Plan Now for the Annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival

Published on May 22nd, 2018

Last updated on September 25th, 2020



Experience The Scents and Sights of Mackinac Island’s Ten Day Lilac Festival

The Mackinac Island Lilac Festival brings people together to celebrate the beauty and delightful aroma of more than 80-varieties of lilacs found on Mackinac. From the coronation of the queen to the Grand Parade, the 10-day event held each June attracts thousands of visitors from far and wide to Michigan’s most picturesque island for a wide array of activities and entertainment. With spring finally in the air, it’s time to soak up the rejuvenating Northern Michigan sun and experience Michigan’s crown jewel of Mackinac Island. Book now to assure an unparalleled experience at any of our unique lodging locations throughout the island.

Something for Everyone

From taking a relaxing stroll down Market Street, to enjoying in the hustle and bustle of Main Street’s shops and boutiques, or experiencing the adrenaline rush of the Lilac Festival 10K run, there’s something for literally everyone at our 10-day festival of the lilac. Sit back, relax, and watch the world go by via horse and carriage. Gaze at the endless sky of stars above, or skip a stone on the shores of Lake Huron. And of course the festival wraps with the amazing Grand Parade down Main Street.

Crowning a Lilac Queen

A long-standing tradition of the Mackinac Island Lilac Festival is the coronation of the cherished Lilac Queen. Each year the students of Mackinac Island Public School vote to select one of their peers to be Lilac Queen. An honored nomination, the Lilac Queen is recognized for her devotion to being a good classmate and an active member of the Mackinac Island community. The queen is crowned on the very first day of the festival, and later rides in a horse and carriage float in the festival’s Grand Parade. She then reigns again until the following year when the next Lilac Queen steps in to fill her shoes.

An Event Steeped in Tradition

The Mackinac Island Lilac Festival has been a cherished event for island-dwellers and tourists alike since it first began in 1949. The three people credited as the founding members of the festival are Evangeline Horn, Stella King, and current Mackinac Island Carriage Tours veterinarian Dr. Bill Chambers. The original goal was to host an event that would both bring travelers to the island and celebrate the abundance of lilacs blooming throughout the island, all while maintaining the tradition of utilizing horse-drawn carriages rather than motorized vehicles. The solution: a horse-drawn parade to celebrate “Mackinac Island Lilac Day,” as the festival was only one day long when it first began.

A Horse Drawn Send Off

An event not to be missed, the festival’s Grand Parade happens to be one of the last remaining horse-drawn parades in the world.   An array of unique and memorable floats are created by island businesses and organizations, offering a memorable spectacle for the entire family. Float submissions compete for parade trophies awarded by a panel of judges at the event’s conclusion. With this incentive the float creators are sure to put out wonderful designs year after year for parade attendees to enjoy. Bagpipes, the infamous Scottville Clown Band, High School Marching Bands and many more are sure to offer a good time for everyone in attendance.

Plan Now and Experience the #MackinacLilacFest

This amazing festival on Michigan’s crown jewel attracts thousands of tourists each year. Visit mackinacisland.org to begin planning your visit and take in the sights, the scents, and sounds of our annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival!

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