August 2, 2014 at 1:00 am

48 Hours: The best of things to do in Metro Detroit

Get a sneak peek from the Michigan Renaissance Festival this weekend at Eastern Market. (Elizabeth Conley / The Detroit News)

The Big Three

1. Backpack Music Festival at Belle Isle: Help local kids go back to school with full backpacks and be entertained and dance at the same time. One stage will host talented kids like Urban Stringz and the musicians of Detroit School of Rock and Pop, and another stage will have world-renowned DJs Juan Atkins, Derrick Thompson and DJ Minx, plus Amp Fiddler, Britney Stoney and more. There’s also a bounce house, face-painting and storytelling. 8 a.m.-8 p.m. today. $20 donation, free for K-12. Sheds 19 and 20, Belle Isle, Detroit.

2. Arab and Chaldean Festival at Hart Plaza: Touted as the largest festival of its kind in North America, this family-friendly event includes history, fashion, food and music. Today-Sun. Free. Jefferson at Woodward, Detroit.

3. Michigan Renaissance Festival at Eastern Market: Two Michigan traditions are coming together this Sunday when Eastern Market hosts belly dancers and other live entertainment, mead and wine tasting and open pit barbeque. You can also grab some tickets to the upcoming Michigan Renaissance Festival, which kicks off Aug. 16 in Holly. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun. Free. 2934 Russell, Detroit.

Melody Baetens


p.m. Catch a soulful medley of jazz, folk and East African sounds performed by Ethiopian-born Meklit at the African World Festival Tune-up as part of summer entertainment at New Center Park. 9-11 tonight. Doors open at 8 p.m. Free. All ages welcome. 2998 W. Grand Blvd., corner of Second, Detroit. Visit

p.m. Join Canterbury Village as it celebrates “the King of Rock and Roll,” Elvis Presley, at the Elvis Fest at Canterbury Village. Kids are invited to take part in an Elvis costume competition with a $100 prize for the winner. 3-9 p.m. today. $10 advance, $12 at-the-gate. 2325 Joslyn Court, Lake Orion. Call (248) 391-1900 or visit

p.m. Be part of an outdoor celebration of site-specific performance and installation art in courtyards, along sidewalks, storefronts and gardens in and around Artist Village Detroit. This event promotes Sidewalk Festival of Performing Arts’ mission of promoting visual and performing arts in Detroit in public places. Don’t miss walking through the 30-foot fiber “Art Tunnel” and seeing a performance by the Mosaic Youth Theater. 3-9 p.m. today. $10 (suggested donation). 17340 Lahser, Detroit. Visit

p.m. Phil Johnson wants to entertain you when he combines hi stand-up comedy with guitar playing at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle. Johnson, who has appeared at the Sundance Film Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, uses talents to unveil dilemmas in his life and that of others. Also appearing will be Ben Hamilton, with Tonya Murray as emcee. 8, 10:30 p.m. $18. Call (248) 542-9900 or visit

p.m. Don’t miss Truck Warz, hosted by Michigan Truck Fest, at Gibraltar Trade Center. This event is open to all makes and models for entry in the Burnout Contest, Truck Show and Shine, or the Truck Tug-O-War. $7. Free for children younger than 12 with an adult. Call (586) 465-6440 or visit

Jocelynn Brown