Michigan summers yield a bounty of activities for families to enjoy, and the Ann Arbor Summer Festival is one that especially caters to kids. The Ann Arbor Summer Festival takes place this year from June 8 through July 1. Top of the Park will offer an incredible line up of free, family friendly shows and activities every evening on Ingalls Mall at the University of Michigan (915 E. Washington St.).
Summer festival strolling
The KidZone Tent will feature events six nights every week between 5 and 8pm (Tuesday through Sunday). For opening weekend, FlipSide Art Studio’s hands-on art activities for young kids begins at 5pm on Friday, June 8 in the KidZone Tent, and David Zinn’s chalk art performance is at 7pm that same evening. On Saturday, June 9, the UM Museum of Natural History hosts Michigan Light Project’s Explorations of Light, and the reggae and world beat of Rhythm Child’s concert performance Sunday, June 10 at 7pm will kick off the KidsRock Sunday night concert series. The Sunday night concert series will also feature bilingual kindie rocker Mister G on June 17 and high energy dance songs for kids by Milkshake on June 24.
Growing up at Top of the Park
On Tuesday, June 12 at 5pm, teens will enjoy listening to local teen singer-songwriter Magdalen Fossum perform her original music on the Acoustic Stage at the Top of the Park. Magdalen Fossum has been performing at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival since she was 11 years old, and this will mark her seventh festival year sharing the evolution of her unique Americana style of alt-folk music. Catching up with Magdalen Fossum before this year’s festival, she said, “I’m excited to share my new music and new sound with the public, it’s very motivational for me to continue writing music and it feels good to inspire younger audiences.”
Fossum began writing songs in her early youth, and encourages her teenage peers to “always go with your gut, and make the kind of music that makes you feel radiant! Don’t let people try to control your inner imaginative qualities, just be the kind of musician you want to be, no matter if people tell you that you won’t go far,” she said, “you have to trust yourself and what you truly enjoy creating and putting out into the world!”
You’ll also want to be sure to catch the special outdoor theater performance of Ants by Australia’s Polyglot Theatre, a spectacle sure to entertain young kids and tweens on June 26 and 28. At the Power Center, Acrobuffo’s Air Play will enchant families with visual and playful poetic comedy, with shows at 1 and 4 p.m. on June 10 (tickets $22).
Movies after dark
After the stage show ends, families can enjoy Movies by Moonlight at the Top of the Park at 10pm, with Kubo and the Two Strings scheduled June 17 and Isle of Dogs on June 28. They will also be showing the classic, Mary Poppins on July 1.
The Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s free series at Top of the Park runs every night (except Mondays) from June 8 through July 1. Food and beverages from numerous vendors including Pizza House and Oasis Grill are available at the festival’s Culinary Row throughout the event series. See you there!
More information is available on the festival website at a2sf.org or by calling 734-994-5999.
2018 KidZone Series at the Top of the Park
June 8 – First Friday
Flipside Art Studio – Felted Snakes
June 9 – Saturday
Michigan Light Project – Explorations of Light
June 10 – Sunday
Ann Arbor Learning Community – Paint and Printmaking
June 12 – Tuesday
UM Early Childhood Centers – Exploring Loose Parts
June 13 – Wednesday
Apple Playschools – Recycled Musical Instruments
June 14 – Thursday
Children’s Center for Growth and Development – Garden Play Center
June 15 – Friday
Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra – Instrument Petting Zoo
June 16 – Saturday
Summers-Knoll School – Connect with Nature
June 17 – Sunday
Spectrum Therapy Center – Bubbles, Boats, and Buried Treasure!
June 19 – Tuesday
Formosa Association of Student Cultural Ambassadors – Showcase of Taiwanese Culture
June 20 – Wednesday
Vault of Midnight – Vault KidZone
June 21 – Thursday
Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum – Summer Science Fest
June 22 – Friday
International Institute and Center for Japanese Studies – Games from Around the World
June 23 – Saturday
Stone School Cooperative Preschool – Make Some Music!
June 24 – Sunday
C.S Mott Children’s Hospital
June 26 – Tuesday
University Center for Language and Literacy – Interactive Reading Experience
June 27 – Wednesday
Keith Hafner’s Karate – Intro to Tae Kwon Do
June 28 – Thursday
UM Museum of Natural History – Insects on Parade!
June 29 – Friday
Leslie Science and Nature Center – Animal Diversity
June 30 – Saturday
Michigan Creativity Association – Destination Imagination
July 1 – Sunday
Stories on the Move LLC – Upcycled Storytelling Puppets