Malakai Shugart gives his open canvas painting two thumbs up at the Sunrise Solstice Art and Music Festival.

TAWAS CITY – Undeterred by rainfall several art and music lovers attended festivities throughout Tawas City for the Sunrise Solstice Art and Music Festival on Saturday.  

The festival kicked of at 6 a.m. with the Art Alfresco Competition, which went off without a hitch at the welcome center. 

Unfortunately, many activities throughout the day had to be canceled due to the weather. However, the activities that persisted were cardio drumming with Barb at 9 a.m., followed by Fairy Garden Making. 

At around 10 a.m. vendors were able to set up around the event. Organizers said this caught the eye of several passersby and brought an abundance of participants to the festival. 

At 11 a.m. art classes took place at the welcoming center, along with a class titled acrylic flower painting with Kate. During this time participants were allowed to paint with no instructions for an open canvas event, which easily was one of the more popular events that took place throughout the day. 

At 1 p.m. an alcohol ink art class with Betty took place followed by sound healing on the Beach with Andrew. Voting for the Art Alfresco took place at 5 p.m. and the winners were announced at the Town Square at 8 p.m. 


A decision made by Tracee Lentz on Thursday, June 13, to showcase the live music at the Buckhorn Inn allowed for the music side of the festival to run smoothly. 

The Buckhorn Music lineup began at 8 a.m. with Sunshine String Band, followed by Hippie Bob. At 2 p.m. Ratio played, followed by Holy Roots. The Whiskey Charmers hit the stage at 6 p.m., followed by Poor Player who closed out the stage at around 10 p.m. 

Despite only being the second year for the festival Chairperson Jolene Grusecki said the number of attendees nearly tripled compared to last year. One of the most successful events that occurred during the festival this year was the Art Alfresco.

“The Art Alfresco which is Lori’s (Lori Henderson-Bayn, Photography Teacher) inspiration, is wonderful because people come and they get their canvas stamped and they go wherever they want in Iosco County, bring it back and then people here will vote for the best of show, second place, and third place,” Gruseki said.

Grusecki said that herself and others came up with the idea to start the festival when they realized there was a shortage of art and music in the area. 

 “We are a team of teachers and we basically decided we wanted to have some art and music expanded in our community because we have a very beautiful area. We also always need art and music money at school, so it was kind of a win-win situation,” she said.

Gruseki said that looking forward to next years’ festival she hopes there will be more people who decide to venture out of their comfort zone and try something new. 

“We love seeing the different artists. We see a number of people who have tried things that are new to them. One of the things we have is open canvas and people say I’m not a painter and then they sit down and they really thoroughly enjoy it. We have community canvas and people can add to that and of course we have instructed classes as well,” she said. 

All proceeds from the Sunrise Solstice Art and Music festival go towards youth music and art programs at Tawas Area Schools. 

For more information about the festival you can visit,