Outdoor Family and Music Events

Imagine walking down the quaint streets of a vibrant northern Michigan town. An enormous freshwater lake gleams in the near distance, the sun setting orange over its rippling waters. Fresh breezes carry a mosaic of music from every street corner. Kids clutching sno cones and balloon animals, their faces covered with paint, dart around adults contentedly strolling down the sidewalk. Their parents take in the evening: music, fresh air blowing across the lake, the smells of fresh cooking from a local restaurant, smiling faces. This is Boyne City’s Stroll the Streets.

In 2004, Boyne City Main Street began inviting musicians and entertainers to perform downtown on Friday nights during the summer. Those Friday performances grew into one of the most iconic events in northern Michigan, sponsored with the help of local businesses.

“It’s a very welcoming, easygoing evening with all styles of music,” said Ingrid Day, Boyne City Main Street’s executive director. “The whole town is open, and there’s always something for the whole family to enjoy. And, if last Friday was any indication, the evening sunsets are not to be missed.”

Stroll the Streets takes place on Friday evenings between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. from mid-June to Labor Day. There are, quite literally, performances on every street corner, including a magician. Anywhere between 8 and 12 bands play during the course of an evening. Musical acts scheduled for 2024 include The Mighty Tundra Tones, Pooch, Backwoods Band, and Johnny and the Sundogs.

Musicians perform on a street corner during Boyne City’s Stroll the Street event in 2023. Photo credit: Michigan Barefoot Memories

“When we say we cover every corner, we mean that. The 100 and 200 blocks of both Water Street and Lake Street have bands from end to end,” Day explained. “

Opening day of Stroll the Streets can be an epic celebration. This year, Boyne City Main Street took over the Boyne Library parking lot and offered games, crafts, face painting, ice cream, sno cones, and cotton candy. There was a used book sale—everyone’s favorite—and information about signing kids up for their Summer Reading Program. Day said that likely over 1,000 people attended opening night, and several thousand enjoy the revelries during the height of summer.

Day said the first day of Stroll the Streets always features special events for children, and families make up a large proportion of participants during the lively Friday action.

Anna Burkhart, owner of Boyne City’s Forgotten Treasures and chair of the Boyne City Main Street board, said that Stroll the Streets is all about supporting local businesses while treating tourists to all that Boyne City has to offer.

“Stroll the Streets creates a vibrant atmosphere for everyone to enjoy,” Burkhart said. “It’s become a staple event that brings locals and tourists together to enjoy music, food, shopping and beautiful sunsets.”

Speaking of food, what if the gorgeous sunset and fresh air make you a little hungry? That’s no problem. Restaurants like Café Santé (featured in our local brunch guide), Provisions Lounge, Lake Street Pub, Boyne City Tap Room, Red Mesa Grill, Indo China Gardens, Bella Vita, Stiggs,  and more are available to give you a taste of Boyne City.

What about gifts and shopping? Try shopping at Inspired Living, 52 Up North Weekends, Freshwater Art Gallery (featured in our art galleries guide), Forgotten Treasures, HomeAgain, SPUDS, or any other local gift shop.

Fibershed, a new yarn and fiber arts store in Boyne City, is open late for shopping (check out their fabulous yarn selection) or for their community craft night, where you can while away the night crocheting, knitting, weaving, or enjoying any other fiber craft you choose.

Craving a sweet, chocolately fix? Alpine Chocolat Haus and Kilwins Boyne City have you covered late into the evening.

Sunset Park near Boyne City’s Alpine Chocolat Haus. Photo credit: Michigan Barefoot Memories

Pat O’Brien, owner of a real estate business in Boyne City, is one of the original proponents of Stroll the Streets. He and Karen Guzniczak, both former Boyne City Main Street board members, brought the idea of live entertainment to the group, and he considers the annual event to be a great success.

“I know other towns are doing live entertainment on the streets, but from what I hear, nothing compares with what Boyne has,” said O’Brien. “A lot of the businesses hand out free gifts, from cotton candy to ice-cold bottles of water to cool visitors down on hot summer nights. If you haven’t been to Boyne City on a Friday night in the summer, you haven’t just haven’t had enough fun yet.”

About the Author: Jen DeMoss is a newcomer to the Petoskey area and loves northern Michigan. You can catch her paddling a canoe, hiking a trail, or swimming in Lake Michigan as often as the weather cooperates. She’d love to help you make the most of your time in this paradise she now calls home.