By KENZIE TERPSTRA
Capital News Service
LANSING – As summer becomes a thing of the past, tourism efforts throughout the state pivot to focus on all things fall – especially the vibrant colors associated with the season. Live stream views of scenic areas, poems by Michigan natives and events to celebrate the new time of year help promote travel within the state.
Pure Michigan, through partnerships with local tourism groups, has live webcams that provide real-time views of popular locations, including the Mackinac Bridge, Frankenmuth and Holland. The live streams can be viewed at any time through its website.
The West Michigan Tourist Association has over 14 webcams linked to its website, spanning across west Michigan from Grand Rapids and north to Marquette.
Nick Nerbonne, Pure Michigan’s digital and industry relations director, said the webcams offer a unique promotional opportunity.
“The idea is to get a real-time view of what a destination looks like,” Nerbonne said. “So in the fall, we can see what the colors look like in a specific area ahead of time.”
Pure Michigan recently teamed up with Detroit poet jessica Care moore as part of its fall tourism promotion campaign.
Her poem titled “Keep Falling for Michigan” highlights the aspects of a Michigan autumn, such as the color-changing leaves, crisp apples and freshwater lakes. “The bite of our Michigan apples / jumping inside piles of bright yellow and gold / speckled leaves beneath our boots, / fall is honoring a shift beyond our control.”
“Sleeping Bear Dunes (National Lakeshore) is one of my favorite quiet places,” moore said. She also said that Idlewild, a historically Black vacation community in Lake County, is high on her list of places to visit.
Moore released another poem earlier this summer, “I Am Detroit Summer,” illuminating what makes her hometown compelling.
Pure Michigan targets both regional and national markets in its campaigns. According to the agency’s latest campaign effectiveness study, fall advertising last year influenced travelers to go on more than 350,000 leisure trips during the season.
“Michigan is a great place with lots to do and see in the fall,” Nerbonne said.
Autumns in the state are so impressive that the Upper Peninsula topped USA Today’s “10 best destinations for fall foliage” in 2022.
This year, Mackinac Island landed at No. 3 on USA Today’s “10 U.S. spots for a perfect fall getaway.” Gatlinburg, Tennessee, took first place on the list.
Stephanie Castelein, the events and content manager for the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau, said fall colors are a big reason that travelers are coming to the island this time of year.
Castelein said, “I’m from South Dakota, so I had never seen trees like this let alone the color changes.”
To wrap up their tourism season, local businesses are putting on a Halloween weekend event as they prepare to close for the year. The tourism bureau promotes and coordinates activities going on throughout the island.
Mackinac Island’s Halloween weekend, Oct. 27-29, will include a “Great Turtle Trail Run,” trick-or-treating for kids through downtown and adult costume parties hosted by local businesses.
“It’s kind of the end of that tourism season, so everyone on the island celebrates that – visitors, locals and residents alike,” Castelein said.
In addition to Mackinac Island’s Halloween weekend, many other cities are hosting their own seasonal events. They include:
- Giant Pumpkins Parade, Oct. 14, in Frankfort.
- Appleumpkin & Apple Festival, Oct. 14-16, in Tecumseh.
- Macomb County HarvestFest, Oct. 21-22, in Sterling Heights.
- Michigan Brewers Guild Detroit Fall Beer Festival, Oct. 28, in Eastern Market.