by Shirley

Ah, May!… Blue skies, white clouds, mild weather, birdsongs and the waft of flowers in the air.  Everyone seems to have a little more pep in their step!

This is the best time to enjoy town: Most of the university students have left town and the k-12 grade students are still in school, leaving town a little calmer and saner.

It is a wonderful time to sit outside at one of the tables many restaurants and cafes offer at this time of the year, to enjoy a beverage or a dessert and do some people watching. This is also when all the festivals start. This week, for example, we will have “The Third Place [Music Fest]”, starting on May 8thand going through the 11th. In these four days, eight concerts will be played in eight different businesses. The music ranges between folk, classical, free improv and jazz. Admission starts at $3, but you can also buy a festival pass for $20, which will give you admission to all eight concerts and reserved seats. You can learn more about it here:

From May 10thto the 19th, we will have Cinetopia, a film festival happening simultaneously in nine different venues in the greater Detroit metropolitan area. Both the Michigan Theater and the State Theater, in Ann Arbor, will show several national and international films, will have discussions with different directors, producers and actors, and will also have opening and closing parties. Check out their schedule of events at:

After the Cinetopia Film Festival, you might be tired of sitting indoors. In this case, while you go for a walk in the Arboretum, don’t forget to check the Peony Garden. The garden features 929 plants of 516 cultivars and its bloom time this year is between May 25thand June 15th. Blooming time is calculated taking into consideration that different cultivars have slightly different blooming times, so that the garden (with luck and no violent storms) will be in bloom for several days. It is a very impressive sight to see the garden at full bloom and at that time, the Nichol’s Arboretum will promote a sale and garden party. This year’s peony sale will take place on June 1st, from 10am to 4:30pm. The Peony Garden party will be on June 2nd, starting at 2pm (weather permitting), with a concert featuring several performances, including our own International Neighbors Singing Group. I know by good authority that our singing group is busy preparing a couple of songs for the concert. If you do stop to check the peonies, make sure to also look for the azaleas and laurels ridge, that usually bloom near the peony garden. Keep an eye on their blooming schedule here:

As you walk in the Arboretum in June, you might become fanciful and think it reminds you of Illyria, the exotic setting of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”. In that case, you will be in luck, as the Arboretum will be the setting for “Shakespeare in the Arb: Twelfth Night”, June 6thto the 9th, 13thto 16th, and 20thto 23rd. University of Michigan students perform the play in the Arboretum each weekend. You can get more information here:

Also in June, don’t forget to stop by the Ann Arbor Summer Festival & Top of the Park. The festival will take place between June 14thand July 7th, six days a week (except Mondays), starting at 5pm. There will be concerts, movies, exercise classes, kid’s activities, open air spectacles and local vendors totaling 175 events. Most of these events are outdoors (the films are projected on a white wall) and are free, so bring a blanket or a rug, find your place on the grass and enjoy the night.

I hope this will give you some ideas of what to do with yourself in the next couple of months. There is in fact a lot to do during the spring and summer months around here, and I couldn’t possibly start to list all of them. But I wish you all a good summer. Have fun!