Pure Michigan December 2014 Events Roundup

The holiday season brings concerts, festivals and community lighting celebrations that make us remember why we love the snowy season and are proud to call the Great Lakes State home. Pull out your calendar and discover some of the many events that are happening in Michigan throughout the month of December. For a full list of events in Pure Michigan, visit michigan.org/events.

Week of December 1 – 7

detroit-zoo-wild-lightsParade of Lights
December 2, Holland
Santa arrives in downtown Holland during the annual Parade of Lights escorted by bands, floats, vehicles and individuals…all decked out in sparkling holiday lights! Over 50 different entries will illuminate the streets of downtown during this brilliant procession. At the end of the parade, Santa will take the time to greet his fans, both young and old!

Run Through the Lights
December 4, Kalamazoo
Make your way to the west side of the state for a festive run or walk through the holiday lights of downtown Kalamazoo. Run Through the Lights is an untimed, non-competitive, fun run and everyone is invited. Race starts and ends at Bronson Park, registration required.

Mid-American Conference Championship
December 5, Detroit
2014 Mid-American Conference Championship will match the champions of the East and West divisions in one of the nation’s most underrated athletic conferences. This annual game played at Ford Field offers the excitement of a championship game right in the heart of the city. Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University and Western Michigan University are all Mid-American Conference programs.

Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong Concert
December 5, Ann Arbor
Get a jazzy start to the weekend by joining Vincent York’s Jazzistry for a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong! You’ll enjoy classics such as “Oh, Lady Be Good” and “What a Wonderful World.” Vincent York’s Jazzistry, an Ann Arbor based nonprofit, uses live performance to teach the story of jazz and its role in American history and culture to students in Michigan schools.

Reindog Parade
December 6, Saint Joseph
winter-runnersCostumed pets and their owners will escort Santa into downtown to kick off the holiday season. The annual Reindog Holiday Parade features dressed up pets and their owners in a variety of holiday garb. Be prepared to see all kinds of costumes from “Santa Bernards” to “Reindeer Rotweilers” – this is definitely a must-see event. The parade will start at 4pm and will also feature Santa’s arrival to downtown St. Joseph.

Farmland 5K European Style XC Challenge
December 6, Traverse City
Are you really tough? Rain, sleet, snow, or shine – this event is for you! Enjoy the natural challenge of running or biking in early December (event to be held no matter the weather). Traverse over grass or snow and ice, wooded dirt trails, and farmland running terrain. Post event food and festive awards celebration.

Week of December 8 – 14

Woodward Wonderland
Detroit, December 11-14
Woodward Wonderland puts a uniquely Detroit spin on the holiday season, paying tribute to the metro area’s many rich holiday traditions through original short plays and exuberant song and dance. The play takes audiences of all ages on a nostalgic theatrical journey to magical Motor City destinations like Toyland on the 12th floor of the old J.L. Hudson’s department store and Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Langsford Men’s Chorus Christmas Concert
December 12, Berkley
Enjoy the sounds and spirit of Christmas with the Langsford Men’s Chorus. Come hear this internationally acclaimed men’s chorus present their Christmas Celebration Concert at Our Lady of La Salette Roman Catholic Church, in Berkley, Michigan. This outstanding male chorus will perform a broad repertoire of classical, contemporary, and traditional Christmas favorites, all celebrating the most joyous season of the year!

Farm by Lantern Light
December 12-13, Grayling
Wellington Farm is now accepting reservations for what some consider “The most unique Christmas Experience in Northern Michigan.” Billed as “The Farm By Lantern Light” the full evening activity includes a wagon ride, a visit to the historic farm and a full length play all rolled into one “The Farm By Lantern Light” will take place on December 12, 13, and 19, 20. During the course of the evening, participants will board a wagon and be transported back in time to the year of 1932. A wonderful family event!

Tinsel & Treasures
December 12-14, Northville
The award winning 35th Annual Tinsel & Treasures Holiday Market, held in downtown Northville, is a juried, indoor, fine art and handcrafted holiday gift market featuring more than 75 artists and craftspeople from around the country.

Tyler Oakley’s Slumber Party Comedy Show
December 14, Kalamazoo
Armed with a quick wit and fabulous hair, Tyler Oakley has won the hearts of over five million YouTube subscribers with his weekly videos. Now, Tyler is packing up his living room and hitting the road for his first-ever live tour! Tyler’s Slumber Party is a one-of-a-kind live experience packed full of behind-the-scenes stories, interactive games – and lots of surprises. Get ready to be slayed. Please note this isn’t really a slumber party…you will have to go home after the show!

Week of December 15 – 21

Monday Night Raw
December 15, Detroit
World Wrestling Entertainment’s Monday Night Raw will return to Joe Louis Arena for the first time in two and a half years for a LIVE broadcast on Monday, December 15. The December roster will include appearances by all of your favorite WWE Superstars live in action including John Cena, Seth Rollins, The Big Show, Kane, Bray Wyatt & The Wyatt Family, Dean Ambrose, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro, The Usos, The Miz and many more!

Mega 80′s
December 19, Saginaw
The Mega 80′s is returning to The Red Room! If you love 80′s music, then you cannot miss this event! Strap on your platform shoes and boogie over to Saginaw for an 80’s lover’s dream. This is a ticketed event.

Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Animal Show
December 20, Kalamazoo
Buy sell or trade a variety of reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and other exotic pets! Come see some crawling and wiggling friends that would love to come home with you or might make a perfect holiday gift for that animal lover you know.

Photos for Pure MichiganHoliday Nights in Greenfield Village
December 5-27, Dearborn
Take a lantern-lit journey into a living snow globe filled with live music, skating, fireworks and tons of winter wonder during America’s premier celebration of the season. December 5-7, 12-14, 18-23, and 26-27.

Annie |Theatre Performance
December 16-21, East Lansing
Leapin’ Lizards! The world’s best-loved musical returns! Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin, this production of Annie will be a brand-new incarnation of the iconic original. With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie is determined to find her parents, who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of an orphanage run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan. With the help of the other orphans, Annie escapes to the wondrous world of New York. Featuring book and score by Tony Award® winners Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, Annie includes such unforgettable songs as It’s the Hard-knock Life, Easy Street, and the eternal anthem of optimism, Tomorrow.

Week of December 22 – 28, 29, 30 & 31

2014 Quick Lane Bowl
December 26, Detroit
The Detroit Lions are partnering with Quick Lane Tire and Auto to host the first annual Quick Lane Bowl game that will feature a match-up between the Big Ten and ACC conferences and will be played at Ford Field! Head to Detroit to see some great college football action on hometown gridiron. The University of Michigan and Michigan State University are Big Ten Conference Programs.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Lantern Lit Ski and Snowshoe Trail
December 27, Ontonagon
Nearly 80 old-fashioned kerosene lanterns will illuminate a 1-mile trail for a unique and memorable experience. The ski trail is track-set for classic skiers, while snowshoers can make their own trail adjacent to the lighted loop. The ski trail has an “easy” difficulty rating; however, skiing or snowshoeing at night is always a challenge.

Michigan Historical Museum – History Gamers
December 27, Lansing
Whatever your age, come over and play! Today, you can try your hand at historic games from jacks to hopscotch and investigate historic toys and board games. New games are featured at each program. History Gamers is included with museum admission.

Bald Mountain Recreation Area – Krazy Snow RC Fly
December 31, Lake Orion
Just when you thought the New Year couldn’t get any more exciting, how about RC flying in the snow? Take-offs and landings with the flakes flying, cold winds and piles of snow on the field make it even more challenging than usual. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult

New Year’s Eve Anchor Drop
December 31, Port Huron
Bring in the New Year in the city of Port Huron! It’s a New Year’s Eve countdown party with a maritime twist. A lighted anchor will drop from the top of the 150-foot McMorran Tower at midnight! Live music, beer tent, free open skating, and much more.

Month-long Events

GiraffeWild Lights
November 22-December 31, Royal Oak
See the zoo in a whole new light! Experience the magic of the Detroit Zoo in winter as you take in the lights and the sights and enjoy holiday entertainment and activities for guests of all ages. For 22 nights beginning November 22, 2014, Wild Lights runs from 5:30 to 9pm on the following dates: November 22-23, 28-30; December 5-7, 12-14, 19-23, 26-31, 2014.

Nite Lites Jackson & Winter Wonderland
November 27-December 30, Jackson
One of Michigan’s largest Christmas light displays. This animated drive-through display is over one mile long and includes millions of lights. It’s a magical outing that families hold as a tradition year after year. Weekends in December, Winter Wonderland inside the American One Fair Event Center will feature decorated holiday trees, food and drinks of the season and visits with Santa Claus.

Gingerbread Art Competition
November 28-December 31, Newaygo
Have you ever looked at art and thought, “I’m hungry!”? Gingerbread Art will be displayed November 28 – December 31 from noon – 7pm each day at La Belle de la Riviere Bed and Breakfast in Newaygo. Don’t miss your chance to see some great gingerbread houses and designs before someone takes a bite!

36th Annual Christmas Tree Festival
December 1-30, Monroe
Visit and vote for your favorite decorated holiday tree or wreath during the month of December for our annual Christmas Tree Festival at the museum. Local 4-H clubs, organizations, charities, classrooms and scouts have been busy designing their creations to share with visitors. Come in and vote for your choice of best tree or wreath!

Do you attend any events in December that have become a holiday tradition? Let us know!

No Camouflage Required! Three Ways to Spend Deer Widow’s Weekend 2014

It’s that time of year again! The hunters stuff their bags with layers to keep warm in the woods, pull on orange apparel to be seen by fellow game-pursuers and keep their minds set on nabbing that coveted 12-point buck. But, while the hunters are away, those back at home will play!

As opening day of firearm season approaches, we’ve compiled a list of things for girlfriends, wives – and maybe a few househusbands – to do during Deer Widow’s Weekend while the hunters are gathered at deer camp. From spa packages to wine tasting, there’s camouflage required for these relaxing getaways perfect for a weekend alone or with friends.

The Spas

Facial2Planning a spa weekend might be the best way to unwind alone, or with friends. Check out these spa packages to find your Zen (and maybe save a few bucks, too!)

The Relaxation Package, Troy
Spend a weekend at the Troy Marriott, where exceptional service provides you with effortless travel. The weekend spa relaxation package features a deluxe guest room, breakfast buffet for two in 200 west bistro, and your choice of a 60-minute customized spa service at Schenden’s Spa in Troy (located directly across the street from the hotel) with complimentary hotel shuttle service to and from your appointment.

Girlfriend Getaway, Gladwin
Get the girls together and escape to Riverwalk Place! One night stay in a luxury suite or hotel room, one spa treatment (facial, pedicure or 60-minute massage), one signature gift, boutique shopping discounts, $20 at Riverwalk Grill and $10 for Oasis Salon & Spa retail, and pool access at a sister property, Rivertown Inn, located just one mile away.

Melt Your Stress Away, Saugatuck
Upon arrival, you’ll find a beautiful wine and cheese basket with a bouquet of fresh flowers. During your visit, you’ll  experience a soothing massage in a style suited just for you and a $30 voucher good toward dinner at a fine restaurant. Upon your departure (which you’ll want to delay as long as possible before returning to the real world), a gift from us: a compact disc of relaxing music and an illustrated guide to massage

Learn more about indulging in a Pure Michigan spa experience in the video.

The Shopping

If there’s ever been a time to put the saying “shop till you drop” to the test, it’s Widow’s Weekend! Discover some Pure Michigan shopping havens from around the state that will make you never want to leave.

BirchRunBirch Run Premium Outlets, Birch Run
Go shopping in Michigan and visit the Midwest’s largest outlet shopping center with 145 factory direct stores including Coach Factory and Michigan’s only Pottery Barn Outlet!

Ultimate Shopping Package at the Somerset Collection, Troy
Discover a shopping getaway at the Somerset Collection with a $25 gift card, complimentary shuttle & more! Conquer all of your shopping at the Somerset Collection & spend a weekend at the Troy Marriott in metro Detroit. Stores include: Nordstrom, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, & many more. The Ultimate Shopping Package includes overnight accommodations, $25 Troy Somerset Collection gift card, complimentary shuttle to and from Troy Somerset Collection, breakfast buffet for two in 200 west, complimentary appetizer from the Small Bites menu, and Somerset Collection Platinum Pass, which includes complimentary coffee from Starbucks, gift wrapping, bottle of water, and coat and package check.

Great Lakes Shopping Package. Auburn Hills
Who doesn’t love the thrill of the hunt? A stay that’s all about your favorite sport–Shopping. Ready. Set. Enjoy! The Great Lakes Crossing Shopping package includes overnight accommodations, $25 gift card to Great Lakes Crossing, complimentary Wi-Fi, and complimentary on-site parking.

Tanger Outlets Shop and Stay, Howell
Book the Tanger Outlet Shop and Stay Package at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Howell, Michigan, and you will not only enjoy your overnight stay in our beautiful hotel, you will receive a $20 Tanger Outlet gift card, a voucher for a Tanger Outlet coupon book, a Tanger Outlet shopping bag, and two bottles of water. Please use the below booking link or contact the hotel directly to make your reservation.

Ladies Nights and Women Weekends

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Who doesn’t love a good ladies night? A time to get the girls together and hit the town, no guys allowed! We’ve put together a list of some ladies nights and weekend getaways that can are sure to become an annual trip!

Ladies Night Out, Marquette 
Eighteenth annual Ladies Night is set for Thursday, November 13 from 4pm – 8pm in Downtown Marquette. Enjoy a night of shopping, delicacies, entertainment and fun. Checker Bus provides free limousine rides to stops throughout the district. A complimentary photo booth with props will be located at the Masonic Center.

Ladies Night Out in Flint, Flint
Ladies, gather your friends and get a jump on the holidays when the Village opens for a fun-filled night just for you! Vendors will offer everything from homemade soaps and fresh wreaths to folk art and beautiful jewelry. The shops will be stocked with gifts for everyone on your list. Enjoy an old-fashioned wagon ride with your girlfriends to see gorgeous, glittering lights. Laugh out loud as you take a free spin on a  100 year old carousel. You and your girlfriends can even get your picture taken for free with Handsome Harry or Chilly the Snowman.

Women’s Only Weekend, South Haven
Sorry guys, the gals are taking over South Haven! It’s Women’s Only Weekend November 13th-16th, 2014. Steer clear as droves of women hit the shops, restaurants, and local attractions in downtown South Haven to enjoy each other’s company and be entertained! Ticketed event.

Girlfriend’s Weekend, Lexington
Girls just want to have fun, and there is no better way to do that than with your closest gal pals! Head to Lexington for dining, games, prizes, spa treatments shopping, and fun.

How are you planning on spending Deer Widow’s Weekend? Tell us your plans below!

Cross These Seven Traverse City Activities Off Your Snow Day Bucket List

Winter is on its way, and Traverse City is ready for snow! Today, guest blogger Mike Norton from Traverse City Tourism shares some suggestions for your next Traverse City snow day. 

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

I know there are people who aren’t big fans of winter. But personally, I can’t wait to see those first fat flakes of snow come spiraling out of the sky.

Maybe it’s because I live in a place where there’s so much to do in the wintertime – especially in the Great Outdoors. I like to be outside as much as possible, and Traverse City is full of opportunities for outdoor winter fun. Each winter, this region’s gently sculpted landscape (carved 15,000 years ago by the last retreating glaciers of the Ice Age) becomes a playground for skiers, snowmobilers and snowshoe hikers. Like me, they consider it one of the country’s most beautiful winter destinations.

Skiing, Snowboarding and “Silent Snow Sports”

For skiers and snowboarders, our premiere winter destination is undoubtedly Shanty Creek Resorts, a 4,500-acre recreational complex in the beautiful Chain of Lakes region, about 30 miles northeast of town. Shanty’s two ski areas, Schuss Mountain and Summit Mountain, provide 53 downhill slopes, six terrain parks, 30km of cross country Nordic trails, and a multi-lane alpine tubing park. (Ski Magazine rated it the Midwest’s number-one destination in value, dining, lodging, weather and après ski activities.)

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

But lots of other skiers and snowboarders have discovered the fun of staying closer to town, taking advantage of low lodging rates and a broad choice of shopping, dining and entertainment options while skiing at TC’s two day ski areas, Mt. Holiday and Hickory Hills.

Still, for me (and for many others) this area is loved mostly for the quality of its winter “silent sports” — snowshoeing and cross-country skiing — thanks to its vast acreage of forest and parkland. Just one example – and one of my favorites: the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has eight marked trails, some leading up to panoramic overlooks high above Lake Michigan.

And there are so many other marked trail systems that you couldn’t explore them all if you stayed here all winter. There’s the Lost Lake Pathway near Interlochen and the Vasa Pathway, one of the finest cross-country ski trails in the nation. Within the city, the 300-acre Grand Traverse Commons features superb snowshoeing among century-old, castle-style buildings and stands of old-growth pines.

Snowmobiling

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Snowmobilers tend to head south and east of town to more than 200 miles of the country’s finest and most diverse snowmobiling. The Boardman Valley Trail, just minutes from downtown, is an 81-mile trail system in the Pere Marquette State Forest, where sightings of turkeys, eagles, deer and other wildlife are commonplace. The Jordan Valley Trail, about a half-hour to the northeast, is a network featuring over 130 miles of spectacular trails not far from Shanty Creek and the picturesque village of Bellaire.

Snow Biking and Snow Tubing

Traverse City is also becoming a hub for one of the newest winter sports: fat biking. Fat bikes are specially-adapted mountain bikes with large tires that can actually allow you to ride over the snow, and over the past two years they’ve become part of the local winter landscape. We’ve always been a favorite year-round destination for all kinds of outdoor sports enthusiasts; given the opportunity to add cycling to their repertoire of winter sports, they’ve wasted no time embracing the Fat Bike phenomenon.

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

But you don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy winter recreation in Traverse City. Lots of us have discovered that there are plenty of thrills to be had in snow-tubing. Tubing has all the thrilling speed of a toboggan or sled – but you get to sit in the middle of a big soft inner tube and ride down a groomed hill where there are people keeping an eye on you. And when you get to the bottom, there’s a towline waiting to take you back to the top so you can do it all over again.

As it happens, the largest tubing hill in Michigan is at TimberLee Hills, a former ski resort in the hills just northwest of town. (On clear days, it has breathtaking views of Grand Traverse Bay and Lake Leelanau.) Lots of local ski resorts also have tubing hills; Shanty Creek Resorts, for instance, has a sophisticated tubing park just above their Cedar River lodge. Mt. Holiday Ski Area also has a dedicated tubing park. All three have mechanical lifts, which helps you make the most of your allotted time. These things are popular, especially on weekends and school snow days, so they can get busy!

Winter Ziplining

Mt. Holiday has yet another winter activity available for winter fun: a new zipline system that lets you soar through the air above the ski slopes. Its “Green Zipper” is a two-station zipline (the first leg is 288 feet and then second is 306 feet) and its new 10-station zipline has a total of over 4,000 feet of cable. You have to make advance reservations for both of them, and you need to be part of a group of at least four people.

Sound like fun? Of course it does!

Mike on SbnowshoesMike Norton spent 25 years as newspaper writer and columnist before starting a second career as media relations manager at Traverse City Tourism. An avid cyclist, kayaker and snowshoer, he lives in the village of Old Mission.