Pure Michigan January 2016 Events Roundup

January is just around the corner and we couldn’t be more excited to start the New Year with everything happening throughout Pure Michigan in 2016. From winter festivals to snowshoeing (we hope!), the first month of the year is filled with events that everyone can enjoy. For a full list of events in Michigan, visit michigan.org/events.

Week of January 1-4

Shen Yun | Dance & Martial Arts Performance
January 1-3, Detroit
For 5,000 years, divine culture flourished in the land of China. Humanity’s treasure was nearly lost, but through breathtaking music and dance,Shen Yun is bringing back this glorious culture. Shen Yun brings the profound spirit of this lost civilization to life on stage with unrivaled artistic mastery. Every dance movement, every musical note, makes this a stunning visual and emotional experience you won’t find anywhere else.

Shoe Year Hike: Lantern Lit Ski and Snowshoe Event
January 2, Ludington
Start the New Year with a Shoe Year’s Hike at Ludington State Park. Cross country ski, snowshoe or hike the lantern lit trails to kick off your new year’s resolutions or just enjoy some outdoor fun with your family and friends. If you’re looking to participate, there are 40 pairs of snowshoes that will be lent out first-come, first-serve. Make sure you dress warmly in layers when attending! Along the trail, a campfire will be available where visitors can warm themselves and enjoy a hot beverage. The park will be hosting additional lantern lit ski and snowshoe events on January 9, 23, and February 6. 

bridal

21st Annual Downtown Bridal Show
January 3, Traverse City
Did you just get engaged? Attend this bridal show to help plan your wedding! Over 35 vendors will come together to showcase all things wedding at the City Opera House in Downtown Traverse City. A wedding fashion show will take place and admission to the event is free!

Week of January 4-11

Moscow Festival Ballet: Romeo & Juliet and The Sleeping Beauty
January 8, East Lansing
This renowned company from Moscow brings two of the most romantic Russian ballets to the stage. Romeo and Juliet is Shakespeare’s classic tale of young star-crossed lovers, featuring the music of Tchaikovsky and the choreography of Petipa. The evening also includes selections from another timeless classic, the fairytale The Sleeping Beauty, also set to music by Tchaikovsky. Both performances feature exquisite costumes and lush scenery in the grand ballet style. Founded by legendary dancer Sergei Radchenko, this acclaimed company features leading dancers from across Russia.

Plymouth Ice FestivalPLymouth ice fest
January 8-10
Downtown Plymouth is hosting the 34th annual Ice Festival! The Plymouth Ice Festival has a long-standing history of being the largest, free ice festival in Michigan and remains dedicated to the art of ice carving.

Winter Walking Tour with The Kalamazoo House
January 9
In partnership with The Kalamazoo House, the historic bed and breakfast built in 1878, guests can enjoy an overnight stay, a walking tour of three breweries and breakfast all in one stop. You can visit Bell’s Eccentric Cafe, Gonzo’s Bigg Dogg Brewing Co. and Tibbs Brewing Co. where you can receive either a full pour or a series of samples at each stop. You can also learn more about Kalamazoo’s growing craft beer industry and its role in Michigan’s rise as one of the top beer destinations in the world.

22nd Annual Downtown Chili Cook-Off
January 9, Traverse City
The annual Downtown Chili Cook-Off in Traverse City brings together some of the area’s finest restaurants and their creative chili recipes for a spicy showdown. The restaurants will compete in a variety of categories including 1, 2 and 3 Alarm, White, Seafood, No Bean, Ethnic, and more. It should be a delicious time!

Winter Festival and Brunch
January 10, Hastings
Bring the family out to Pierce Cedar Creek Institute to enjoy the winter landscape! A number of winter-themed activities are scheduled throughout the day. Snowshoe rental, family-friendly crafts, and a warm fire will be available in the Visitor Center. Trails and the sledding hill will be open from dawn to dusk. The brunch program will feature “Stormy the Magician” performing illusions for the whole family. End the day fulfilling a New Year’s resolution by getting outside and enjoying a snowshoe hike and taking in the winter sights and sounds.

Week of January 11-18

Wine About Winter
January 15, Grand Haven
What better place to “wine” away those winter blues than at the annual Wine About Winter? Each January, a collection of businesses in Grand Haven’s Centertown and Downtown districts invite the public to sample wines and check out art from local artists. As guests sip on samples of Shiraz and Chardonnay, area artists offer talks about their works, all of which are displayed at the various venues as part of Wine About Winter. Tasting packages will be available for purchase in the fall 2015 at various Main Street Merchant locations. 

mushing

Fort Custer Recreation Area: Intro to Mushing
January 16, Augusta
Are you interested in learning about dog sledding? Members of the Southwest Michigan Husky Club are providing introductory classes that will go over several different outdoor activities owners can enjoy with their dogs including: Mushing, Skijoring, Bikejoring, and tandem snowshoeing with dogs.

Beer and Bluegrass | Concert
January 16, Kalamazoo
Kalamazoo State Theatre is teaming up with Short’s Brewing Company out of Bellaire, Michigan, to bring you a bluegrass event like no other! Mark your calendars and join them for “Beer and Bluegrass” at Kalamazoo State Theatre! They will be bringing you four musical performances from Grammy award winning Bluegrass artists such as the Del McCoury Band, Jeff Austin Band, Don Julin and the Billy Strings Trio. Short’s Brewing Company will be onsite for a total tap takeover, featuring their top seasonal brews.

Kalkaska Winterfest
January 16-17
Kalkaska Winterfest has been a Michigan classic since 1965. It is the largest sprint sled dog race in the northern lower 48 states. The race will be a qualifying race for the IFSS world championships in 2017. There will be sled dog racing from 10, 6, 4, 3 and 2 dog teams, along with skijoring. Other activities include IWPA dog weight pull, craft show, silent auction and food. Make sure to check it out!

North American International Auto Show
January 16-24, Detroit
With an anticipated 800,000 visitors from around the world, the North American International Auto Show in Detroit continues to be among the most prestigious auto shows in the world. See highlights from last year’s show here.

Week of January 18- 25

Saline Winterfest 2016
January 22-23
You have to come to Winterfest 2016! Why? Because everything about this exciting event will be different this year. They’ll have indoor and outdoor activities fun for the whole family, from kids to grandparents, from mild to wild! More details will be released as the event nears. 

Noquemanon Ski Marathon
January 22-24, Marquette
The Noquemanon Ski Marathon, locally referred to as “The Noque”, is a point-to-point cross-country ski race held in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan during the last weekend of January. Starting from Ishpeming and ending in Marquette, the race showcases the scenery and terrain characteristic of Upper Michigan. The variety of events include Classic Freestyle, Team Relay, Junior Noque, Adaptive Snowshoe, Snow bike, Skijor Long and Short Distances.

203rd Anniversary Commemoration of the Battles of the River Raisin
January 23, Monroe
Join the many participants from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Canada as we remember the Battle of the River Raisin and Massacre that took place 203 years ago – January 22 & 23, 1813. The 203rd Anniversary Commemoration of the Battles of the River Raisin will take place on Saturday January 23, 2016. There will be a tactical demonstration battleground, and commemoration ceremonies.

Bigfoot Snowshoe Racebigfoot snowrace
January 23, Traverse City
Come join the Bigfoot Snowshoe Race! The course is a super hilly off trail run with plenty of logs to jump and branches to duck. If there’s no snow, bring your trail shoes, the race goes on no matter what the conditions. Bigfoot is the Midwest qualifier for the National Championship Snowshoe race.

Winter Delights: A Festival of Wine, Food, and Music
January 30, Portage
Winter Delights will be an evening of wine tasting with the best regional wineries, delicious food, and live music by the LMC Jazz Combo. Admission includes 10 wine tastings, $10 in food samplings, commemorative festival glass, and entertainment. Designated driver tickets include festival glass, two non-alcoholic drinks, $10 in food samplings, and entertainment.

Week of January 25-31

Thrill On the Hill
January 29-30, Buchanan
Bring your family and come tubing on an 800-foot long hill. The City of Buchanan closes its main thoroughfare and invites you to use their tubes to fly down Front Street’s hill! The road is closed for tubing only and happens just once a year. There will be tubing fun, games, contests, great food and a winter-land playground for the youngsters. Frosty and Rudolph will show up to frolic with kids and grownup kids alike. It is sure to be a family-friendly time!

Pure Ludington BRRRewFestbrewfest
January 30
Back by popular demand, the second annual Pure Ludington BRRRewFest is bigger and better, with 30-plus brewers from throughout Michigan showcasing their best for an afternoon of brews, live music and more at Ludington’s new community garden. Tickets include a 5oz. commemorative sampling glass plus six drinks tokens for sampling.

Snowfest
January 30, Muskegon
The Greater Muskegon Jaycees “Snowfest” is happening in downtown Muskegon. Enjoy many events such as the Battle of the Bowls, Kidsfest, Snow Volleyball, Cornhole, Broomball and much more! 

Winter Snow Party
January 30, Portage
The Winter Snow Party is a great opportunity to enjoy time with your family and friends, all while embracing the white wonders of Michigan outdoors. There will be many activities to enjoy such as sledding and a snowman building contest! Build, decorate and bring your own cardboard sled and build and dress up the biggest and fanciest snowman. Prizes will be awarded for best in show for both contests as well as the fastest cardboard sled! When you need a warm respite from the activities enjoy a bonfire with hot chocolate and coffee available for purchase. 

What January events are you looking forward to most? 

Four Ways to Experience Arts and Culture in Grand Rapids

If you’re looking for unique arts and culture events, a visit to Grand Rapids is in order. From LiveArts, an extraordinary, collaborative stage production, to the amazing beauty of the new Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, you’ll want to catch everything that’s happening in Grand Rapids this spring.

Here are four ways to experience the arts on Michigan’s west side from Experience Grand Rapids. 

1. LiveArts

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 1.27.00 PMFor starters, you won’t want to miss LiveArts, a multi-media extravaganza about the vital role arts plays in our lives. LiveArts takes place at Van Andel Arena on April 24 and is a unique collaboration between the Grand Rapids Symphony, Symphony Chorus, Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus, Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra, Grand Rapids Ballet, Opera Grand Rapids, and Broadway Grand Rapids.

The performance will include 1,500 performers and feature highlights from familiar music, like Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” and Beethoven’s “Choral” Symphony No. 9, as well as dancing, visual effects, and more.

As you watch and listen, you’ll be drawn into the story of a young boy who discovers his passion for the cello and follow his journey as he attempts to master the instrument. Instead of taking place entirely on a traditional stage, LiveArts is creatively using multiple levels in the production.

Another unique component, says Roger Nelson, Vice President and COO for the Symphony, is the addition of visual elements. “In an ordinary concert presentation of the symphony, we ask people to use their imagination,” he says. “This show is different because in addition to hearing the music and watching the performers, people will see coordinated lighting, graphical images, and larger-than-life images of the performers.”

You can click here to read more about LiveArts in our first post on the event. Or, click here to buy tickets for LiveArts.

2. DisArt Festival

For 2 weeks, from April 10 – April 25, venues throughout Grand Rapids will host an international exhibition of artwork by artists with disabilities for the DisArt Festival. The 16-day festival will feature innovative work by over 35 international artists, with the aim of changing public perceptions about disability and connecting people through art.

DisArt logo[1]Head to the GRAM at 6PM on April 10th to hear the Curator Talk that kicks off the DisArt Festival, then join the fun at other kick-off events that will take place throughout the evening at a number of venues around Grand Rapids. During the festival, you’ll have the opportunity to view a film festival, a fashion show, several cultural education events, and dance performances as well as more traditional art exhibits. Check here for a complete list of DisArt Festival events.

When you visit the DisArts Festival you’ll also have the opportunity to see the U.S. premiere of Art of the Lived Experiment, which will be on display at three downtown locations: the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM), Kendall College of Art and Design, and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art (UICA). Art of the Lived Experiment was curated by artist Aaron Williamson for the U.K’s DaDaFest International 2014 and includes a range of artworks, from sculpture and painting to photography and ceramics, by artists from around the world. The collection will remain in Grand Rapids through July 31st

Another exhibition you can see both during and post-festival is artist Riva Lehrer’s The Risk Pictures. Lehrer’s work has been displayed at the United Nations and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, among other locations. Visitors to Grand Rapids can see The Risk Pictures at The Richard App Gallery from April 11 – through June 30th. M

For more information, visit the DisArts Festival website.

3. The Discovery of King Tut Exhibit

For an entirely different kind of experience, check out the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s super cool exhibit, The Discovery of King Tut, which opens May 16 and runs through January 2016.

Photo courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Museum

Photo courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Museum

King Tut (short for Tutankhamen) became pharaoh when he was only 8-years old and died mysteriously about 11 years later. For unknown reasons, his name was erased from Egyptian monuments and he was all but forgotten until British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered his tomb in 1922.

Two parts comprise the exhibition at the Grand Rapids Public Museum: First, you’ll be transported, via media, thousands of years back in time to the world that existed when King Tut ruled. Next, you’ll learn how Howard Carter discovered his tomb all those years later.

The second part of the exhibition is a reproduction of the three incredible burial chambers discovered by Carter. The exhibit uses scientifically produced reconstructions of the chambers and their contents, so you’ll essentially see what Howard Carter saw when he made the discovery.

You can read more details and find ticket information on the GRPM website.

4. The Grand Opening of The Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens

Photo courtesy of Dean Van Dis

Photo courtesy of Dean Van Dis

If you’ve been to beautiful Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, you’re not alone. With more than 550,000 visitors annually, it’s a destination that attracts people from all over the world to see sculptures by artists like Rodin and Moore, explore the latest gallery exhibits, play in the magnificent children’s gardens, enjoy Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory (wonderful anytime of year but especially nice to visit in the winter), take in a summer concert, or stroll through the bountiful outdoor gardens and—one of my kids favorites—Michigan’s Farm Garden.

Beginning June 13, 2015 visitors can add the 8 ½ acre Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden to their list of must-see exhibits.

The Japanese garden represents the culmination of 3+ years of hard work, begun in 2012 following the initial idea proposed by Fred Meijer in 2009. Designed by Hoichi Kurisu, president and founder of Kurisu International, Inc., the Japanese garden is in an ideal setting that includes elevation changes in addition to a variety of horticultural elements, including scenic bridges and waterfalls. As you walk through and explore the new Japanese garden, you can expect to find tranquility and simplicity in its beauty.

Photo courtesy of Dean Van Dis

Photo courtesy of Dean Van Dis

In a departure from traditional Japanese gardens, the Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden will also contain sculptures, in keeping with Frederik Meijer Gardens’ dual mission of horticulture and sculpture. To honor the essence of the Japanese garden tradition and philosophy, these contemporary sculptures will offer thoughtful and thought-providing aesthetics amidst the naturally peaceful setting.

For more information on the grand opening of The Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden, click here.

So many events, all in one place: it’s time to experience Grand Rapids!

Six Fascinating Artifacts to See at the Michigan Historical Museum

A day spent exploring a Michigan museum can cure your cabin fever in a hurry! Guest blogger Mary Dettloff from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources give us some inside information on what you’ll find at the Michigan Historical Museum this winter and beyond. 

Michigan Historical Museum

Michigan Historical Museum

The end of the U.S. Civil War, the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the economic boom in post-war Michigan – these facets of American history are all examined in a new special exhibit at the Michigan Historical Museum called “Conceived in Liberty.”

The exhibit takes its themes from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It opens with the Battle of Gettysburg and follows Michigan soldiers through the end of the war. There are stories of cavalrymen in battle, engineers and mechanics building bridges, Native Americans serving in Company K of the First Michigan Sharpshooters and Michigan’s 102nd U.S. Colored Troops.

The exhibit then turns to the war’s end and the following two decades. It includes artifacts associated with Lincoln’s assassination, stories of Michigan’s economic expansion and diversity, and illustrations of equality and inequality following the war. The final segment, which includes the Civil War flag exhibit area, focuses on how we have remembered the war.

Some of the special artifacts included in the exhibit are:

1. An 1863 newspaper from Vicksburg, Mississippi, printed on the back of wallpaper because there was no newsprint available due to the Union siege.

2. A rosette from the casket of Abraham Lincoln. Dell Root Howard, who graduated from Coldwater High School in 1876, donated the rosette to the Coldwater Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which in turn donated to the Michigan Historical Museum in 1941. It is unknown how Howard came to possess the rosette. She was 8 years old the year Lincoln was assassinated. An illustration of Lincoln lying in state shows a very similar rosette as part of the casket presentation.ConceivedInLiberty-20141003-5273_rosette_small

3. An invitation received by U.S. Senator Zachariah Chandler of Michigan to attend President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral services at the White House on April 19, 1865. The card is on loan from the Library of Congress.

4.  A lady’s jacket said to be worn by a Michigan resident who was at Ford Theater the night President Lincoln was shot there.

ConceivedInLiberty-20141003-5269_jacket_small

5. A headband created by Michigan Indians from Company K of the First Michigan Sharpshooters for their commander, Colonel Charles V. DeLand.

6.  A tobacco pouch carried by abolitionist and women’s rights advocate Sojourner Truth, who lived in Battle Creek after the war. She traveled to Kansas in 1879 in support of the “Exodusters,” blacks who fled the south after federal troops were withdrawn at the end of Reconstruction.

Sojourner Truth Tobacco Pouch

Family programming related to exhibit is being offered through the summer of 2015. For more information on the popular “Second Saturdays” program, go to www.michigan.gov/museum.

The Michigan Historical Museum is located at 702 W. Kalamazoo St. near downtown Lansing. Weekdays during the school year, the museum is busy hosting students from across the state on educational field trips. Weekends and summer months are less crowded. The museum is an easy drive from the Grand Rapids and metro Detroit regions.

The museum and visitor parking are on the north side of Kalamazoo Street, two blocks east of M. L. King Jr. Boulevard. Weekend parking is free. General admission fees for the Michigan Historical Museum, which include the special exhibit, are $6 for adults 18-64, children through age 5 are free, youth ages 6-17 are $2, and seniors 65 and up are $4. Annual passes are available, and there is no admission charge on Sundays.

Have you ever made a visit to the Michigan Historical Museum? 

Mary Dettloff is senior advisor for communications for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and a native of Northern Michigan.