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. 

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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. 

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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? 

5 Extreme Winter Sports that Michigan Does Best

We’ve teamed up with Expedia Viewfinder to spotlight some of the most adventurous winter sports to try in the Great Lake State this season.

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Cold weather doesn’t bring life in Michigan to a halt. In fact, a whole new array of activities open up during the winter months. Strolling along the chilly beaches of Grand Haven or attending the Motown Winter Blast festival in Detroit can certainly be fun for visitors and locals alike. But those looking for something more rugged, more exhilarating, can push the envelope on adventure.

At Expedia Viewfinder, we love discovering adrenaline-pumping, thrill-inducing activities during our travels, so we joined forces with Pure Michigan to reveal some of the most extreme sports to try in Michigan this winter:

Ice Climbing

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When it’s too cold to scale a mountain, try a frozen waterfall instead. Ice climbing is one of Michigan’s more extreme winter activities, and it’s not for the faint of heart. With ice axes, a belay system, and pure grit, climbers methodically ascend these arctic pillars to reach spectacular snowy summits. Over the past few years, the sport has increased in popularity and Michigan is arguably the best location to ice climb in the U.S. In particular, Lake Superior in Munising is a climber’s utopia, with hundreds of frozen waterfalls ranging from 20 to 200+ feet in height.

Ice Luge

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On the shores of Lake Michigan, the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex offers ice luge for mere mortals who’d like to pretend to be Olympians. Not to be confused with the bobsled, the ice luge is flat with two steel runners; it’s built for riders to recline on their backs and steer with their legs and shoulders. One of only four luge tracks in the U.S., the Sport Complex’s track welcomes the general public and provides a rare opportunity to try this velocious sport. The experience is exhilarating as riders hurtle feet-first down the 850-foot track, reaching speeds up to 30 mph (Olympic athletes reach speeds of 80 to 90 mph).

Ice Diving

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One little-known fact about Michigan is that it offers some of the best shipwreck diving in the world. Thousands of sunken ships rest quietly at the bottom of the Great Lakes, some dating back to the 1600s. And it just so happens that the best time of year to view these wrecks is in winter, when the ice coating Lake Michigan acts a sealant against wind, boats, and people who stir up the lakebed. In other words, visibility is best in winter and that’s when you’ll see formidable ice divers chainsaw their way through the surface to sink into the watery world below. An advanced form of scuba diving, ice diving requires a special suit and equipment (and yes, a dive certification is mandatory). But the gear is well worth the experience of drifting through the water to view an elegant schooner or hulking freighter, eerily peaceful and frozen in time.

Ice Sailing

Photo 5 - ice sailing

Called “wind dancing” by some, ice sailing pairs a wing, kite, or sled with a snowboard, skis, or skates. This adds complexity and speed to some favorite winter sports and makes for an addicting challenge. Ice sailing can be done anywhere there is wind and snow or ice, but Michigan is a paradise due to its many frozen lakes—there’s lots of space to play. Ice sailors describe the feeling as energizing and sublime as they harness the wind’s power to glide across the ice.

Snowmobiling

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In the Great Lakes State, hiking boots are swapped out for snowmobiles during the winter. With over 6,500 groomed, interconnected trails, Michigan takes its motor-powered adventures seriously. One of only three states that offers such an extensive system of trails, snowmobilers can explore miles and miles of picturesque, exciting terrain. Ideal for an extreme winter group activity, visitors can speed over frozen lakes and through national forests to see sights that are often hidden in warmer months.

As the weather cools and the snow falls, Michigan turns into a magnificent playground for the outdoor adventurer. Plan a visit this season to try out (or watch) these extreme winter sports in beautiful Michigan.

Written by Expedia Staff Writer

5 Can’t-Miss Winter Sports to Experience This Season

To love Michigan is to love living in a four-season state.Whether you’re a full-time resident or just visiting the Great Lakes state, coming to Michigan means that for a few months out of the year, you’ll experience the beauty of winter and all of the activities and events that come along with it.

When temperatures falls, so does the snow, giving all a chance to participate in some of their favorite winter activities. From a friendly snowball fight in your backyard to cross-country skiing adventure in the back woods, Michigan offers some great ways to make memories during the winter season.

So, grab your favorite hot drink and take a look at five ways to celebrate the winter season in Michigan:

1. Skiing

Michigan offers many ways for people to enjoy skiing, from the rush of going downhill to witnessing the beauty around them by leisurely traversing a wooded trail.

With some of the best downhill skiing in the Midwest, Michigan’s pitch and vertical drops are are some of the most thrilling in the nation. The state is home to 51 ski destinations, ranking it second in the country in number of ski areas. For a slightly slower, but no less of a fun time, consider cross country skiing.  Enthusiasts and newcomers to the sport can enjoy the tranquility of more than 3,000 miles of snow-covered trails with beautiful winter landscapes serving as the backdrop. And don’t forget the snowboarding!

Photo Courtesy of Treetops Resort

Photo Courtesy of Treetops Resort

2. Sledding

Probably one of the easiest and the most fun you can have on a Michigan winter day is spending time just being a kid. Want some thrills and know of a big hill in the area? Grab your sled and go have some fun. Another great way to have fun that is also growing in popularity is snow tubing. Check out one of Michigan’s state or your local county parks for facilities set up especially for sledding and snow tubing, where you can feel the sting of the cold air on your face as your sled careens down a hill.

3. Snowmobiling

Feel the rev of an engine as you race through snow-covered trails and frozen lakes on a snowmobile during a Michigan winter. With more than 6,500 groomed snowmobiling trails, Michigan has one of the most extensive systems of interconnected trails in the nation. From state and national forests, to 11,000 frozen lakes, snowmobilers can experience a great adventure each time they head out for a ride.

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @AndyPeninger

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @AndyPeninger

4. Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing in Michigan is a great way to see the tranquil beauty of the winter season.Not all of Michigan’s wildlife scurries off for warmer climates or hibernation as you might get a chance to see rabbits, deer and fox as you trek along the state’s thousands of miles of trails. Snowshoe through the woods, breathing air filled with smells of the forest, hearing nothing but the sound of your own footsteps. Snowshoeing in Michigan offers outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers a respite among picturesque trails and terrains.

5. Pond Hockey

Michigan has a strong tradition when it comes to hockey, and winter weather provides the perfect chance to lace up your skates and have a blast. With more than 11,000 frozen inland lakes, there’s an opportunity to drop the puck anywhere you turn. Whether you’re just learning how to skate or are dreaming of one day playing at Joe Louis Area, all you need is some thick ice, skates, a hockey stick and some friends, and you’re ready to spend an afternoon enjoying the outdoors. Be sure to check out the Labatt Blue U.P. Pond Hockey Championship in St. Ignace this February!

PondHockey

What are your favorite winter activities? Share with us below!