Best Events & Festivals in Jackson Michigan in 2020

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Are you looking for a list of the best events & festivals in Jackson Michigan for 2020? We’ve got it all. From family-friendly fun to great date ideas in Jackson County, and everything in between! Broken down by season and month, here’s what’s happening in Jackson County, Michigan, in 2020.

If you’re looking for a full listing of all upcoming events across Jackson County then check out our full events calendar here.

Spring Events & Festivals in Jackson Michigan

March Events & Festivals in Jackson Michigan

Spring is just around the corner, and these Jackson County events and festivals are a great way to beat the winter blues in March.

Sugaring, Shearing, & Science Festival

Each year, hundreds flock to Ella Sharp Museum for the annual Sugaring, Shearing, & Science Festival on the last Sunday of March. This family-friendly event features traditional springtime activities such as sheep shearing, watching sap-to-syrup demonstrations, and a petting zoo. The museum’s six exhibits and historic buildings are also open to the public for free admission.

Sugaring, Shearing, and Science Festival - one of the best events & festivals in Jackson Michigan
past Sugaring and Shearing Festival photo found on Facebook

Jackson Antique & Flea Market Show

The Jackson Antique & Flea Market Show in early March (March 6-7, 2020) is a popular event that draws a crowd from all over southcentral Michigan. With over 90 exhibits in the American 1 Expo Center at the Jackson County Fairgrounds, the event spans two days. Free parking is available, and admission only costs $3 (kids under 12 are free with an adult). It’s a pickers’ paradise!

Jackson Women’s Expo

The Jackson Women’s Expo is a free event each March (March 14, 2020) that highlights the businesses and services in Jackson County that cater to women. Hosted by American 1 FCU, the event takes place in the Middle School at Parkside. Hundreds of women come to the annual event and enjoy a day of shopping, learning, and fun as they peruse the many vendor booths and enter lots of great giveaways. Shuttles are also provided to help with parking congestion.

Southern Michigan Winter Beer Festival

You won’t want to miss the Southern Michigan Winter Beer Festival (March 14, 2020) held each March at the Jackson County Fairgrounds. Over 150 of the best craft, specialty, and import beers will be on tap, as well as food trucks and other great entertainment. Indoors you’ll find tasting tables and warmth, while bonfires, ice carving, games, and more will be available outdoors. Tickets are available in advance or at the door. Dress for the weather and come warm your bellies with delicious food and drink!

Southern Michigan Winter Beer Festival - one of the best events & festival in Jackson MI
Southern Michigan Winter Beer Festival header on Facebook

Jackson County Events and Festivals in April

Get outside and enjoy the sun with this fun Jackson County festival happening during the month of April!

Fairy Festival

The annual Fairy Festival hosted by Jackson School of the Arts is a must-attend event for families each April (April 25-26, 2020). Spread out over two days, this magical event is free and features arts & crafts, vendors, Ye Ole Fairy Shoppe, the Cupcake Cafe, a Fairy Garden Contest, tea with Miss Jackson Crossroads, carriage rides, dancing fairies, and more! Visitors to this event enjoy dressing up as fairies and having their photos taken in throughout the magical fairyland.

Fairy Festival - one of the best events & festivals in Jackson Michigan
photo from past Fairy Festival gallery on jacksonarts.org

What to Do in May in Jackson, MI

Spring showers bring May flowers… and lots of great happenings around Jackson County!

Jackson Museum Day

Jackson County families look forward to the Jackson Museum Day (May 9, 2020) each year as it gives them an opportunity to explore the best museums in Jackson County, Michigan, for free! Load up your vehicle and learn all about Jackson’s history as you visit some of the participating museums.

Past participants have included:

  • Cambridge Junction Historic State Park and Walker Tavern in Brooklyn, MI
  • Cell Block 7 Prison Museum in Jackson, MI
  • Ella Sharp Museum in Jackson, MI
  • Hanover-Horton Area Historical Society in Hanover, MI
  • Lost Railway Museum in Grass Lake, MI
  • Mann House in Concord, MI
  • Tompkins Historical Stewart Museum in Rives Junction, MI
  • Waterloo Farm Museum and Dewey School Museum in Grass Lake, MI
  • Ye Old Carriage Shop Auto Museum in Spring Arbor, MI

Downtown Jackson Art Walk

Part of the Endless Summer Event Series, the Downtown Jackson Art Walk showcases local artists throughout downtown inside of local businesses. This free event is fun for the whole family, and all the artwork featured is available for sale.

Jackson Cruise-In

On the fourth Friday during the warmer months of May through September, you can find the streets of downtown Jackson lined with hundreds of classic cars. This free, family-friendly event is a delight for all ages as you enjoy watching the classic cars cruise by and then stroll through the streets admiring them. Many downtown businesses remain open to the public, and vendors can be found scattered amongst the cars offering giveaways and contests.

Memorial Day Fireworks at the Cascades

Thousands of people pack Spark Park for the annual Memorial Day fireworks over the Cascades. Held on the Saturday evening of Memorial Day Weekend (weather permitting), it’s the must-attend event to kick off summer in Jackson, MI! Come early and enjoy the live entertainment at the Cascades – gates open at 6 pm. Bring a blanket or folding chair and join a couple thousand of your closest friends as you ooh and ahh over the splashes of color against the dark night sky.

Fireworks at the Cascades - one of the best events & festivals in Jackson Michigan
photo from past Fireworks at the Cascades event on Facebook

Grand River Farmers Market

Open Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer, the Grand River Farmers Market is a destination for families and individuals looking to eat and buy local. Farmers and artisans bring their fresh Michigan-sourced food and quality products to downtown Jackson for locals and visitors alike to browse and purchase at the corner of Mechanic Street and Pearl Street, next to Grand River Brewery.

While you’re downtown be sure to explore some of the best restaurants in Jackson Michigan.

Summer Events & Festivals in Jackson County Michigan

June Events & Festivals in Jackson Michigan

Summer has arrived in Jackson County, and it’s time to get your party on at these great events & festivals happening in Jackson Michigan this June.

Kids’ Fest

The annual Kids’ Fest at American 1 Event Center is usually held in mid-June. This free event is a fun day for kids of all ages and their families. Local businesses and organizations educate kids through games and other hands-on activities and crafts, featuring topics such as health, nutrition, art, safety, community, and more.

Jackson Kids' Fest - one of the best events & festivals in Jackson Michigan
photo from past Kids’ Fest on Facebook

NASCAR at MIS

The first of two NASCAR weekends happening at Michigan International Speedway, the June events are a fun way to welcome race fans to Michigan. Thousands of RVs and tents make their way to Jackson County, and the area’s hotels are booked solid as race day fun gets underway. The three-day event includes the ARCA Menards Series 200, the LTI Printing 250, and the Firekeepers Casino 400.

Al Glick Youth Football Camp

Young athletes in grades 4-9 will love spending the day at Jackson High’s Withington Stadium learning and improving their football skills with instruction from current and former NCAA and NFL football stars, including members of the University of Michigan football team, at the annual Al Glick Youth Football Camp (June 20, 2020).

Paws in the Park 5K

Bring your favorite four-legged friend (on a leash, please) and participate in the annual Paws in the Park 5K (June 6, 2020). Run or walk through the beautiful Sparks Foundation Park (aka Cascades Park) and help raise money for the Cascades Humane Society. Don’t want to do a full 5K? There’s a 1.3-mile walk option as well.

Paws in the Park 5K - one of the best events and festivals in Jackson Michigan
photo from past Paws in the Park event on Facebook

Art, Beer, & Wine Festival

The annual Art, Beer, & Wine Festival (June 13, 2020) is a highlight of the summer for art, wine, and beer enthusiasts. With over 40 local wineries, breweries, cider mills, and distilleries on the grounds of the Ella Sharp Museum, there’s plenty to drink while you browse the dozens of artists’ booths. Food vendors and live music are also a big part of this fun event that draws nearly 5,000 guests to Jackson’s Ella Sharp Park each summer.

Jackson Blues Fest

Fun for the whole family, the annual Jackson Blues Fest (June 11-13, 2020) is held at the Jackson County Airport and spans three days. Food vendors and beer tents will be available on-site. No coolers are allowed to be brought into the event, but you will want to bring your own seating (blankets, lawn chairs, etc.) to this family-friendly event. Tickets start at $10 each day, and kids under 12 are free.

Annual Rose Run

The 50th Annual Rose Run (June 13, 2020) is a scenic run held in and around the Jackson College Campus in June 2020. Participants have the option of a 5K run, 5K walk, 10k run, 10-mile run, and half-mile kids’ fun run. Part of the ORS Race Series and endorsed by the Michigan Fitness Foundation, this annual event is a great way for the whole family to enjoy fitness together!

Jackson County Rose Festival

Since 1958, the Jackson County Rose Festival has been a highlight of locals and visitors to Jackson Michigan. Complete with a parade and pageants, the family-friendly festival celebrates the history and beauty of Jackson County. Events take place throughout the city over the course of the summer months.

Michigan Center Carp Carnival

If you’re looking for a full-fledged carnival experience in Jackson Michigan this summer, you won’t want to miss the annual Michigan Center Carp Carnival! Just minutes from downtown Jackson on the northwest shore of Center Lake, you’ll find live entertainment, carnival rides, food trucks, beer tent, vendor booths, and more. Family-friendly and tons of fun, admission is free and ride wristbands can be pre-purchased at area businesses. Be sure to catch the parade on Saturday morning and enter the fishing contests for kids and adults!

Michigan Center Carp Carnival - one of the best events & festivals in Jackson Michigan
photo from past Carp Carnival event on Facebook

Festivals & Events Happening in July

Happy Birthday, America! Here’s what’s happening in Jackson County during the month of July.

Hanover-Horton 4th of July Celebration

Celebrate America’s birthday on Jackson County’s southwest side with a full day of fun, family-friendly events at Hanover-Horton’s 4th of July Celebration. The fun kicks off on the evening of July 3rd with a Family Street Dance and Karaoke on Spink Street in Hanover. Then you’ll want to be sure to wake up early to enjoy a pancake breakfast at the American Legion Post 270 from 7-11 am. The Hanover Firecracker Run starts at 8am (with the kids’ fun run at 9:15am) and is followed by the parade at 11 am. After the parade, there’s a car show, BBQ in the park, 3-on-3 basketball tournament, youth baseball tournament, kids’ games, bounce house, arts & crafts show, tractor pull, corn hole tournament, and more! Live music in the park and fireworks at dusk round out the celebration.

Jackson International Music Festival

The Jackson International Music Festival (previously Jackson Unity Festival) is a showcase of food, dance, music, and culture from around the world. Held at the historic Michigan Theatre in downtown Jackson Michigan, this annual event draws visitors from all over Michigan and includes four days of concerts. Tickets can be purchased for single shows or for the entire event series.

Grass Lake Traffic Jam’in

Fun for all ages, the annual Grass Lake Traffic Jam’in (July 10-11, 2020) is a family-friendly event that is packed with lots of great events during the two-day community festival in Grass Lake Michigan. The event started in 2009 and has grown each year with over 10,000 attendees expected at this year’s festival. Live music, a classic car show, food, drinks, 5K run, vendor booths, and more are a part of this free weekend that you won’t want to miss!

Grass Lake Traffic Jam'in - one of the best events & festivals in Jackson Michigan
Grass Lake Traffic Jam’in header on Facebook

Michigan Shakespeare Festival

Each July, the Potter Center on the main campus of Jackson College is host to the Michigan Shakespeare Festival (July 11-18, 2020). Performances vary from year-to-year, but the quality is world-class. Bring the whole family or enjoy a date to the theater and enjoy one of Shakespeare’s classical plays this summer.

Hands-On Learning Fair

The annual Hands-On Learning Fair introduces kids and families to technology, industry, and the arts. This fun-filled day-long event provides a unique, hands-on opportunity to explore technology and the arts with demonstrations by craftsmen and companies from across Jackson County and Michigan. Bring the family to Northwest Elementary School for this family-friendly event in Jackson, MI!

Faster Horses Festival

Country music fans won’t want to miss the annual Faster Horses Festival (July 17-19, 2020) at Michigan International Speedway each July in Jackson County Michigan. This three-day country music event showcases the nation’s top country stars as well as new up-and-comers. Camping, concerts, and more make this event one you won’t want to miss!

Gus Macker Jackson

The Gus Macker 3-on-3 street basketball tournament has come back to Jackson Michigan! This annual tournament is a fun, family-friendly 3-day event in downtown Jackson that brings together basketball fans of all ages. Grab some friends and enter to play, or just make your way downtown to cheer on the teams. All skill levels welcome!

Hot Air Balloon Jubilee

Join thousands of balloon enthusiasts as they look to the skies of Jackson Michigan each July for the annual Hot Air Balloon Jubilee (July 23-26, 2020). This free, family-friendly event takes place on the grounds of Ella Sharp Park. Rides, food, vendors, and more pack the park during the four-day festival. Balloon flights are scheduled six times throughout the weekend (weather permitting), and at least one Night Glow is scheduled each year. Parking inside the park is just $5 and helps to support the event.

Hot Air Balloon Jubilee - one of the best events & festival in Jackson MI
Hot Air Balloon Jubilee photo courtesy of PicheaPlace.com

Must-Attend Events & Festivals During August

Beat the summer heat with these fun events & festivals in Jackson Michigan this August!

Jackson County Fair

Summer’s not over until you’ve gone to the Jackson County Fair (August 9-15, 2020) the second full week of August. Games, rides, livestock, events, and your favorite fair food await you at this annual, must-attend event in Jackson Michigan. Live entertainment each night, including national headlining artists and comedians, and all the 4-H fun of a county fair, this family-friendly event is held at Keeley Park.

NASCAR at MIS

NASCAR comes back to Michigan International Speedway in August for another three-day, family-friendly event. Friday is a full day of practice laps and opportunities to interact with racing teams. Bring the whole family to cheer on your favorite race team at the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series 200 on Saturday and the Consumers Energy 400 on Sunday. Kids 12 and under are free on Friday and Saturday.

Childrenz Challenge

Each year, local children from 4-14 years of age participate in the Childrenz Challenge (August 15, 2020) obstacle course at Michigan International Speedway. This family-friendly event is a fundraiser for local schools (the schools with the most participants are awarded prize money) and is a great way for kids to have fun with their friends and support their community. Don’t forget to bring a change of clothes for after the race – you’ll likely be covered in mud!

Childrenz Challenge at MIS - one of the best events & festivals in Jackson Michigan
photo from Childrenz Challenge on Facebook

Fall Events & Festivals in Jackson, MI

September Festivals & Events in Jackson

School’s back in session, but the fun isn’t done. Here’s what happening in Jackson Michigan during the month of September.

Labor Day Fireworks at the Cascades

Celebrate the end of summer with thousands of your closest friends at the Labor Day Fireworks at the Cascades. Once again, you’ll want to arrive early to stake your spot for the best viewing and to make a trip to the Cascades Ice Cream Company. Bring your own seating (blankets, folding chairs, tailgates) and enjoy the live music starting at 7 pm with fireworks to follow at dusk. This annual family-friendly event in Jackson Michigan takes place on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend (weather permitting).

Bright Walls Jackson

Downtown Jackson never looked so colorful before Bright Walls Jackson came to town. While past years’ artwork is able to be enjoyed all year long, this annual event brings new artists from around the world to downtown Jackson for one week in a festival-like atmosphere that has individuals and families strolling the streets. Musicians, local artists, and many community organizations join the fun during the event as new murals are constructed on the city’s many buildings and walls.

Bright Walls Jackson - one of the best events & festival in Jackson MI
screenshot of Bright Walls location tag on Instagram

Country Boots & Bands

The annual Country Boots & Bands (September 12, 2020) event is held at Keeley Park (aka Jackson County Fairgrounds). This one-day event features 2 stages with more than ten of the hottest country music artists and rising stars. Food, drinks, and fun round out this festival of country music. Be sure to bring your own folding chair or blanket – seating is first-come-first-served and not provided by the festival.

Freedom Festival & Steam Engine Show

The annual Freedom Festival is held at the Tompkins Town Hall in Rives Junction, MI, each September (September 19, 2020). Beginning with a flag-raising ceremony on Saturday morning, this two-day festival is a free event that all ages will enjoy! Tractor pulls, working steam engines, classic car shows, museum tours, a bake sale, a tractor parade, flea market and craft show, live entertainment, food wagons, and more are part of this family-friendly event in Jackson County Michigan.

Buy Michigan Now Fall Fest

The Buy Michigan Now Fall Fest is held each year in the American 1 Event Center at the Jackson County Fairgrounds. This annual event features businesses selling Michigan-made products and services. Fun for the whole family, food vendors and children’s activities are available outside the vendor hall. Admission and parking are free.

Buy Michigan Now Festival - one of the best events & festival in Jackson MI

Meckley’s Flavor Fruit Farm Fall Festival

Every fall weekend is a festival at Meckley’s Flavor Fruit Farm in southern Jackson County Michigan. Packed with family fun, there is something for everyone: wagon rides, live entertainment, pony rides, hot dog roasts, corn maze, bounce house, and a pumpkin patch. You can visit the cider mill and watch cider being made or enjoy donuts hot from the oven. Be sure to stop at the ticket booth when you arrive to get your tickets for all the fall fun around the farm!

Festivals & Events to Attend During October

There are several fun fall festivals and events happening this October in Jackson Michigan, but here is the one you won’t want to miss.

Jackson StoryFest

An annual celebration of storytelling and music, Jackson StoryFest is a three-day festival that brings talented and famous storytellers from all over the Midwest and beyond to Jackson Michigan. With events at Jackson Carnegie Library, Ella Sharp Museum, local school district campuses, and the Michigan Theatre in downtown Jackson, there are many opportunities for all ages to enjoy this family-friendly event in Jackson County.

November Festivals & Events in Jackson, MI

The holidays are here, and Jackson Michigan has lots of events and festivals to help you get in the festive mood.

Nite Lites

Take a drive out to Michigan International Speedway to enjoy the sounds and sights of Christmas at the annual Nite Lites display on the southeast side of Jackson County. This drive-through Christmas Light display draws crowds from all over southcentral Michigan and the tri-state area. Carpool with friends and save – just $25 per carload of people. And don’t miss out on participating in the Nite Lites 5K Run/Walk – it’s the only way to see the lights before cars are allowed to drive through the display!

Downtown Jackson Christmas Parade

You won’t want to miss the annual Downtown Jackson Christmas Parade in late November. Many of the area schools send their marching bands, local businesses and organizations participate, and even Santa Claus gets in on the holiday fun. It’s a great way to welcome the holiday season in Downtown Jackson!

Jackson YMCA Turkey Trot

Before you sit down to watch the Thanksgiving Day parades and fill up on food, football, and family, make your way to downtown Jackson for the annual Jackson YMCA Turkey Trot. With races for all ages and skill levels (10K run, 5K run or walk, and a kids’ half-mile fun run), the whole family can participate in this fun tradition!

Winter Festivals & Events in Jackson

Events & Festivals in Jackson Michigan During December

Happy Holidays! Jackson County Michigan is full of great events & festivals in December to celebrate the season, and this one you’ll want to be sure to attend!

Walton Annual Holiday Walk Thru

What started out in 2004 as a way to give back to the community they serve, the Walton Annual Holiday Walk Thru has become a much-anticipated event for families in Jackson, MI. Each December, children and their families are invited to walk through a winter wonderland at the Walton Insurance office on Spring Arbor Road. Members of the Walton team are dressed as characters such as Spiderman, Shrek, Cat-In-The-Hat, Ernie, Grinch, Disney Princesses, many elves, and of course Santa and Mrs. Claus. The office is decorated in traditional Christmas themes and the children enjoy hot cocoa, movies, Christmas cookies, live reindeer, and a toy at the end of their tour.

Best Events & Festivals in January

While there are several festivals and events happening in Jackson during the month of January, perhaps the most attended events are the indoor ones, such as the JSO or concerts at the Potter Center. But that doesn’t mean there’s not also fun to be had outdoors during January!

MIS Backyard Hockey Tournament

Since 2019, the MIS Backyard Hockey Tournament has invited Jackson Michigan ice hockey fans to enjoy three days of hockey fun. With divisions from 8U to adult, dozens of teams will compete in 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 tournament games during this annual event in January.

MIS Backyard Hockey Tournament - one of the best events & festivals in Jackson Michigan
photo from the MIS Backyard Hockey Tournament event on Facebook

February’s Top Events & Festivals in Jackson Michigan

February includes several events & festivals in Jackson Michigan that help fight against cabin fever during the traditionally cold and snowy month.

Jackson Toy Show

If you are a kid or a kid at heart, you won’t want to miss the annual Jackson Toy Show that comes to the Jackson County Fairgrounds each Februrary (February 1, 2020). This fun event started in 2004 and has grown from 18 tables to over 240 tables of collectible toys. Toys enthusiasts will enjoy browsing tables filled with tractors, dolls, model cars, trains, die casts, action figures, comics, and more. Admission is $3 (ages 12 & under are free), parking is free, and concessions are available on-site.

K-105.3 Chili Cookoff

Bring your tastebuds and your appetite to the annual K-105.3 Chili Cookoff in February (February 9, 2020). Just $5 at the door, and you’ll have the opportunity to taste chilis in six different categories, enjoy live music, and browse vendor booths.

Home & Garden Show

The annual Home & Garden Show in Jackson Michigan (February 28 – March 1, 2020) is a fun way to beat the winter blues and start dreaming of spring and summer. With local home improvement vendors and area landscapers on-site, you’ll have the opportunity to win free home improvements, make a list of gardening ideas, and more!

 

There are so many great events and festivals in Jackson Michigan happening all year long, and these are the best ones for you and your family to enjoy! For more great things to do in Jackson Michigan, be sure to sign up for our weekly emails.

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This post was lovingly written and is updated regularly by the team at Join in Jackson!

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