SummerFest Features Free Concerts and Movies on the Lake

Over seven days, The War Memorial’s lakefront grounds will be transformed into a festival of free summertime fun with family-friendly movies and captivating live performances.

SummerFest is The War Memorial’s festival of family-friendly concerts and movies; concerts are held on the lawn of the historic Alger Estate overlooking Lake St. Clair, and movies are shown in the beautifully renovated Patriot Theater. All events are free and open to the public; SummerFest runs for two weeks on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays beginning July 22. A special encore performance featuring Dave Bennett and band will occur on Tuesday, August 6.

The War Memorial grounds open at 6:30pm for all events; double-feature movies begin at 7pm on Mondays and live performances begin at 7:30pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or picnic blankets. Boaters are also welcomed to experience SummerFest from the water.

“The War Memorial’s summertime festival of family-friendly fun is a highlight of our programming, filled with live performances and films guaranteed to inspire,” said War Memorial President and CEO Charles Burke. “Seeing the Metro-Detroit community come together on the grounds of the historic Alger Estate, enjoying the simple pleasure of summer on the lake, reminds us just how special a place The War Memorial is; our SummerFest motto is, ‘Our backyard becomes your backyard,’ and it’s truly an honor to produce this festival.”

The War Memorial’s culinary team, led by Executive Chef Natalia Tarnavsky, will provide restaurant-quality food and beverage services for the seven-day festival. This year’s menu features an array of classic Americana fare, including hamburgers, hot dogs, black bean burgers, and “Walkin’ Tacos.” Captain Kool Ice Cream, a SummerFest sponsor, will be onsite offering delicious desserts for purchase. A full bar, including soda, beer, wine, and liquor will also be available to enhance attendees’ experience. Guests are welcome to bring their own picnic to the festival, but by Michigan law, no outside alcoholic beverages may be brought to SummerFest.

“It’s such a treat to craft the menu for The War Memorial’s SummerFest! It’s a privilege to know that, in some small way, the food we offer is helping to create summertime memories for our guests,” said War Memorial Executive Chef Natalia Tarnavsky. “We hope to provide the magic of a classic American picnic — with a little bit of that War Memorial flare cooked in!”

SummerFest is made possible through the generous support of our sponsors, including major sponsor Ascension St. John Hospital, stage sponsor Beaumont, patron sponsors George Johnson and Company and Mary and Ron Lamparter, and friend sponsors C.K. Corporation of Centerline and Captain Kool Ice Cream.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Contact The War Memorial’s Department of Institutional Advancement at 313.332.4075 or email for full details.

The War Memorial is located at 32 Lake Shore Drive in Grosse Pointe Farms. For more information and to view the complete lineup, visit or call 313.881.7511.

Complete Listing of SummerFest Programming

All movies are licensed through Swank Motion Pictures.

Week One

Monday, July 22 – Movie double-feature: How to Train Your Dragon 1 & 2

Tuesday, July 23 – Michigan Opera Theatre Studio Artists: Summer Serenade
The five resident artists of Michigan Opera Theatre Studio, tenor Michael Day, soprano Monica Dewey, Baritone Harry Greenleaf, bass Erik Van Heyningen, and mezzo soprano Briana Elyse Hunter, represent some of the most exciting emerging talent in opera today. Coming to Detroit from all different areas of the country, these young opera professionals gain valuable experience through myriad performance opportunities in main stage and community productions and hone their skills through master classes and training with an array of world class professionals, guest artists, and coaches.

Wednesday, July 24 – The Ragbirds
Led by dynamic, multi-instrumentalist front-woman Erin Zindle, The Ragbirds create music that is equally danceable, intelligent and vulnerable – a rare combination in an increasingly marketing-driven industry. Since 2005 they have gathered and maintained a passionate, grassroots fan base by continually reinventing themselves with an ever-evolving sound, while remaining rooted in the high-energy, world-inspired folk-rock that they have become known for. With a genre-bending hybrid of indie-pop melodies, global-infused beats, rock guitar riffs and folk sensibilities, this is music that comes to life on stage. Every concert leaves each listener in a higher place than when it began. The Ragbirds are constant travelers, impressed upon by a global consciousness, with lyrics that point to the daily paradox of intentionally cultivating hope in the midst of a crazed and jaded world.

Week Two

Monday, July 29 – Movie double-feature: Brave and Moana

Tuesday, July 30 – Mainstreet Soul
Detroit's premier dance and Motown band, Mainstreet Soul returns to our stage with an energetic and wide-ranging array of musical hits sure to please young and formerly-young alike! Everyone will jam to songs from Adele, Stevie Wonder, Chicago, Pharrell, Tower of Power, Aretha Franklin, Christina Aguilera, Michael Jackson, Kool and The Gang, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Sly and The Family Stone, and more. Mainstreet Soul's powerful vocals, entertaining musicians and an incredible horn section have been featured in venues across the Metro Detroit area including MotorCity Casino Hotel, MGM Grand Detroit and Caesars Windsor.

Wednesday, July 31 – Air Margaritaville
Enjoy the laid-back yet exhilarating Caribbean vibe of Air Margaritaville, a beloved staple of SummerFest for years, returning to our stage after a brief hiatus! A Jimmy Buffett tribute band, Air Margaritaville is sure to please “Parrotheads” young and old!

Special SummerFest Encore Performance
Tuesday, August 6—Jazz Concert: Dave Bennett and band
Bennett is a clarinet virtuoso who plays electric guitar, piano, drums, and vocalizes. Saluting swing to rock, he covers music from the Swing Era to early Rockabilly and Country, to Elvis Presley and more. Leading his Tribute to Benny Goodman, Dave has been a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall with The New York Pops (2013) and has played the show with 35 other US and Canadian orchestras including Nashville, Detroit, Rochester, Omaha, Toronto, Vancouver, Orlando, San Antonio, Jacksonville, Portland, Oregon, Portland, Maine, and Houston.

About The War Memorial

The War Memorial, located on the shores of Lake Saint Clair in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, is a legacy-filled institution with a reenergized determination to emerge as a regional driver of arts, learning, patriotism, hospitality and connectivity. Situated on the grounds of the historic Alger Estate, The War Memorial serves an estimated 250,000 individuals with over 3,000 functions annually, including programs to honor veterans, engagement experiences for adults and children, community events and celebrations, and premier hospitality services. With new programming and innovative leadership, The War Memorial is a unique, dynamic and forward-thinking hub for southeast Michigan with a mission to be a patriotic, cultural, and community leader.

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Media Contacts

Jessi Kaminski
Manager of Communications and Programming

Photography Assets

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