If you happen to be relatively local to me, there's a list of great stuff going on to fill your summer date book with below. If you aren't so local, check out your local chamber of commerce, library, or civic association for events calendars. Summertime is always full of pretty cheap or free community events, no matter where you live. Don't miss out because you aren't in the know. Just google your town and find some freebie fun for your family (hooray alliteration ... haha). Festivals, library reading programs, fireworks, and car cruises abound. I cannot wait!
On the Lakeshore ...
Brown Bag Film Series at the MMA
Grab your lunch and meet up at the art museum for a 30 minute film. Admission to the film is free, though I think they still charge for museum admission if you want to browse the galleries afterward, and there are cookies! Check out the downtown schedule for details.
Movie Nights at the LST
Bring a blanket or a lawn chair and head down to the Mart Dock for a free movie every Friday on the deck of the historic LST (Landing Ship Tank ... it's a boat ... a huge one, if you haven't seen it). The deck opens at 7pm, and the movie begins at dusk. You can bring a cooler and snacks, or purchase them on site for $1. A schedule of films can be seen on the downtown schedule. Although there's no admission cost, donations are accepted and all proceeds go to the Restoration Fund of the LST. Movies under the stars ... for free ...?! Score!
Parties in the Park
Live music (the link has the schedule), kids' games, and positively a ton of people you forgot you knew will be at Hackley Park in the middle of downtown every Friday from 5pm-930pm. Entrance is free, but food and beverages are a little on the pricey side so I suggest eating an early dinner at home before heading down there. I don't honestly remember if they let you bring food in or not, but I do know outside beverages aren't allowed. The best part, all proceeds go to the organization that is "sponsoring" each week. They provide the volunteers and the PITP organization compensates them according. Come out to the park, hang out with your friends, and support the organizations you know and love.
Most of the events surrounding SummerCel have some kind of cost associated, sometimes a rather significant cost if you're considering a night out with one of the live 'big name' bands. However, a number of the events going on around the Main Stage are free, especially the ones targeted at kids. Be careful to avoid the midway if you're not into dropping tons of cash on junk food and stomach turning carnival rides. Flip through the schedule, though, there may be something going on for free or pretty low cost that may interest you, like the Community Picnic where each food item costs only a quarter or the Safari-Me Petting Zoo. Also, scope out a free spot to park your car and catch the fireworks on July 4.
Star Gazing ... Inside
The Carr-Fles Planetarium at MCC offers free planetarium shows to the public on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7pm.
Vacation with Purpose
If you're so inclined, the Maranatha Bible Conference offers free entertainment on Saturday nights at 7pm. There are other free events as well mixed in with their admission required ones. You can check the summer program schedule here.
Events can be found here, here, here, and here. There are also library programs going on all over the area, so check out your local LLC library for details, or the Hackley Library which even has an Adult Summer Reading Program in conjunction with their kids' programs.
Surrounding the Lakeshore ...
Don't have the cash for a fishing license?
(although, I would strongly advocate the purchase if you have the time, location, and fish population since it's ... free food that can easily recoup the cost of the year long license)
Join in the fishing fun anyway by participating in the Michigan Free Fishing Weekend. No license required, just grab your pole and head to the closest stream (in MI that's approximately 12 feet from anywhere you live) for some quiet time and hopefully some free dinner!
Are there other sweet freebie events going on that I don't know about? Nation wide programs you want to tell me about? Great local programs in your community that you'd like to brag about? Let me know in the comments! I'm looking for freebie summer fun and date night ideas (remember, we need those date nights ... badly).