When spring slips to summer, the Mackinac Lilac Festival lures visitors to the tiny Victorian isle of Mackinac Island, Michigan. I was lucky enough to enjoy the picture book views and mingled scents of lilacs and fudge for 4 years. This is my first hand experience guide to the 2012 Lilac Festival .
The lilac festival was started decades ago by year round residents as a parade to show off the lilacs. The island is festooned with purple, white, and blue lilacs each June, and many of the lilac bushes date back centuries.
The Lilac Festival has grown into a 10 day celebration including wine and beer tasting, walking tours, a food fair featuring the Island’s best chefs, live music, a Grand Hotel golf tournament, dancing, nightlife, tours of the Governor’s Summer Mansion, hayrides, and a 10K race, all leading up to the Grand Parade on the last day.
History, architecture, and art tours run throughout the festival. You can learn how to make authentic Mackinac Island fudge, watch the sun rise over the waves, see the blessing of the animals on the island and attend a real, live Dog and Pony Show.
The Lilac 10-K is a unique race, taking in the best of Mackinac Island. You can run or walk through historic downtown Mackinac Island, continue through the wooded center of the Island, then complete the race along the shoreline of the Straits of Mackinac – and everyone is a winner.
The best B&Bs and hotels on Mackinac Island fill up fast, with many making their reservations a year in advance, and it’s worth it. Staying on the Island gives you the time to enjoy the nightlife and get a real feel for the island. There’s nothing like waking up to the clip clop of horses and the rush of waves hitting the shore.