Fall is filled with vibrant color and magnificent beauty. So much so that we tend to fall in love with our great state all over again each Autumn. Apple cider, cinnamon sugar donuts and pumpkin spice lattes are the perfect complement to a fall color tour or football tailgate. 

As the state’s largest energy provider for more than 135 years, we have been powering our fall Friday night lights and apple presses since they first connected to the electric grid.  

Whether heading to a football game, orchard or just strolling a local trail, a new generation of Michiganders are cruising the Mitten in planet-friendly electric vehicles thanks to hundreds of charging stations throughout the Lower Peninsula

If you’re eager to see what all the fuss is about, our PowerMIDrive team will be at various events sharing details about our EV charging incentives and special rates during National Drive Electric Week, Sept. 22-Oct. 1.  

And if you’re like most Michiganders, you love your fall family trips and traditions. From the first day of school pic to apple picking, cider mills and haunted hayrides, start planning your fall getaway today with the Pure Michigan Fall Trip Ideas. 

Proud to Wear the Colors  

For many, fall colors are orange, red, yellow and brown. For us at Consumers Energy, it’s blue and green all year round.  

Regardless of the palette you pick, there are many ways to celebrate the season at festivals and events often powered by Consumers Energy and supported through partnerships with nonprofits and local communities.  

SmartArt Takeover in Grand Rapids 

A signature Michigan fall event with an energy boost is ArtPrize 2.0, Sept. 14-Oct. 1, in Grand Rapids. Hundreds of artists compete for cash prizes during the 18-day festival at venues throughout downtown. Any artist working in any medium from anywhere in the world can participate for $400,000 in prizes. Visitors can view art for free. 

This year marks the 10th Anniversary of SmartArt, which stands for Students Making Art with a Renewable Theme. Consumers Energy partners with Grand Rapids Public Schools and ArtPrize 2.0 to recognize high school students for their creativity. The art highlights energy efficiency and energy waste reduction along with sustainability and renewable energy efforts important to Consumers Energy and our Michigan neighbors .

The Top 10 Finalists will have pictures of their art on a larger banner on a downtown building at Fulton St. and Market Ave., near Van Andel Arena. Winners were announced Sept. 17 

Daniel Lopez was named winner of the first SmartArt competition in 2013. He received a $1,000 scholarship that he used to attend Grand Rapids Community College.  

“Winning the SmartArt competition was one of the biggest accomplishments I had while in high school,” Lopez said during a SmartArt award ceremony in 2021. “I was taken by surprise when I heard my name being called out. Seeing my painting being displayed on a banner for everyone to see felt amazing. It really reaffirmed the encouragement and comments I received from family, friends, and teachers about my artistic abilities.”

Happy Trails 

Fall is a perfect time for a hike, walk, run or bike ride on one of the many trails across Michigan. Pure Michigan shares 15 Trails for a Relaxing Fall Day. And we’re happy to say, the Consumers Energy Foundation has played an important role in keeping them safe and accessible. 

The Dragon Trail at our Hardy Dam in Newaygo and Mecosta counties is a premier adventure sports destination providing world-class mountain biking, hiking, running experiences and more. The trail, funded in part with a $200,000 Foundation grant, offers a 29-mile trail system located between Hardy and Rogers dams. The trail features 20 footbridges, including three suspension bridges so visitors can navigate deep ravines and rugged countryside and 13 scenic overlooks offering spectacular views. 

Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance works alongside hundreds of communities and trail users around the state to offer many resources and maps. Find the perfect land trail in the Lower or Upper Peninsula. The Great Lake-to-Lake Trails Route #1 travels across the state from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron. Several trails across this route have been supported through grants from the Consumers Energy Foundation, including the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail and the Falling Waters Trail in Jackson. 

Michigan also is for paddlers. In addition to paved and unpaved trails for non-motorists, Michigan also offers more than 3,000 miles of trails on the Great Lakes, inland lakes and rivers for canoes, kayaks or stand-up paddleboards. Paddlers in Northwest Michigan can explore the Chain of Lakes Water Trail which travels more than 100 miles through lakes and interconnected rivers. Keep your eyes peeled for signage along the way, made possible through a grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation, showcasing information on topics including aquatic invasive species, loon protection and water quality. Learn more at Michigan Water Trails. 

The 8th Annual Paddle Antrim Festival, Sept. 14-16, in Antrim County is a great way to experience the Chain of Lakes Water Trail and the charming lakeside communities of Ellsworth, Central Lake, Bellaire, Alden and Elk Rapids. 

Your Michigan fall adventure awaits. Safe travels!