Niles Family Fun Fair and Bluegrass Festival draws over 10,000 people

Published: Jun. 4, 2023 at 9:52 PM EDT
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NILES, Mich. (WNDU) - For the last 21 years, The Niles Family Fun Fair and Bluegrass Festival have offered something for the whole family, from concerts to local food and craft vendors and, of course, carnival rides for the kids.

“The Niles Bluegrass Festival is a four-day music festival; it’s an acoustic music festival, so we concentrate on acoustic bands, bluegrass, and Americana, and then at night, we have jam bands take the stage so everybody can dance off whatever they got left,” says Tom Majerek, founder of the Niles Bluegrass Festival.

Since the festival is free, there is no official attendance count, but festival officials estimate over ten thousand people came out to Riverfront Park to enjoy the fair.

“It’s between 10 and 15 thousand (people),” Majerek said. “The place was packed on Friday and Saturday night, there were lines at all the food vendors, and we don’t take tickets here; it’s always been a free festival. For 20 years, we kept it free, and we’re going to continue to do that. So, there’s no way to tell (attendance), but it was packed.”

Local teens tell 16 News that they never miss the fest.

“It’s a great place for families to come together and spend the day, if they want, with rides, vendors, food, drinks, people,” says Michigan residents Autumn Runyon & Skylah Humphrey. “The people here are very nice. They are amazing people.”

And one local thrill seeker says the rides are his favorite part of the festival.

“I just like to get flipped upside down a lot on the rides,” says Miles Harrison, a young festivalgoer.

After being asked what his favorite ride was and why, Miles said, “That one over there, the ship one because I really like to get upside down and feel my heart drop.”

The Niles Riverfront Optimist Club hosts the annual festival and says they want to make the community a better place.

“Since it’s a free festival, all the funds go back into fixing up the park and to take care of the next festival,” Majerek said. “So, pretty much by the end of this weekend, we’ve put on a great free event for the community and get ready for the next one. I just think if you’re going to come to Niles, you’re going to have a good time at the Niles Bluegrass Festival and all the events we put on in this park.”

This is just the beginning of summer music at Riverfront Park in Niles, as they have two more festivals and free concerts all summer long.

For more information on all Niles summer activities, contact the City of Niles directly.

Niles City Hall – 333 N 2nd St., Niles, Michigan 49120 | (269)-683-4700