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Taste the world at Kalamazoo’s annual summer festivals

Posted on May 30th, 2014
things to do in kalamazoo

Jessica Pawlik is an intern at Discover Kalamazoo and fell in love with the city ever since she became a student at Western Michigan University. She enjoys summer, exploring different attractions and finding out about all the exciting events going on in Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo, Mich. — If you’re anything like me, you love to eat!

And Kalamazoo’s summer festivals are the perfect place to enjoy awesome entertainment and the diverse Kalamazoo community while sampling some of Kalamazoo’s eclectic tastes!

Here’s a list of the foodie festivals I look forward to each year in Kalamazoo:

Dionysis Greek Festival: June 5 to 7, 2014

Experience authentic Greek food, spirits and music at Greek Festival this year. The festival has expanded over the years to a three-day event, where musicians, singers and dancers will perform and share their heritage. Choose from Dionysos main food booth, Athenian variety, and Aphrodite desserts all handmade by Stacey. The drink menu includes authentic Greek lager beers, Greek liquors, Greek wines, non-alcoholic beverages and more!

  • Where:  Arcadia Creek Festival Place
  • When: Thursday 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 to 12:30 a.m.
  • Admission cost: Free admission before 4:00 p.m. each day. Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. $7.00 (Seniors Enter Free), Friday and Saturday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. $7.00 and 7:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. $10.
  • Food cost: Face value of a food/drink ticket is $1.

    Kalamazoo Island Festival

    Kalamazoo Island Fest has grown to become the largest reggae festival in the Midwest. Visit the festival’s “little Jamaica” and experience the arts and crafts vendors selling items ranging from woodcarvings to handmade drums, T-shirts to jewelry, and everything in between.

Island Festival: June 19 to 21, 2014

The 19th anniversary of Island Festival has a great musical line up with three days and nights of reggae music rocking downtown Kalamazoo! The entertainment ranges from top local talent to well-known regional and national headliners. Try Jamaican- and Caribbean-inspired cuisine, drinks, beer and wine!

  • Where: Arcadia Creek Festival Place
  • When: Thursday 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.
  • Admission cost: Free Admission before 4:00 p.m. each day. Thursday is $5.00 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. and $8.00 after 7:00 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, admission is $7.00 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. and $10.00 after $7.00 p.m.
  • Food cost: Tickets are 50 cents each.

    Irish Fest Kalamazoo

    Irish music, dance, Arts and Crafts, cultural area, food, Whiskey tasting, beer tent.

Irish Fest: June 27 to 28, 2014

Irish Fest is back again with music, dance, arts and crafts, Irish food, drinks and more! The food court will be serving authentic Irish specialties from Gallagher’s Eatery & Pub, O’Duffy’s Pub, Bennigan’s, Kalamazoo Scottish Fest Association and Kate’s Diner. Merchandise vendors will have collections of Irish jewelry, apparel, music and gifts. There will be a whiskey tasting, beer tent, Irish cider on draught and nonalcoholic beverages. On Saturday, the children’s center will feature games, crafts, face painting, friendly competitions and prizes!

  • Where: Arcadia Creek Festival Place
  • When: Friday 4:30 p.m. to midnight and Saturday 10:30 a.m. to midnight.
  • Admission cost: Free admission Friday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Regular admission is $8.00, students with valid I.D. $4.00 and free for children 13 and under.
  • Drink cost: Beverage tickets are $1 each.

Taste of Portage: July 19, 2014

The taste of portage will feature food from participating restaurants and catering companies. Latitude 42 will host its first Taste of Portage Brewers Expo from 2 to 4 p.m., with a specialty-brew launch. Everyone will have a chance to vote on the People’s Choice Award for their favorite food. Kids can enjoy the Kidz Zone with temporary tattoos, games, art and a scavenger food hunt. You’ll have a chance to meet the fall Portage student athletes, experience a Flashmob of dancers and enjoy afternoon entertainment. You have the option of biking to Taste of Portage for free admission by using the bike path entry!

  • Where: Overlander Bandshell, 7800 Shaver Road, Portage, MI 49024.
  • Admission cost: Not yet posted

    Taste of Kalamazoo

    Enjoy the endless variety of foods prepared by Kalamazoo’s most popular eateries. Cuisine from over 30 restaurants will be available.

Taste of Kalamazoo: July 24-26, 2014

One of the most anticipated festivals of the year is the Taste of Kalamazoo! Michigan’s largest food festival will offer cuisine from over 30 restaurants. Enjoy ethnic dishes, family favorites, exotic items and local specialties from Africa, China, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Caribbean and in between! Expect to find the best craft beer from local breweries and enjoy wine bars from local wineries. Non-alcoholic beverages include fresh smoothies, healthy juices and refreshing Coca-Cola products. You won’t want to miss out on the live music line-up that runs all day ranging from emerging local talent to well-known regional and national headliners. This festival attracts nearly 30,000 attendees over the weekend!

  • Where: Arcadia Creek Festival Place
  • When: Gates open Thurs.-Sat. from 11am-12:30am.
  • Admission cost: Thursday $3 at 4:00 p.m. and $6 at 7:00 p.m. Friday $6 at 4:00 p.m. and $8 at 7:00 p.m. Saturday $5 at 2:00 p.m. and $10 at 5:00 p.m. College students receive $2 off admission with a valid college ID, children 12 and under are free.
  • Food cost: Food and beverage tickets are priced at 50 cents each.

Ribfest: August 7 to 9, 2014

Ribfest features three whole days of food, entertainment, fun and, of course, ribs! This festival is one of the oldest in downtown Kalamazoo, attracting more than 30,000 people each summer. National and local rib vendors will sell ribs and chicken coated in outstanding barbecue sauces, as well as side items and sweet treats. Listen to great entertainment such as national rock and country music artists and local bands. There will be different contests for Best Ribs in Kalamazoo, including the People’s Choice Rib Competition.

  • Where:  Arcadia Creek Festival Place
  • Thursday 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.
  • Admission cost: Free Admission before 4:00 p.m. each day. $10.00 every day after 4:00 p.m.
Kalamazoo RIb Fest
The festival features three solid days of food, entertainment and fun! Ribfest is one of the oldest festivals in Downtown Kalamazoo, and it attracts over 30,000 people each summer.


Kalamazoo Scottish Festival & Highland Games: August 23, 2014

Experience Highland games, clans, bagpipes, Highland cattle, entertainment, merchandize and Scottish food at this festival!

  • Where: Flesher Field Park, S. 9th St., Kalamazoo, MI 49008.
  • Admission cost: Not yet posted

Click here if you’re looking for more Kalamazoo festivals!
Click here for a full calendar of Kalamazoo events!

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