Since taking over the then-crumbling Belle Isle Park in Detroit, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has done a masterful job to begin bringing this gem back to greatness, and it continues with something that’s probably not been seen here in perhaps a century, if ever: an annual harvest festival.
The event gives kids and adults a chance to get out, enjoy the park, enjoy the season and perhaps for the first time, go on a hayride.
Every member of the family will find something to do – like costume contests and pumpkin painting – at the Belle Isle harvest festival, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18. Hosted by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources with support from Detroit-area businesses, including Detroit Eastern Market, Channel One Productions and Caliente Detroit Rentals, the inaugural event includes activities for children, adults and family pets.
Harvest festivals are a popular seasonal tradition at Michigan state parks. The festivities, located under tents in the open space to the south of the White House park administrative building on Inselrue Avenue, include:
- Face painting, 10 to 11 a.m.
- Pumpkin painting, 10 to 11 a.m.
- Fall-themed games for children and adults, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.
- Tractor-pulled hayrides, 1:15 to 3:15 p.m.
- Trick-or-treating through multiple candy stations, 5 to 7 p.m.
- Costume contest for children, adults and family pets, 4 p.m.
- Roasting marshmallows over a campfire, 5 to 7 p.m.
Throughout the day, visitors can enjoy “spook-tacular” music, warm cider and donuts under the main tent and a straw bale maze. Learn more by visiting the online event listing.
“We are excited to add the Belle Isle harvest festival as one more example of the many good things happening at Michigan’s 102nd state park,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “Belle Isle is about community and bringing people together. Thanks to our sponsors for helping to bring this event to the people of Detroit and surrounding communities.”
The event is free to the public; however, a Recreation Passport, which is tied to a vehicle license plate renewal date, is being phased in at Belle Isle Park and may be required on a vehicle to access the park. If the license plate renewal date is on or prior to Oct. 18, then the vehicle requires a passport to access the park for the event. A Recreation Passport, required for entry to Michigan state parks, gains vehicle access to 102 state parks, 1,000 state boat launches and non-motorized trail head parking. Learn more about Belle Isle Park’s transition to the Recreation Passport.
Belle Isle Park visitors can purchase their Recreation Passport on Belle Isle at the White House (administrative building) from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily or from the Secretary of State during license plate registration renewal.
Parking for the harvest festival is available in the lot near the Belle Isle Aquarium and Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, located near Conservatory Drive and Inselrue Avenue.
Pets are welcome on Belle Isle Park and at the harvest festival. Dogs must remain on a leash no longer than six feet and must not be left unattended. Pets are not allowed in buildings (except service animals). Please be courteous and clean up after your pet.
Visit the DNR calendar of events for harvest festivals taking place at other Michigan state parks.
Additional information about Belle Isle Park is found at www.BelleIslePark.org.