Off the Beaten Path: Festival Edition
This summer, we’re exploring lesser-known destinations that have a lot to offer; because motorhome owners, more than almost any group of people, enjoy the flexibility and freedom to change their plans and venture off the more-traveled path to see what’s out there. In the last edition, we explored waterside enclaves. This time around, we take a look at festivals, some more quirky than others, all loads of fun.
Flower fests in Michigan
Two of the premier celebrations of beautiful blossoms take place in the Wolverine State each year: the Mackinac Island Lilac Festival and the Tulip Time Festival in Holland. Usually just a couple weeks apart, in late spring/early summer, you can easily catch both on one swing. Near Lake Michigan, Holland bursts with more than 5 million tulips while celebrating its Dutch roots. Mackinac Island deserves a visit, lilacs or not, but this 10-day celebration amps up its already unique flair. No cars are allowed on the island, so park your RV, hop aboard the ferry and soak it all in.
In addition to being the RV capital of the world, Elkhart is one of the hubs of band instrument craftsmanship. It’s no wonder this small Northern Indiana town is home to a more than three-decade-old jazz event. Completely organized and operated by volunteers, it’s a super-affordable place to get your music fix. In 2018, the event featured seven stages with more than 100 performances along the St. Joseph River, including the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
Our headquarters is just a short 15-mile drive from Elkhart in Middlebury, IN. Come see us on your way!
Every spring, Port Aransas, Texas welcomes master sand sculptors to its beaches. What they bring to the barrier island south of San Antonio is simply stunning. Live music, local fare and, of course, the beach add to the experience. There are RV resorts right there on the island, but be sure to check when the event is scheduled if you plan to book ahead. While always scheduled for a slower tourist season, tides determine the specific dates.
The pride of Whiting, IN, this festival is a family-friendly celebration of eastern European food and culture. In addition to delicious food, you’ll see an eager-to-engage cast of characters dressed as various foods (you read that right) and in traditional European garb. The charming small town is located on the shores of Lake Michigan just 30 minutes from Chicago. There all kinds of things to do and places to see while you’re in the area.
Arts, crafts, and rare gems in Arizona
The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show® bills itself as “the largest, oldest and most prestigious gem and mineral show in the world.” Just a couple hours down the road, The Great Fair of Fine Arts & Crafts in Fountain Hills, now in its 32nd year, is a juried fair featuring nearly 500 artists and artisans from all over. Both provide the chance to see or purchase works and discoveries you many never get the chance to experience again. What’s more, both usually happen in February, and Arizona is loaded with beautiful RV spots.
This celebration of the flavorful plant of course offers tons of food to eat, but also lots of live music, art and craft vendors, the Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen Pageant and a garlic-themed art contest. The so-called “garlic capital of the world” offers visitors a lot, including vineyards, a theme park and some history. It’s RV friendly too, with several parks and campgrounds listed on the Northern California festival’s website.
Vermont’s Marlboro Music has a rich history as a gathering place for chamber musicians from all over the world to develop their artistry. Since 1951, this carefully curated, highly competitive festival has provided an opportunity for the public to enjoy some of music’s greatest young talent. The festival typically lasts three weeks, but concerts often sell out quickly, so you’ll need to do some planning ahead.
Go ahead. Get out there and explore. If you visit any of these special spots, we’d love to hear about it or see some pics. Share them with us and other owners on our Facebook page.