The 17 acres inside the Michigan Renaissance Festival? don't obey the rules of the outside world. Instead, they bring the 16th century back in vivid tapestry-color?and though the celebration only lasts a few short weeks, the festival has been a beloved local tradition for more than three decades, drawing more than 250,000 people each year.
Step through the gates, and explore recreated Renaissance-era buildings including stables and a castle. Nearby shops host more than 300 artisans, selling wares such as metal sculptures or lavish costumes. Tavern owners roast turkey legs over open flames, while entertainers continuously weave throughout the streets and perform on 17 themed stages. Comedy, music, and full-contact jousting unfolds to the delight of the crowd, which may even include Queen Elizabeth herself, assuming she remembers where she put her horse keys.
Taza Mediterranean Grill operates under the idea that food is the universal connector between people and cultures. Drawing inspiration from the small food establishments that pepper the Mediterranean, cooks indulge guests with everything from handpicked wine lists to fresh, oven-baked bread prepared for all to see. Of course, the restaurant's Mediterranean roots extend well past bread. Cooks roast the beef for their beef shawarma pita on a rotating skewer, and serve their New Zealand lamb chops with a cucumber and mint relish. The kitchen team also assembles vegetarian platters, complete with humous, tabbouli, falafel, and grape leaves.
Challenge Nation pioneered the urban-adventure race with a race season that includes visits to more than 35 cities across the country. Each scavenger hunt is personalized to the hosting city, exploring its many diverse neighborhoods with a series of clues that would test even the most skilled children's-book detective. The teams?composed of at least two people?vie for a $300 first-place prize. The Amazing Race?style competition rewards quick wits and wise planning over physical fitness, so the best way to prepare is by doing logic puzzles while eating Funyuns and lounging in a La-Z-Boy. The top 25 teams qualify, the top five receiving free entry, to compete in the national championship, which rewards winning teams with a $5,000 cash prize.
At the third annual Stage Fright Halloween party, costumed partygoers wander among visual displays and line up at a cash bar to the beats of three local DJs. Screens light up with scenes from popular horror films as patrons explore corridors laden with ghastly props. Monsters and goons storm the stage for a heart-stopping show, and at midnight all the venue's denizens come together to dance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller." DJ Cue, DJ Matt Aubrey, and DJ Tommy Holiday keep ventricles pumping at full speed with sets that continue until 2 a.m., the time at which the goblins' mothers order them home to bed.
A buzzing hive of entertainment in downtown Detroit, Greektown celebrates its heritage and kicks off fall in tasty fashion with the Greektown Harvest Festival on October 4. On this evening, dozens of local restaurants, breweries, and wineries turn Brush and Monroe into the most ambrosial corner in the city by setting up shop and doling out their goods. Attendees and scarecrows who requested this weekend off months ago have the chance to bite into brats from Firebird Tavern, deep-dish slices from Pizza Papallis, and many other local favorites. They can also sip beers, cocktails, and wines poured by producers from all over the country, as well as some other favorites from Michigan.
On March 31, Detroit Home Opener Festival takes over the Madison Avenue Festival Grounds with the Detroit Home Opener Festival, a block party celebrating the opening day of the baseball season. Starting at 9 a.m. and going into the night, fans can converge in heated tents where bartenders pour beer and mix cocktails. After grabbing their drinks, they can head outdoors for a food-truck rally and other entertainment. Block partiers can play festival games or pitch balls at a dunk tank, wherein Home Opener girls sit precariously above cold water. Meanwhile, a hot-dog-eating contest keeps eaters satiated, and live bands and local DJs entertain crowds with games of vinyl frisbee.