On the Road Again!
MAF Summer Road Trip:
Following Michigan Festivals-Part 3


Do you still have yet to make your summer travel plans? Yearning for a Michigan-based getaway?  This month MAF continues our series of identifying some of the major festivals being held in the coming month and then explore some of the unique Michigan architectural buildings and historical areas near each specific festival, as part of our MAF Architecture Road Trip series.

We have also combined a couple of festivals in a specific geographic area and then featured architectural sites to visit nearby. MAF’s Architecture Road Trip series is designed to support our mission of “Advancing awareness of how architecture enriches life” and is a great way to learn more about Michigan architecture.

This month, we will travel to Marshall, Escanaba, Ontonagon, Eagle Harbor, South Haven, Frankenmuth, and Royal Oak.

Ready to hit the road? Let’s go!


174th Calhoun County Fair, August 13-19, Marshall:  Calhoun County Fairgrounds – Gathering Place for the Community

Since 1848, this is Michigan’s Longest Running County Fair!   While late fall seemed an odd time to hold an outdoor festival in Michigan, the town of Marshall hosted the first Calhoun County Agricultural and Industrial Society. The first event was a single day exhibition on November 5, 1839

Honolulu House, Marshall

The Honolulu House serves as the home of the Marshall Historical Society and as the focal point of Marshall’s National Historic Landmark District.  The building is a wonderful blend of Italianate, Gothic revival and Polynesian architecture.

  1. https://marshallhistoricalsociety.org/attractions/1
  2. https://www.marshallmich.com/history/HonoluluHouse.shtml

Fitch House, Marshall

One of Michgan’s oldest surviving buildings and a prominent example of Greek revival architecture. The surrounding grounds were designed in 1921 by prominent Midwest landscape architect Jens Jensen.

  1. https://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MI-01-CA19
  2. https://www.historic-structures.com/mi/marshall/brooks house.php



Upper Peninsula State Fair, August 14-20, Escanaba:  Upper Peninsula State Fair, Escanaba Michigan (upstatefair.net)

Established in 1931, this jubilant tradition started with a simple candle-lit boat parade. Today, it is an 8-day festival that highlights big-name concerts, fireworks, carnival rides, street and boat parades, athletic events, beachfront activities, street vendors, buskers and much more. The goal of the festival is to build community and connection, create lasting memories and bring people together.  The Michigan State Fair in the Upper Peninsula is held each year in August and features delicious fair foods, free entertainment, agricultural exhibits, and exciting wheeled events.  The event is sure to have something for the whole family.

Fayette Iron Works, Fayette

Fayette’s charcoal kilns, storage buildings and other purely functional structures prove that industry stripped to its essence can produce a beauty all its own.  Tucked along the Snail Shell Harbor, there are some nineteen structures that stand within what is now a historic townsite. (Fayette Iron Works is spotlighted in this month’s MAF Must See Michigan Architecture article).

  1. The history of Fayette, Michigan, yesterday’s boom town | Visit Escanaba
  2. Remnants: Fayette (nmu.edu)
  3. Explore Fayette (michigan.gov)



Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, August 25-26, Ontonagon:  Porcupine Mountains Music Festival (porkiesfestival.org)

Every August, the sweet sounds of bluegrass, Americana, folk, rock, country, blues, and more drift over the shores of Lake Superior.  The Porcupine Mountains Music Festival—held annually the weekend before Labor Day—attracts musicians and fans from across the country to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for two days of live music, workshops, jam sessions, children’s activities and more. A variety of stages at the Porcupine Mountains Winter Sports Complex welcome local, regional, and national acts.  The festival is presented by the Friends of the Porkies.




Eagle Harbor Art Fair, August 11-13, Eagle Harbor: ccaartists.org

The Copper Country Associated Artists present the 62nd annual Eagle Harbor Art Fair near the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The juried fair presents original works of glass, jewelry, ceramics, painting, stained glass, woodwork, metal, fabrics and more. Over 60 artists will be exhibiting their work.

On your way to or from the fair, visit Houghton and enjoy the six-block historic Sheldon Avenue with coffee shops, restaurants, sporting goods stores and gift shops.  Wander on block north to see the new public plaza and pier, adjacent to the historic railroad depot.  The Portage lake lift bridge is a 62 year-old span between Houghton and Hancock.

Further north on US 41 is the Quincy Mine Hoist, offering tours of the steam-powered hoist house and the underground copper mine.

Also along US 41 is Calumet.  The Calumet Historic District includes 5th St. and 6th St. Important stops are the Keweenaw National Historic Park’s Visitor Center and the Calumet Theatre.

  1. http://visithoughton.com
  2. Quincy Unit – Keweenaw National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
  3. Calumet Historic District – Wikipedia



Antique Engine and Tractor Show, September 8-11, South Haven:  Antique Engine & Tractor Show | South Haven Visitors Bureau

One of the largest shows of its kind in the state, the 40th annual Antique Engine and Tractor Show hosted by the Michigan Flywheelers Museum in South Haven, MI features hundreds of old farm machinery, demonstrations, parades, live entertainment, plenty of kid’s activities and more.  The four-day show is filled with things to see and do for the entire family. You can watch antique and garden tractor pulls, try your hand at the Flywheel Toss or sit down in the Stephenson Barn and listen to music. And, of course, there are demonstrations at the sawmill, the shingle mill, and the blacksmith shop.

Herman Miller Design Yard, Holland

A sort of playground for creative adults, Herman Miller’s Design Yard is where a company known for the world around for its museum quality chairs develops and tests new office furniture.  Don’t be surprised to see prototypes of the latest chair, cubicle or desk coming in for an intense if good-natured debate.

  1. https://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MI-01-OT10

The DePree House, Zeeland

Max DePree, the son of Herman Miller’s founder D.J. DePree, commissioned Charles and Ray Eames to design a home for himself, his wife and their two children in Zeeland, Michigan. The home was occupied from 1954 until 2010 when it was purchased by Herman Miller, Inc., who has restored and preserved it. The home was listed on the National register of Historic Places in 2017.

  1. Max and Esther De Pree House – Wikipedia
  2. https://Eamesfoundation.org



Frankenmuth Auto Fest, September 8-10, Frankenmuth:  Frankenmuth Auto Fest Official Website | Frankenmuth Car Show

The Annual Frankenmuth Auto Fest is a 3-day event full of food, fun, music, and cars. It started years ago in the St. Lorenz Parking Lot. Over the years, it grew into an event with over 150,000 people visiting. Friday night is the Big Block Party on Main Street. It is welcome to all ages of show cars park up and down the streets of Main Street. There are live bands playing a variety of types of music all night long. Saturday is a day full of cars with about 2,500 cars registered each year. Sunday, the show ends with another car show, an award ceremony, and a tribute to the Veterans.

Tuscola County Courthouse:

This Depression era courthouse shows the blending of classical style with a pared-down modern aesthetic. There is the mere suggestion of columns in the fluted pilasters separating the tall round arched windows at the entrance and florid classical ornament gives way to. Restrained decorative banding carved into the limestone exterior. The architect, William H.Kuni of Detroit, also designed the Alpena County Courthouse just after this and the two buildings could be siblings.

  1. Tuscola County Courthouse – Wikipedia

Hoyt Public Library: Saginaw

Named for the wealthy business family that built it for the city as a gift, Hoyt Public Library grew out of a design competition that featured entries from some of America’s greatest architects, including McKim, Mead and white of New York and H.H. Richardson of Boston.  The winners, Van Brunt and Howe of Boston, endowed the building with a Romanesque exterior, large limestone blocks, red sandstone trim, intersecting dormers, arched entrance and other touches that spoke of durability and stability.

  1. Hoyt Library – Wikipedia

Octagon Barn Purdy Farm: Ritchie Road near Gagetown

The building that locals call the Round Barn is home to numerous craft shows, school outings, live music, and multiple demonstrations of old-time farm operations.

  1. https://Thumbocatagonbarn.org
  2. https://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MI-01-TU3



Soaring Eagle Arts, Beats & Eats, September 1-4, Royal Oak: http://artsbeatseats.com/

Soaring eagle Arts, Beats & Eats features 200 musical acts!  It is Oakland County’s favorite Summer Festival celebrating art, music, cuisine & community.  The festival was founded to celebrate the quality of life in Oakland County by offering culturally unique presentation of artists, musicians and food exhibits from Metro Detroit and throughout the United States.


The General Motors Tech Center, Warren

The monumental collection of buildings proved to be far more than a home for General Motors’ design and engineering labs. Under the inspired hand of architect Eero Saarinen, the team of notable designers all but reinvented many construction products and techniques

  1. https://www.gm.com/facilities

National Shrine of the Little Flower, Royal Oak

Politically as well as architecturally notable, this Roman Catholic church enjoys landmark status on Woodward Avenue  north of the City of Detroit.  The elaborate Art Deco styling of the limestone tower features a monumental relief figure of Christ crucified as well as many other sculptural figures.

  1. The National Shrine of the Little Flower – Wikipedia