Memorial Day In Michigan: Things To Do, Events To Join

By WWJ Newsradio 950

(WWJ) The news couldn't come soon enough for frustrated parents and anxiety-riddled office workers: Michigan, one of the states hardest hit by coronavirus, will start reopening on Friday.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's announcement that the Upper Peninsula and other parts of northern Michigan will reopen at least partially -- with limited capacity for bars and restaurants and for gatherings of 10 or fewer people at homes -- comes just in time for trips Up North to the cottage and for small backyard barbecues with friends and family.

The virus is still too dangerous to allow mass gathering at parks, major concerts and sports events. Forget about the small town Memorial Day parades, mass gatherings at veteran cemeteries and flag raising events -- Just about every one has been canceled due to COVID-19. 

But you know what? Dine-in restaurant options Up North is something we didn't have a few short days ago. Let's take it.

Besides enjoying a beer on the patio with a handful of friends and family, playing corn hole, enjoying the return of blue skies and sunshine, you can join any of these events or activities:


The downtown event at Hart Plaza is canceled, but you can still join Movement At Home – a virtual edition of Movement Music Festival, taking place Memorial Day weekend, May 23-25 in partnership with Beatport. The three-day live stream event will be hosted on Beatport and Paxahau’s Twitch channels. It will also be broadcasted on Movement’s website, Facebook and YouTube channels.Lineup and programming to be announced next week, featuring Movement 2020 artists and surprise guests. Full Details HERE.


The annual Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) barbecue is back, and this time, it’s virtual! Running from May 15th – 30th, visit or Facebook to join in the fun. Listen to NMC performances and podcasts, visit the Dennos Museum, share your NMC story, maybe even do some cooking! For 65 years, the b has been a fun way for the community to gather and support NMC. 


The Glen Arbor Arts Center’s exhibit, New Views: Birdlandia, takes flight when it opens on May 15th as a -- get this -- virtual exhibition."This juried exhibition focuses on birds, both the literal and symbolic ways they help to describe our inner and outer lives, home, relationships, the state of the ecology, and more," organizer say, adding, "Birds are some of the most accessible creatures to watch and study. They are at once both familiar and mysterious, real and mythic." The Glen Arbor Arts Center’s New Views exhibition is an annual event. It allows exhibitors and gallery visitors a chance to focus on a specific issue of community interest and concern, to dig deeply into the creative problem, and to discover a new view of it. WATCH THE BIRDS EXHIBIT HERE


While we will not be able to all gather together – humans and pups – for a race day, Tails to Trails is holding a Virtual 5K Fun Run/Walk week from May 15th – 25th! They want you and your four-legged friends to stay active and happy outside. Everyone is invited to this virtual party! Complete the race at your convenience and on the trails of your choice. MORE HERE


While you can't really travel to the nation's capital this year, but you can still tour it online. Head to Google Arts & Culture for a virtual tour of the historic home, complete with facts about its architecture and important events that took place in each room.


Royal Oak had to cancel its traditional Memorial Day parade for obvious reasons, but the city is planning for an alternate virtual event for Memorial Day to honor veterans and commemorate those selfless soldiers who gave their lives for their country. Check for new information.


The long-standing annual tradition of Detroit's Eastern Market Flower Day, which would have been last Sunday, was canceled, while market management works on safe alternatives for flower shopping in the time of COVID-19.

Eastern Market execs say they're creating an online ordering platform set to launch on Sunday, May 24, where customers can pre-order from Eastern Market flower growers for pick-up at the market a few days later. 

In addition — on May 24, May 31, and June 7 —  the Eastern Market Facebook page will be hosting live stream shows spotlighting the market's flower growers and what they have available to purchase online, along with tips for your garden. DETAILS


Many Michiganders have been dying to tidy up the lawn and flower beds, so what better time than now? Farmer's markets across the state reopened last weekend amid the loosening of restrictions on buying non-essential items. Open flower markets, where you can don a mask and easily practice social distancing, dot the landscape and thoroughfares from downriver to Petoskey. Pick out your favorite posies and make your home the oasis it needs to be when you're on the property virtually 24/7.


Michigan's numerous lakes, rivers and canals are open for business so it's the perfect time to strap yourself in and slow the pace for a waterways tour. Use this map to re-discover an old favorite or try something new.


Memorial Day isn't just about barbecues and beaches. It's also a great time to immerse in the stories of people who give of themselves to help create freedom for all. Do that by listening to a range of stories from active military members and veterans through Storycorps oral history. 


Boating was at first banned by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's various stay home orders, but those rules were relaxed to allow for social-distancing approved boating. Head out with the people in your household, drop anchor, crack a cold one -- responsibly -- and wave to friends across the sand bar.


You can't use a cart or the facilities, but avid golfers are welcome to hit the links across Michigan if they carry a bag. Get a list of open golf courses HERE.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Governor Gretchen Whitmer's Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order, Michigan state park campgrounds are closed to overnight stays until June 22. But you can take all the best elements of camping and enjoy them in your backyard. Pitch a tent, break out the sleeping bags, play games by lantern light, make smores on the grill or over a fire pit if you've got the room, and look up at the stars. It'll be a night to remember.


PARK 600 in Rochester announced the first in a new series of Locally Crafted Curbside Kits For a Cause. For every kit purchased, PARK 600 will donate $5 to The Yellow Ribbon Fund to support injured service veterans in need. The $85 family grill kit feeds a family of four and includes four 10 oz. NY strip steaks, four potatoes for baking, two bundles of asparagus, a DIY salad - Romaine Lettuce, Red Onion, Tomatoes, Herb Vinaigrette, fresh baked dinner roll. You can add on a locally crafted cherry pie and bumpy cake! It is the perfect sweet ending to the Holiday weekend. In addition, be sure to check out our available 6-packs of bottled beer and house wine.

Contactless pickup will take place on Thursday May 21st between 5 pm and 7 pm at the Hotel front entrance. Be prepared to provide your name at the time of pick up and our team will bring your order to you. Quantities are limited. DETAILS