75 Years of the Lilac Festival on Mackinac Island

MACKINAC ISLAND, MI – May 22, 2023 – Cherished Midwest treasure and National Historic Landmark Mackinac Island is celebrating the 75th annual Lilac Festival, the largest and most historic festival on the island. The 10-day celebration will run from June 9-18, 2023 with this year’s theme being “Mackinac in Bloom” paying homage to the history of lilacs on the island and how they’ve thrived in the unique ecosystem. In addition to favorite events such as the Grand Parade, 10K run and walk, and the lilac poster contest, live Music in Marquette Park is making its return to the festival.

“Lilacs have been a hallmark on Mackinac Island for over 150 years and their signature blooms are a welcome sign the summer season is upon us,” said Tim Hygh, Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau Executive Director. “The Island community has gone above and beyond to make this year’s festival particularly memorable as we celebrate the 75th year. From guided walking tours to live music in the park, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the festival, and we take pride in honoring the island’s history and culture with this event each year.”

The Island’s annual Lilac Festival is a tribute to the romantic, flowering plants that bloom each June. With more than 250 kinds of lilacs on the Island, visitors can see a colorful bundle of the flowers throughout downtown, on nearby properties, adorned on memorabilia and artfully painted in decor. Restaurants across the Island are also joining the fun this year with Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor serving lilac flavored ice cream and other restaurants such as Chianti, Gate House, Pink Pony, Seabiscuit Cafe, Watercolor Cafe and others serving specialty lilac-infused drinks.

This year’s events schedule features live entertainment downtown, Sip N’ Sail Cruises, lilac planting seminars and special walking tours with Lilac Docent Anne Borowicz, free movies, complimentary admission to Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum, and more. It also highlights the festival’s signature events, taking place on the following dates:


        Friday, June 9 | Coronation of the Lilac Festival Queen and unveiling of the Lilac Festival Poster

        Saturday, June 10 | Lilac Festival 10K Run & Walk and the Lil’ Lilac Kids Run

        Saturday, June 10 | Line Dancing in the Street with West Michigan Bootscooters

        Thursday, June 15 | Live music in Marquette Park: Jimmy Buffet Tribute Concert

        Friday, June 16 | Market Street Art Walk

        Friday, June 16 | Live Music in Marquette Park: Empty Canvas

        Saturday, June 17 | Michigan Cornhole Tournament

        Saturday, June 17 | Great Lakes Pirate Festival

        Saturday, June 17 | Live Music at Cannonball Oasis: Myk Rise

        Sunday, June 18 | Mackinac Island Lilac Festival Parade

Preservation of the lilacs remains an important initiative for the Mackinac Island Preservation Fund and this year, Mackinac Island has partnered with the MSU Extension to conduct a lilac study on the Island to further maintain and promote the health of the historic plants. For more information on the study and ways to support the Lilac Preservation Fund, see here.

The Lilacs: A Fortnight of Fragrance on Mackinac Island book authored by Lilac Expert Jeff Young and island resident Sue Allen celebrates all things lilacs and highlights the rich history these blossoming plants have on the island. For more information on the 75th annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival, please visit: https://www.mackinacisland.org.

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