It's the high summer season in Michigan's Great Southwest, and we're celebrating with a Midsummer Classic Weekend! Read on for the fun happening Thursday, July 19th through Sunday, July 21st. 


Thursday, July 19th

It’s a great weekend for the water, so let’s kick it off your with Whirlpool’s 2018 Rock the Boat Cardboard Boat Race, benefiting the United Way of Southwest Michigan! There’s 50 boats (yes, they are really cardboard!) built by local businesses registered for a race in front of the Inn at Harbor Shores. Come at 5:00pm to enjoy a beer garden and snacks before the races.  


After the race, we’re tapping “Chalk the Beer” at North Pier Brewing. It’s a special brew created by Steve Distachio, lead brewer, to celebrate the upcoming Chalk the Block event in downtown St. Joseph. It’s a peach and pineapple wheat beer that tastes like summer - be one of the first to try it (and get a sweet sticker!) at North Pier Brewing on July 19th. 


INSIDER TIP: The sunset is 9:17pm on July 19th. Stroll downtown, and be sure to check out the Krasl Art Center’s new “Summertime in the Galleries” exhibit - they are open on Thursdays until 9:00pm!


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Friday, July 20th

There’s more than an awesome view on the bluff - July 20th is the Mike Yore Memorial Car Show! Groove to classic tunes and see the classic cars from days gone by starting at 4:00pm. The show is free!  


Earlier on Friday, the Heritage Museum & Cultural Center is offering Lighthouse Tours of the famous St. Joseph lighthouse! You can catch the tours from 11:00am-2:00pm (a guided walking tour begins at 10:00am) on both Friday and Saturday. The first floor of the lighthouse hosts a free exhibit, and it’s just $5 to climb to the top. Tours are weather-dependent; check out their Facebook page for more information.  


Summer also means live music in Southwest Michigan! St. Joseph Today’s free Friday Night Concert hosts Kari Holmes at the John E.N. Howard Bandshell downtown; it’s an easy stroll from the Mike Yore Memorial Car Show! 


You can also find another waterfront performance at Shadowland Pavilion, where SMSO is hosting “In The Heights”. It’s an awesome musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Hamilton! Find more information and tickets here.   


There’s more music with a side of Michigan wine and craft beer at - 


Dablon Vineyards - The Backsliders

Sister Lakes Brewing - Midwestern Lull Duo

The Livery - The Hacky Turtles

Vineyard 2121 - Steve Michaels

Tabor Hill - Marcus Clingaman

Plank’s Tavern - Larry Johnson


INSIDER TIP: Need shades for the summer? The Optical Shoppe at Advanced Family Eyecare has a truck show on Friday!  


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Saturday, July 21st

Explore downtown on foot - it’s the Race for the YMCA presented by Chemical Bank! This race winds through the Arboretum, and raises funds that provide the opportunity for hundreds of children in our community to attend Y programs at little or no cost through financial assistance. It’s a worthy cause, and a great race! 


Two of our makers have birthdays this weekend - Watermark Brewing is celebrating their second anniversary, and Vineyard 2121 is celebrating their third anniversary! In downtown Stevensville, Watermark Brewing’s festivities go from 11:00am-11:00pm, featuring a dunk tank and mystery suitcases of prizes. Find more information here.  


In Benton Harbor’s vineyards, Vineyard 2121 hosts a party from 1:00pm-7:00pm, with a pie eating contest at 2:00pm and live music with Libido Funk Circus from 4:00-7:00pm! Purchase your tickets in advance here.   


A signature event every year, Music & Microbrews is hosted lakefront in St. Joseph. Featuring music from The Swift Brothers and Fool House, you’ll be dancing lakefront with great local breweries like The Livery, North Pier, Round Barn, Silver Harbor, and Sister Lakes (just to name a few!) and taste delicious bites from local food vendors like Coach’s. You can find more information here.  


Finish out your Saturday with a movie in Whirlpool Centennial Park! The City of St. Joseph hosts “Cars” - bring a blanket or chairs (take out from Silver Beach Pizza next door is always a plus!) and enjoy the free flick under the stars. It begins around 10:00pm! 


INSIDER TIP: Swing by PurelyMichigan between 12-2pm for free tastings with Grand Armory brewing!  


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Sunday, July 22nd

Take in a new view of downtown with our free Horse-Drawn Trolley Rides from 1:00-3:00pm! Meet on the corner of State and Elm for a ride with Polly and Dolly, our rescue horses that pull the trolley. All rides are free, thanks to a generous grant from the Upton Foundation.  This activity is weather permitting; please check in with us! 


Further down State Street, the St. Joseph Municipal Band comes to the Howard Bandshell! Catch free concerts from them at 3:30 and 7:30pm. 


INSIDER TIP: Planning a beach day? Check the live feed Silver Beach Cam to see conditions!  


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Where’s Waldo? He’s downtown St. Joe! Stop by Forever Books (312 State Street) during the month of July to get a passport, and find Waldo hidden in more than 20 downtown stores! 


Speaking of red and white hats, it’s Christmas in July at the Silver Beach Carousel! Thursday-Sunday, they’ll be playing Christmas carols on the two band organs and having snowball fights in the activities room. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be coming to visit all the good girls and boys Thursday and Friday from 1-5pm, and Saturday and  Sunday from 1-5pm and 7-9pm. 


We always recommend getting out on the water for a paddle - July is perfect for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding! Visit the St. Joseph River Canoe & Kayak Livery or Third Coast Paddling for great rental options on the river. 


INSIDER TIP: There’s a special sunset paddle with Third Coast Paddling on Saturday, July 21st!