Grosse Pointe War Memorial

Enjoy free lakeside outdoor concerts and family movies at SummerFest 2019

Michelle Martin
for The War Memorial
Concessions such as popcorn and candy, as well as favorite summertime foods and a full bar, are available for purchase at SummerFest.

The sights and sounds of summer will come together this month at The War Memorial’s annual family-friendly SummerFest festival, beginning July 22.

The free two-week festival offers double features of popular movies in The War Memorial’s Patriot Theater and concerts held on the venue’s lakefront lawn.

“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.”

Favorite summertime foods, including hamburgers, veggie burgers and hot dogs served by The War Memorial’s culinary team, will be available for purchase. A cash bar will also be on-site. Guests can bring their own picnic foods, but state law prohibits outside alcoholic beverages.

Movies will begin at 7pm on Mondays, and live performances will start at 7:30pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The War Memorial grounds will open at 6:30pm for guests.

SummerFest concerts will be held rain or shine at The War Memorial. In the case of inclement weather, concerts will be held in The Patriot Theater.

Week one: July 22-24

SummerFest kicks off Monday, July 22, with a double feature of “How to Train Your Dragon” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2.” The computer-animated action fantasy films take place in a mythical Viking world and have won a variety of awards and nominations.

The next day, Tuesday, July 23, the Michigan Opera Theatre Studio Artists will present “Summer Serenade,” featuring music from opera and Broadway stages. The company’s five resident studio artists are top emerging talents in opera today.

The first week of the festival ends on Wednesday, July 24, with a performance by The Ragbirds, a high-energy, world-inspired folk-rock band led by frontwoman Erin Zindle. The band will play a hybrid of indie-pop melodies, and guests are encouraged to get up and dance on the lawn!

Week two: July 29-31

The second week of the festival opens on Monday, July 29, with a double feature of the Disney movies “Brave” and “Moana.”

On Tuesday, July 30, Detroit’s premier dance and Motown band, Mainstreet Soul, will perform songs from artists including Adele, Stevie Wonder, Chicago, Aretha Franklin, Kool & the Gang, Michael Jackson, and Marvin Gaye. Mainstreet Soul has been featured at venues throughout metro Detroit.

The second week of SummerFest wraps up on Wednesday, July 31, with the Jimmy Buffett tribute band Air Margaritaville, playing laid-back Caribbean tunes. After a brief hiatus, Air Margaritaville is returning to SummerFest, where they have been a favorite for years.

Air Margaritaville returns to SummerFest at The War Memorial on July 31.

Encore performance: Aug. 6

But that’s not all.

SummerFest returns on Tuesday, Aug. 6, with a special encore performance by Dave Bennett and band. Bennett is a jazz clarinetist who also sings and plays electric guitar, piano, and drums. His music ranges from swing and early rockabilly, to country and Elvis Presley.

All concerts will be held rain or shine. In case of inclement weather, the concerts will be moved inside to The Patriot Theater. More information is available at

SummerFest is made possible in part by major sponsor Ascension St. John Hospital, stage sponsor Beaumont, patron sponsors George Johnson & Company and Mary and Ron Lamparter, and friend sponsors C.K. Corporation of Centerline and Captain Kool Ice Cream. Sponsorship opportunities are still available by contacting

The War Memorial, situated on the grounds of the historic Alger Estate in Grosse Pointe Farms, offers a wide range of programs and events. In addition to SummerFest, The War Memorial offers Campville USA — a summertime favorite for kids and teens.

Upcoming camps include Mad Science, July 8-12 and July 22-26; Code Warriors, July 15-19; Roblox Rebels, July 15-19; Art and Design, July 16-18; 4th Wall Theater — Acting Camp, July 29-Aug. 2; Self-Defense and Safety Camp for Kids, Aug. 5-9; and Fortnite Fanatics, Aug. 12-16.

Other summer activities for children and young people include Kid’s Daycation — free movies on July 25, Aug. 1 and Aug. 22; Self-Defense for Kids, July 24; Babysitter Safety, Aug. 10; and Protocol and Etiquette Intelligence, July 20 and Aug. 10.

For a complete list of summer camps and activities, visit