of activities in conjunction with the 75th annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival, June 9-18. To kick off the festivities for the week, the reigning Lilac Festival Queen, Clara Chambers, will fire the ceremonial opening cannon at Fort Mackinac on Friday morning, June 9.

 Starting Saturday, June 10 and running through June 18, admission to The Richard & Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum, located in beautiful Marquette Park in front of Fort Mackinac, will be complimentary to all guests on Mackinac Island. Visitors are encouraged to explore A Mackinac Day, the juried exhibition located in the changing gallery on the second floor, and the new portraits of Arent and Rebecca DePeyster located on the main level of the museum.

 Also throughout the festival, inside Fort Mackinac, the interpretive staff will feature an exclusive tour. At 1:00 p.m. join the staff as they bring guests out onto the porch of the Wood Quarters for a discussion of the soldier’s garden, what is now Marquette Park, home to the most famous of Mackinac’s lilacs. General fort admission is required for this tour.

 Additionally, Mackinac State Historic Parks is teaming up with the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau to give a visitor to fire the closing cannon of the day on Saturday, June 10, Friday, June 16, and Saturday, June 17. Visitors must be on the island to enter, and simply need to fill out a card at the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau booth on Main Street.

 Other special events for the Lilac Festival include:

  • – Saturday, June 10: a showing of The Wizard of Oz at dusk inside Fort Mackinac. This is a free event, open to all.
  • – Monday, June 12: Creating the Village of Mackinac Island tour, which will guide guests through downtown Mackinac Island, laying out how the Village of Mackinac came to be. This is a free event with donations welcome; tour starts at 5:30 p.m. at Winderemere Point. Tour led by MSHP Interpretation Coordinator Jack Swartzinski.
  • – Tuesday, June 13: Mackinac in the 1830s tour, where guests will experience a walking tour of downtown Mackinac Island discussing the community in the 1830s and highlighting the role various agencies had at the time; tour starts at 5:30 p.m. at The Richard & Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum. This is a free event, with donations welcome, led by MSHP Chief Curator Craig Wilson.
  • – Wednesday, June 14: Governor’s Summer Residence tour, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.; Artist-in-Residence Workshop, Station 256 Conference Room, 7:00 p.m.
  • – Saturday, June 17: Lilacs and Warblers Birding Adventure! This unique guided adventure will allow visitors to search for spring songbirds while walking among the thousands of gragrant lilac blossoms and up the hill into the park; tour starts at 9:00 a.m. at the Father Marquette Statue in Marquette Park. This is a free event, led by MSHP Park Naturalist Kyle Bagnall.
  • – Saturday, June 17: Guests will have a guided opportunity to explore Mackinac Island State Park’s newest interpretive pathway, the Hardwood Nature Trail. Starting behind Fort Mackinac, guests will walk about ¾ mile to a woodland loop, all the while looking for wildflowers, songbirds, and other wildlife. This is a free event, with donations welcome, led by MSHP Park Naturalist Kyle Bagnall. Begins at the Fort Mackinac Avenue of Flags at 1:00 p.m.

  The world famous Lilac Festival Grand Parade concludes the Lilac Festival celebration, on June 18. Fort Mackinac interpreters will march in the parade, and a special cannon firing will kick it off at 4:00 p.m.

 Outside of the daily tours at Fort Mackinac, all events are free to the public, and donations are welcome.

 Colonial Michilimackinac will host two events of its own in June: Maritime Michilimackinac, June 10, and Wit and Mirth: Leisure and Recreation During the Fur Trade, on June 17.

 Colonial Michilimackinac was a major hub for the Great Lakes Fur Trade, and its location where Lakes Michigan and Huron meet was crucial to its success. Maritime Michilimackinac will focus on Michilimackinac’s maritime history, as the interpretive staff discusses and demonstrates the many different ways Michilimackinac’s historic residents interacted with and worked on the water.

 Special programs will take place throughout the day, including a Weapons on the Water Demonstration at 11:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., a program showcasing what a Voyageur crew would eat at 12:00 p.m., and, at 2:00 p.m., a look at the boats and canoes of Colonial Michilimackinac out on the water. A full schedule can be found by clicking here. 

 Even in the Great Lakes wilderness, the historic residents of Michilimackinac knew how to have a good time. Join the interpretive staff June 17 for “Wit and Mirth: Recreation at Michilimackinac”, a day full of entertainments that will allow guests to play games of skill and chance, take tea with the neighbors, hear historic poetry, laugh at jokes, and more.

 Special programs during the event include card games at the Soldier’s House, a literature program, voyageur games, dice games at the Merchant’s House, and our famous tea program. A complete schedule can be found by clicking here. 

 All special programs are included with regular admission to Colonial Michilimackinac.

 Other events on Mackinac Island include the open house for A Mackinac Day, the juried exhibition at The Richard & Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum.

 There’s always something special about being able to spend a day on Mackinac. The sun seems to shine a little brighter. The sky seems a little bluer. Even days where things don’t go to plan can seem perfect. Everybody has their “Mackinac Day.” We encourage artists working in all media to share with us their artistic visions of what A Mackinac Day means to them.


The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum.

This event is open and free to the public, and is co-sponsored by Mackinac Associates, the Mackinac Arts Council, and Mackinac State Historic Parks.

On June 24 Mackinac Associates will host its biggest event of the year, the G. Mennen Williams Mackinac Celebration. This members-only event is one of the premiere events taking place on Mackinac Island throughout the summer. For information on how to join Mackinac Associates and purchase tickets for this event, please visit their website.