Your guide to Founders Festival in downtown Farmington

After a year’s absence, the Greater Farmington Founders Festival presented by Meijer returns July 15-17, with activities centered in downtown Farmington.

Celebrating its 57th year, the iconic summer celebration fell in 2020 to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then the Greater Farmington Chamber of Commerce withdrew as the event organizer.

Under the leadership of Farmington mayor Sara Bowman, city and Downtown Development Authority (DDA) officials signed an agreement with 360 Event Productions to bring the event back.

Here’s what you’ll see during the three days, starting with a “soft open” on Thursday:

Farmington Founders Festival Beer Tent

Beer Tent

Thursday, 5-11 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 12-11 p.m.

Returning to Grand River and Farmington Road, this popular venue returns as a dance party. After 6 p.m., patrons 21 and older (with valid ID) will enjoy a variety of beer, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Makers Mark, hard ciders, seltzers, and Faygo. $5 cover starts at 6 p.m. Bar and cover charge are cash only, and you’ll find an ATM at the tent.

Farmington Voice Paid SubscriptionsThursday

  • 5-7:15 p.m. Andy Patalan (Modern / Classic Rock)
  • 8-11 p.m. Local Heroes (Dance Party Rock)

Friday

  • 12-3 p.m. Just 2 Guitars (Classic Rock)
  • 3:30-4:30 p.m. Cheyenne Goff (Pop / Classic Alternative)
  • 5-7:15 p.m. Cody Broggs Band (Country)
  • 8-11 p.m. Fifty Amp Fuse (Rock ‘n’ Roll/Dance)

Saturday

  • 12-3 p.m. Farmington School of Rock
  • 3:30-5 p.m. Whiskey for Random (Rock / Country)
  • 8:20-11 p.m. Square Pegz (80s Dance Party)
Farmington Fido Fest
(contributed)

Farmington Fido Fest

Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

You’ll find one of the festival’s most popular attractions in Riley Park. Farmington Fido Fest will include Ultimate Air Dogs and Disc Dogs of Michigan Frisbee Show, vendors, and contests.

Guests can also meet K9 Shiloh and his handler, Dave. Certified in Explosive Detection, Building Search, Area Search, Civil Agitation, Criminal Apprehension, and Hospital Patrol, the team has found fame on TikTok. Along with their security duties, Dave and Shiloh also visit with patients at Beaumont of Farmington Hills, families, and staff to help brighten their day with “K9 Therapy”.

After an appearance in Saturday’s Farmington Founders Festival Parade, the team will visit Farmington Fido Fest in Riley Park until 6 p.m.

There’s a lot going on in Riley Park–here’s the schedule:

Contests and Shows

Friday

  • 11 a.m.-Smooch Your Pooch
  • 11:30 a.m.-Furmintor (Biggest Hairball competition)
  • 12 p.m.-Disc Dogs of Michigan Frisbee Show
  • 1 p.m.-Best Trick
  • 2 p.m.-Disc Dogs of Michigan Frisbee Show
  • 2:30 p.m.-Wiener Dog Race
  • 3 p.m.- Pug Run
  • 5 p.m.-Costume Contest
  • 6 p.m.-Disc Dogs of Michigan Frisbee Show
  • 6:30 p.m.-Puppy Dash (6 months & under)

Saturday

  • 11 a.m.-Best Trick
  • 11:30 a.m.-Smooch Your Pooch
  • 12 p.m.-Disc Dogs of Michigan Frisbee Show
  • 1 p.m.-Costume Contest
  • 2 p.m.-Disc Dogs of Michigan Frisbee Show
  • 2:30 p.m.-Chihuahua Race
  • 2:45 p.m.-Puppy Dash
  • 6 p.m.-Disc Dogs of Michigan Frisbee Show
  • 6:30 p.m.-Corgi Race

Sign up for contests at the DJ booth at least 30 minutes before each event. 

Ultimate Air Dogs 

  • Friday: Splash 1–11 a.m., Splash 2–1:00 p.m., Chase It–3 p.m., Splash 3–5 p.m.
  • Saturday: Fetch It–11 a.m., Splash 4–1 p.m., Splash 5–3 p.m., FINALS–5 p.m.

Register in advance: ultimateairdogs.com/event-info/2021/FidoFest.php

Farmington Farmers Market

Moved to Farmington High School during Founders Festival, the Saturday market will keep its regular hours, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Look for vendor tents in the parking lot near the tennis courts. There’s plenty of parking, and Mark Reitenga provides live music 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Read more: FARMINGTON FARMERS MARKET RELOCATES DURING FESTIVAL

Farmington Touch A Truck
Kids can explore big trucks, street sweepers, and emergency vehicles on State Street.

Family Fun Zone

Friday & Saturday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Brought to you by Faygo, this area includes inflatables, a mechanical bull, Disco Dome, Cliff Hanger slide, Wipeout and more! Purchase unlimited ride wristbands on site for $15. Kids can also have their face painted by Face Flair or have their photo taken with the Wonder Woman (stilt walker) on Saturday, 5-7 p.m.

Family Show Schedule

Friday

  • 11-11:30 a.m. Eugene Clark Magic Show
  • 12-12:30 p.m. Clark Lewis Juggling Show
  • 1-3 p.m. Touch a Truck (Kids can explore big trucks, street sweepers and emergency vehicles off State Street.)
  • 4-4:30 p.m. Eugene Clark Magic Show
  • 5-5:30 p.m. Clark Lewis Juggling Show
  • 6-6:30 p.m. Eugene Clark Magic Show
  • 7-7:30 p.m. Clark Lewis Juggling Show

Saturday

  • 12-12:30 p.m. Earth Angels
  • 1-1:30 p.m. Eugene Clark Magic Show
  • 2-2:30 p.m. Earth Angels
  • 3-3:30 p.m. Eugene Clark Magic Show
  • 5-5:30 p.m. Eugene Clark Magic Show

*Schedule subject to change.

Sand Art

Friday & Saturday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

New this year, sand artists will create a Hero vs. Villain themed sculpture with 10 yards of sand on State Street. Kids can get in on the action, too, as artists teach them how to make their own sand sculptures in the play sandboxes. They’ll also receive a booklet Sand Sculpting Tips and Tricks to take home.

Food Court

Thursday-Saturday, during festival hours

A variety of food trucks will offer everything from tacos to delicious BBQ. Vendors including Ideal Bite Community Kitchen, Different Twist Pretzel, Shelly’s Hotdogs, Main Squeeze Lemonade, and Howdy Doodle’s Ice Cream will be near the Beer Tent and Crafters Market on Farmington Road.

Crafters Marketplace

Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Brought to you by Delta Hotels by Marriott, this area showcases creative and talented crafters displaying one-of-a-kind art, handcrafted jewelry, handmade consumables or something whimsical for the garden.

Founders Festival Color Run
Runners and walkers can get a splash of color at stations set up along the 5k route.

LOC Credit Union & Brookdale Senior Living 5k Color Run

Saturday, 9 a.m.

Run or walk through Shiawassee Park and Downtown Farmington along the parade route. Medals presented to age-group winners. Four color stations throughout the race route add a special experience. The race will be chip-timed by the Michigan Running Foundation. Register here: runsignup.com/Race/MI/Farmington/FarmingtonFoundersFestival4MileRun 

Farmington Founders Festival Parade
The community will honor its local heroes during Saturday’s parade on Grand River.

Farmington Founders Festival Parade presented by Beaumont

Saturday, 10 a.m.

With the theme Heroes vs Villains, the parade takes place on Grand River between Power and Farmington Roads.

The parade this year honors one of Farmington’s own Hometown Heroes, Holly Bartman, as the Grand Marshal. During the pandemic, Bartman changed her business course from memory quilts to sewing face masks for hospital workers, first responders, city employees, Farmington Farmer’s Market volunteers and public safety officers. Over the course of the year, she made over 50,000 masks. You’ll also see other heroes like the Honor Guard and Farmington and Farmington Hills Public Safety.

Festival sponsors include Meijer, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Makers Mark, West Side Beer, Faygo, LOC Credit Union, Brookdale Senior Living, LaFontaine Subaru, LaFontaine Volvo, Oakland County, Delta Hotels by Marriott and the Farmington Downtown Development Authority.

Look for more information and schedule updates at foundersfestival.com or on the Founders Festival Facebook page.

Reported by