I love spring and especially the month of May. Flowers start blooming during my mom’s birthday month. It’s the official kickoff to summertime at the Up North cottage. I find myself outdoors more to enjoy bike trails that are slowly drying up for less-sloppy rides. And it’s the time when we host our annual Meetings + Events magazine Best of Michigan awards party.

So save the date — Wednesday, May 23 at Detroit’s Cobo Center. Party registration is now open online

This will be our 13th annual celebration recognizing the winners in our readers’ poll of Michigan’s top venues, organizations, vendors and more. We’re finalizing stories on these honorees now that will appear in our summer issue. So take a bow if you cast ballots for your favorites in the online competition earlier this year.

We’ll start the party around 6 p.m. in Cobo Center’s Portside Ballroom overlooking the Detroit River, complete with refreshments, food, flowers, entertainment and more provided by our event’s generous sponsors — Metro Detroit CVB, Discover the Blue, Great Lakes Bay CVB and Frankenmuth CVB — and event partners Viviano Flower Shop, Cobo Center, Emerald City Designs, Empty Canvas and Mike Staff Productions.

Behind the scenes leading up to this big night, the magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board also reviewed nominations and selected our annual Hall of Fame winners in seven categories — lifetime achievement, best special event planner, best meeting professional and best supplier, plus best up-and-coming nominees in those last three categories.

This elite group selected outstanding winners that you’ll enjoy hearing about during the Best of Michigan presentation. Their deliberations were packed with wonderful insights about the exceptional talent serving clients in every corner of our Great Lakes state.

These board members provide my magazine team with great advice and insider knowledge:

  • Traci Bahlman, director of sales, Holiday Market Catering
  • Paul Brown, director of sales and business management, Mission Point Resort
  • Greg DeSandy, director of sales and event services, Cobo Center
  • Larisa Draves, Draves and Associates, and executive director of the MACVB and Tourism Industry Coalition of Michigan
  • Mark Ephraim, owner, Wedding Officiant
  • Carol Galle, owner, Special D Events
  • Janet Korn, senior vice president, Experience Grand Rapids
  • Lindsay Krause, senior meeting and event planner, Special D Events
  • John Kuithe, regional director of operations, Hospitality Specialists
  • David C. McKnight, owner, Emerald City Designs
  • Kat Paye, executive director, National Cherry Festival
  • Ana Skidmore, principal, TwoFoot Creative

Say hi and thank them for helping to make the May 23 party a blast. See you there!

Warm-weather time becomes the season of festival queens in Michigan. It’s part of a much-anticipated local custom in many communities.

While visiting with our friends at Original Murdick’s Fudge, which opened in 1887 under a different name, owner Bobby Benser and I recently chatted about the annual Mackinac Island Fudge Festival held in August and how the Michigan Sugar Queen often is part of that sweet event.