Old favorites, new fun on tap for Farmington’s 2018 Founders Festival

The 54th annual Greater Farmington Founders Festival, organized by the Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce, opens July 19, with new activities and lots of family fun in downtown Farmington and Shiawassee Park.

Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce
Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce volunteers lead the 2017 parade.

The four-day celebration kicks off with a Thursday, 7 p.m., sing-a-along Porch Party at the Governor Warner Mansion, 33805 Grand River, a Pie Baking Contest at First United Methodist Church, 33112 Grand River, and Swing Dancing just across Grand River at the Walter E. Sundquist Farmington Pavilion and Riley Park. Wisteria performs on the Main Stage, west of the Pavilion, at 5:30 p.m. and Atomic Radio at 8 p.m.

Main Stage mainstays Fifty Amp Fuse and Killer Flamingos perform on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Here’s a look at what’s new and what you’ll love seeing again:

Farmington Fido Fest – July 20 and 21

Open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Fido Fest takes over the northeast side of Shiawassee Park for the first time with these amazing activities:

  • The Ultimate Air Dog and Disc Dogs of Michigan performances
  • An agility course for your pup
  • Doggie fashion shows and contests
  • Pet vendors and dog rescue organizations

The Fido Fest will also feature a Bark Garden, with Roak Brewing Co. and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

Vintage Marketplace – July 20-22

Replacing the festival crafters on Farmington Road, this new/old marketplace will be open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 12 p.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. You’ll find mid-century modern items, antique toys, specialty crafts and jewelry for sale from around 30 vendors, with new inventory arriving each day.

Farmington Farmers & Artisans Market – July 21

The market isn’t new, it happens every Saturday from May through October. But rather than moving to the Huron River Club on Farmington Road this year, the market’s staying put at the Walter Sundquist Farmington Pavilion and Riley Park. Hours are the same as usual, 9 a.m .-2 p.m.,

Kids Zone at Shiawassee Park – July 20, 21 and 22

Look for Michigan Renaissance Festival performers, family-friendly shows on the kids’ stage, Koalabotz robotics demonstrations, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) activities, inflatables, and more as the Kids Zone returns to Shiawassee Park. Enjoy a showing of “Turner & Hooch” under the stars on Friday at 9  p.m., and “Light Up the Night,” with hot air balloons on Saturday at 8 p.m.

Greater Farmington Founders Festival
Hot air balloons will once again Light Up the Night at Shiawassee Park. 

Governor Warner Mansion Flea Market – July 20-21

This event was so successful last year, that the Mansion volunteers are bringing it back. You just never know what you’ll find at this eclectic sale, held on the gorgeous grounds of the city-owned house museum. While you’re there, take a docent-led tour of the house once occupied by three-term Michigan governor Fred M. Warner and his family.

History Booth – July 20-21, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Located on the lawn on the north side of Farmington City Hall, the booth represents several Farmington area historical organizations. Pick up copies of monographs and books and speak with folks who can answer your local history questions.

LOC Color Run and Founders Festival Parade – July 21

The LOC Color Run, a 5K than begins at Shiawassee Park, returns Saturday at 9 a.m. Runners travel through the parade route on Grand River and a burst of colors in the last mile. Register at foundersfestival.com. As the Color Run ends, the annual Founders Festival Parade steps off on Grand River at 10 a.m. Grand Marshals this year are Farmington mayor Steven Schneemann and Farmington Hills mayor Ken Massey.

To learn more about these and many other Festival events and activities, visit foundersfestival.com.