Inexpensive ways to have summer fun in Kalamazoo

Seniors get out of school May 30 soon followed by the rest of the Gull Lake Schools on June 12. There are only 83 days of summer vacation before everyone comes back to start the 2019-2020 school year.

How can you spend these precious days to the full potential? We’ve put together a list of fun and affordable places and activities to do in Kalamazoo this summer.

Explore Kalamazoo this summer with all the free events offered. Photo taken from Michigan Municipal.

June 1 – Hippie Fest

From 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center get ready the most groovy and family friendly festival this year. The festival will include live music, a vintage hippie car show, bohemian venders, a DIY tie-dye, a giant bubble garden, cirque performers, kids activities, and great food. Tickets must be purchased online (due to limited space) for $10. Kids 10 and under are free.

June 7 – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Fair

Join the KIA in their 69th annual KIA Arts Fair and kick the summer off with art. From 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Bronson Park will be flooded with 190 artists from across the U.S. There will be a variety of artwork ranging from jewelry, painting, photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass, fiber, wood, and leather accompanied by music, food trucks, and multiple family activities. On the Rotary Stage there will also be live art-making by Bonus Saves to benefit the Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes. All for free!

June 9 – Vintage in the Zoo

At the Kalamazoo Farmers Market location from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. come explore a conglomeration market full of vintage, hand-crafted, and modern market stalls. With over 60 vendors, come shop and try out local food trucks. Visiting the market is absolutely free. Can’t make it to this market?

Every Wednesday – The Union

Every Wednesday until December 25, come down to the The Union Cabaret and Grill between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. for live music at their weekly Jazz Jams. All sets are done by WMU’s jazz students. So come in, sit down, and enjoy a cozy atmosphere full of music and good food.

Every Wednesday – Old Dog Tavern

Ever thought of being and DJ? Open Decks Vinyl Night is a weekly event where anyone can sign up to be a vinyl DJ. Any and all genres are welcome with no experience need. This is a great opportunity for up and coming DJ’s who want to get to showcase their skills. Come in just to listen, or come in to play! If you want to DJ that night contact

June 14 – Kazoo Parks Summer Cinema

Want to go to see some free movies this summer? The Summer Cinema returns eight times this year absolutely free! The first movie is screened June 14 at 6 p.m. Popcorn and other snacks will also be for sale.

June 22 – Great American Campout

The National Wildlife Federation has once again brought the Great American Campout back to Ramona Park. Check-in starts at 3 p.m. that Saturday, and check-out is Sunday, June 23 by 10:30 a.m. You can enjoy a pig roast, popcorn, s’mores, and breakfast which is all included in their $50 fee. You can go swimming, hiking, make leaf etchings, among other family friendly activities. The next morning yoga is available before check-out. You must register by June 8.

July 20 – 46th Annual Richland Art Fair

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. our own Richland Village square showcases a diverse selection of artwork from the area for sale. The only cost besides shopping is the $2 raffle you can enter to win a piece of artwork. The Richland Library also has their book sale at this time. The best part is that this is a fundraiser for the Gull Lake Area Community Volunteers and it helps out the community!

July 27 – Midwest Handmade’s MI Makers Fair

Enjoy a free indoor arts and crafts show July 27 – July 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Shop from local vendors at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center.

August 3 – Reptile Weekend

Reptile Weekend is two days full of hands-on learning at Binder Park Zoo with over 100 different reptiles and amphibians from around the world. This is not technically free, but is included in the regular day’s admission.

Want more options? Check out Discover Kalamazoo and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts for more events and artist talks.

Lainie Scott

Lainie Scott

This is my senior year at Gull Lake High school, and my second year apart of The Reflection staff.  This year I am the feature/entertainment editor, and I am looking forward to see where my writing can take me.

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