Pure Michigan February Events Roundup

February in Pure Michigan means winter fun, food and family events. From award winning musicals to winter sporting events, there’s something for everyone this month.  For more suggestions of things to do this month in Michigan, visit michigan.org.

 Southeast

Southeast

African American History Day
February 4, 2012, Detroit
Join in the celebration of African American history and culture as the Detroit Historical Museum kicks off Black History Month with this annual event. Find gifts from our Artists Market, learn from historical organizations and neighborhood organizations in the area, and bring kids to enjoy entertainment and a caricature artist. Renowned storytellers Ivory D. Williams and Shanta and the Kidz Art Zone will provide enthralling experiences for children. For more information, visit the event website or call (313) 833-1805.

Toy Collectible Show
February 4, 2012, Jackson
The Toy Collectible Show will take place on the Jackson Fairgrounds, inside the heated fair events center.  Attendees can browse more than 155 tables featuring toys from Nascar, Hotwheels, Star Wars, Pez, Matchbox and more. Show information is available by calling (517) 524-8899.

Love, Loss and What I Wore
February 8 – March 4, 2012, Detroit
Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss, and What I Wore, an intimate collection of stories covering some of life’s most poignant moments and their corresponding wardrobe, will appear at Detroit’s historic Gem Theatre this month. The evening of vignettes, which is based on the best-selling book of the same name by Ilene Beckerman as well as personal reminiscences from the Ephrons and their friends, will feature a cast of five powerful actresses. Tickets are on sale at the Gem Theatre and Fisher Theatre box offices, at all Ticketmaster locations, online at ticketmaster.com and by calling (313) 963-9800 or (800) 982-2787.

Detroit Boat Show
February 11 – 19, 2012, Detroit
The Detroit Boat Show is the original, biggest and best boat show in the state of Michigan, featuring the premiere showing of hundreds of new 2012 and non-current model boats, motors, trailers, accessories and more. For more information call the Cobo Center at (800) 338-7648 or (313) 338-7648.

Motown Winter Blast 2012
February 11 – 13, 2012, Detroit
Motown Winter Blast is a unique combination of hip and fun winter events that are centered on Campus Martius Park. This year we are celebrating Motown with a fun celebration you will not want to miss. For more information, please visit the event website.

Storytelling Festival
February 18 – 19, 2012, Ann Arbor
Each year The Ark revives the oldest of all the arts with the February Storytelling Festival, featuring talespinners from far and wide. Sunday’s program features kid-oriented stories from 2012 Storytelling Festival artists. For more information, visit the event website or call (734) 761-1800.

Fire & Ice Fest
February 24 – 26, 2012, Rochester
Downtown Rochester’s much-anticipated winter festival features ice sculptures, ice skating, a tubing run, fireworks, and a taste fest inside the warming tent featuring beer and wine provided by Rochester Mills Beer Company. For more information, contact (248) 858-5437.

Shrek The Musical
February 28 – March 11, 2012, Detroit
Shrek the Musical, which tells the story of a swamp-dwelling ogre who goes on a life-changing adventure to reclaim the deed to his land, comes to the Fisher Theatre at the end of the month. Joined by a wise-cracking donkey, this unlikely hero fights a fearsome dragon, rescues a feisty princess and learns that real friendship and true love aren’t only found in fairy tales. For more information on this performance, visit the website or call (313) 872-1000.

Southwest

Southwest

Ice Breaker 2012
February 3 – 5, 2012, South Haven
Come Enjoy “The Four Seasons of South Haven” Ice Breaker 2012, where the Lake Michigan resort community of South Haven will heat up as it celebrates the 19th annual Ice Breaker festival. A major focus of the event is the sculpting of more than 50 blocks of ice, weighing 300 pounds each, into dazzling displays themed by “The Four Seasons of South Haven.” For more information, visit the event website or call (269) 637-5171.

Winter Blues Festival
February 11, 2012, Marshall
Winter Blues are usually a bad thing but not at this event! This is your chance to enjoy some great live blues music, enjoy dinner (catered by Roma’s Corner Café), or participate in several workshops offered. For more information, visit the event website or call (269) 789-9677.

Kalamazoo Live Green Fair & Home Show
February 18 – 19, 2012, Kalamazoo
The Live Green Fair and Home Show helps families live a healthier life, while saving money and energy too! The show offers products and services from over 60 exhibitors to help families live a greener life. For more information, visit the event website or call (734) 320-5322.

Great Scrapbook Show
February 24 – 25, 2012, Kalamazoo
Shop a large selection of paper crafting products at this scrapbooking and stamping show. For more information, visit the show website or call (810) 287-7711.

Upper Peninsula

Upper Peninsula

International 500 Snowmobile Race
February 4, 2012, Sault Sainte Marie
Mark your calendar for the first Saturday in February and get ready for the thrill of a lifetime, and get ready to see drivers accelerate to speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour on the straight-aways! For more information, visit the event website or call (989)808-5266.

Michigan Ice Fest Family Activities
February 4, 2012, Munising
Different family events throughout the afternoon include the annual cardboard classic, a 5K snowshoe relay, children’s activities and games, food and beverages and a free shuttle to the Michigan Ice Fest climbing activities. Activities are in and behind the American Legion. For more information on this event call (906) 387-2138.

UP Snow Softball Tournament
February 11 – 12, 2012, St. Ignace
Come join the fun as teams compete against each other in the UP Snow Softball Tournament! Teams of 9-12 players will battle the elements as they vie for top honors. This game gives new meaning to the phrase ‘sliding into home plate.’ For more information, call (800) 338-6660.

UP 200 Dog Sled Races
February 16 – 20, 2012, Marquette
The UP 200 is one of America’s premier 12-dog, mid-distance sled dog races. Mushers say this is one of their favorite races, not only because of the challenging race, but because of the cheering crowds and warm welcome they receive here in the Upper Peninsula. Come join in the excitement for the start of the race located in downtown Marquette, MI.  For more information on this event, visit the website or call (906) 228-3072 or (906) 869-2640.

West Central

West Central

Camper, Travel, & RV Show
February 2 – 5, 2012, Grand Rapids
This show will fill every square inch of the beautiful DeVos Place with the latest motor homes, fifth wheels, travel trailers, campers, accessories, campgrounds, and vacation destinations. For more information, visit the event website or call (616) 742-6500.

Animal Adventures: Growing Up Wild
February 6, 2012, Grand Rapids
Enjoy an evening of warmth and wonder and discover fascinating things about four animals – a mammal, a reptile, an amphibian and a bird. Watch live animal presentations, enjoy animal story time, explore the Tropical Conservatory by flashlight, or become engrossed in animal art activities. Reservations required by calling Meijer Gardens at (616) 974-5239 or John Ball Zoo at (616) 336-4310.

Nordic Nights Gourmet Dine & Glides
February 11, 2012, North Muskegon
Don’t miss out on one of the best culinary experiences in Michigan this winter. This event includes a four course dinner, ski pass and entrance to heated tent with live music. There will be three stations offering delicious food, featuring a blazing fire placed throughout your 5K glide. Back at the heated tent, guests will enjoy dessert and music by Mike Snell. For more information, call (231) 744-9629.

Grand Rapids Boat Show
February 15 – 19, 2012, Grand Rapids
This Boat Show includes powerboats and more sailboats on display than any other show in the state of Michigan! Fishing boats, water sport accessories and boating services like marina slips and sail lofts will be some of the attractions at DeVos Place. For more information, visit the show website or call (616) 742-6500.

Michigan Winter Beer Festival
February 25, 2012, Comstock Park
Hundreds of hand-crafted beers from Michigan’s finest microbreweries will be served up in this chilly outdoor festival. Entertainment, food and fun will help keep you warm! Tickets are sold in advance and are available online or at the Fifth-Third Ballpark box office or at participating Guild member breweries. For more information, call (517) 327-5004.

East Central

East Central

Shakespearean Dreams Performance
February 11, 2012, Saginaw
Poets have come and gone for centuries, but only one is known as “the Bard.” Finzi’s music and Timothy Jones’ powerful voice will bring some of Shakespeare’s most emotionally stirring verses to life. The Pit & Balcony Theatre Co. will perform a semi-staged version of one of the world’s greatest comedies, while the SBSO and the Saginaw Choral Society will perform the music that comedy inspired in Mendelssohn. For more information on this event, call (989) 755-6471.

Shanty Days
February 17 – 19, Caseville
Indulge in some fun in the wintertime! Enjoy four wheeler races, ice fishing, food and beverages tents, live entertainment, craft show, kids’ activities and demo derby. For more information, call (989) 856-3818.

Northeast

Northeast

Winter Fun Days
February 3 – 5, 2012, Grayling
Lots of fun things for families to do in Grayling starting Friday with Dollar night, DJ music and a marshmallow roast over a campfire. The events continue Saturday and Sunday with free lift tickets and trail passes, Big Air Competition, chili cook off, Slush Pit and Sled Box race. For more information, call (989) 348-9266.

Alpenfrost 2012
February 11, 2012, Grayling
The first annual Alpenfrost winter celebration in downtown Gaylord combines anchor events such as the Polar Plunge and a Craft Beer & Wine Festival at Treetops Resort, with a flurry of downtown activities, games, and merchant sales. Alpine Village will unveil an open-air ice skating rink. For a schedule of events or for more information, visit the event website or call (989) 731-7378.

Treetops Olympics
February 23 – 26, 2012, Gaylord
The Treetops Olympics is an event for the whole family! Participate in crazy games such as Human Bowling, Human Curling and Minute to Win It. For more information, visit the event website or call (888) 873-3867.

Northwest

Northwest

North American Snow Festival – 2012
February 2 – 5, 2012, Cadillac
Thursday night kicks off with a chili cook-off at this winter festival and the fun doesn’t stop there. Friday brings the Poker Fun Run, sleigh rides, a grilling contest and more entertainment at The Armory. Saturday compete in ice fishing, motorcycle and snowmobile races on Lake Cadillac – and a polar dip in the lake for those brave enough! Sunday, snow sculptures will dot the Lake Cadillac shoreline and the fun continues with more lake races. For more information, call (800) 22-LAKES or (231) 775-0657.

Mid-Winter’s Chocolate Therapy
February 4, 2012, Bellaire
An afternoon of chocolate featuring Michigan chocolatiers. Enjoy tasting samples, chocolate-making demo, cupcake competition, Valentine’s gifts, chocolate spa treatments, live music and more. For more information on this event, visit the event website or call (800)678-4111.

Taste the Passion
February 4 – 5, 2012, Cedar
This special weekend celebrates wine, chocolate and love in anticipation of Valentine’s Day! The combination of winter’s beauty in Leelanau with the special pleasures of life always makes a wonderful weekend. The weekend starts on Saturday as participants head to their first winery stop to collect a souvenir glass, then the fun begins with special pours and tasty chocolate treats offered at wineries throughout the rest of the weekend. In addition to chocolate, savory dishes will be served at a number of tasting rooms. For more information, visit the event website or call (231)421-1172.

Cherry Festival Winter Wonderfest
February 17 – 19, 2012, Acme
The Cherry Capital Winter WonderFest features a “Winter Fun Zone” at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa offering ice skating, bonfires, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and more. In downtown Traverse City, you can find beautiful ice carvings and walk through the snow sculpture park, enjoy live music under the tent at the Annual Soup’r Bowl Competition and Beer Tent and watch the Frozen Bed Race, Monster Dog Pull competition and “Tommy Tropic” juggler, take part in the Brain Freeze ice cream eating competition or frozen cherry pit contest, or take a horse and carriage ride. There’s also a two-day Snowball Winter Softball Tournament at the Grand Traverse Civic Center. For more information, visit the event website.

Dog Sledding in Pure Michigan

If you’re looking for a fun way to get out and enjoy Michigan’s glistening landscape this winter, dog sledding is your answer. With 11,000 frozen inland lakes and a number of brilliant, snow-covered national forests, there are plenty of options for experiencing the rush of dog sledding throughout the state. Here are some places to check out.

Nature’s Kennel Iditaord Sled Dog Racing & Adventures in McMillan offers a variety of “drive-you-own-dog team” adventures ranging from overnight trips to full day and half day trips. No experience is necessary, as guests have the option to drive their own team or take a ride in the sled.

At the Last Chance Kennel at Russ-Stick Acres you’ll feel like you’re experiencing an amazing Alaskan experience without ever leaving the state. Guests to this rustic farm in Mancelona will explore the history of dog sledding, while gaining “hands on” experience.

If you’re near Cadillac, there are several places to check out the fun. Shemhadar Kennels offers hourly rides for the whole family through northern Michigan’s scenic trails. If you head a bit north, check out S & L Arctic K9’s Sled Dog Adventures, where customized training and tours are available.

The Double JJ Resort in Rothbury is a family favorite destination during all four seasons. During winter months, families can take part in various outdoor activities – including dog-sled rides.

At the Otter River Sled Dog Training Center & Wilderness Adventures in Tapiola, dog sled experiences include a three mile ride, a half day adventure, overnight camping, and an opportunity to drive your own team.

Partnering with the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa and Caberfae Peaks Ski & Golf Resort this winter, Wiggi’s Mountain-Side Huskies offers one of the best dog sled rides in town. Be sure to make an appointment for Saturday or Sunday if you’re in the area!

For more information on dog sledding throughout the state, please visit www.michigan.org.

What a Rush!

Boyne Highlands recently invited Pure Michigan to the resort to try their Michigan dog sledding and zip line adventure, as well as to experience one of their fantastic dining opportunities. We sent Kirsten from our PR team to check it out, and she had a fantastic time!

I must admit, as a public relations professional I get to experience some very cool things to share with the media. Last weekend was no exception, with a getaway to Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs to try dog sledding and the zip line adventure.

Saturday morning started with a hearty breakfast in the main dining room at Boyne Highlands. I knew I would need as much energy as possible since the day was packed full of fun.  From the main dining room you can see the ‘dog shed,’ a loving term used by staff to give directions to the dog sled area. A quick walk and we were amongst the dogs, and Michigan’s Iditarod musher Ed Stielstra, owner of Nature’s Kennel, as well as our guide for the morning.

Pure Michigan photo

Ed from Nature's Kennel with the dogs

We were introduced to the guides and the three teams of dogs, a pick of the 150 dogs at Nature’s Kennel. Among the dogs that were on the team were Gus (short for asparagus), Ayn (short for author Ayn Rand), and Vixen. As you can see, each litter has a theme including vegetables, authors, and reindeer. Wouldn’t it be fun to be responsible for coming up with the litter theme and naming all of the puppies?

As soon as the dogs were hooked up to their lead lines they began barking and jumping, clearly excited to go for a run. Settled into the sled we took off on our scenic adventure. It was quite a peaceful ride along the snow-blanketed trails on the resort property. The ride gave us a chance to ask Ed about how he got involved in the sport and what his future plans include. He told us some fun facts about each dog, making sure to note which ones would most likely be on his race team for the 2011 Iditarod.  As quickly as we headed out onto the scenic trails our team was headed back and our enjoyable journey was over. Next time I’ll sign up for the one-hour ride.

Here’s a video from the dog sledding portion of our trip. You can see how much these dogs love to run!

Later Saturday afternoon we met up with our zipline adventure group, a group of twelve including seasoned pros and first timers along with three guides. The guides explained the harness system and safety precautions, and assisted the group in getting prepared for the adventure. Within minutes of meeting the group we were headed to the chairlift to go to the top of the mountain to start the series of 8 lines. (This may be the appropriate time to let you know that I was “volunteered” for this adventure, am deathly afraid of heights, and would have never gotten through this experience had it not been for my traveling companion.)

Pure Michigan photo

hooking up to the zip line

Standing at the first platform, I asked the guide if he could give me a push. I figured I would close my eyes and just go for it. I came to that solution after realizing my only way back to the lodge was going back down on the chairlift (not going to happen), or try the ziplines. Unfortunately I was told that I had to step off the platform all by myself. Shaking like a leaf, eyes closed and gripping the harness, I took that first step to get to the other side. About halfway across I was brave enough to open my eyes to really see what I was doing. It was AMAZING!!! As I approached the platform on the other side I could hear the others cheering.   I knew there were naysayers who thought I would chicken out and walk back to the lodge, and I had to prove them wrong.

Pure Michigan photo

As we approached the next zipline I felt a little more comfortable. The first two guides went across the line to get set on the other side. The third guide stayed with the group to assist in getting each of us hooked up to the line. I remember more from the second line as I was actually listening to the guides and watching the others instead of thinking of excuses to get out of the adventure.

By the third line I was really getting into it. On this line, the guides show you how to go upside down. I thought, “why not, I’ve gotten this far.” I did try, but was not successful. Still, I was happy to get across each line. Every line offered different views of the mountain, the skiers and snowboarders, and the resort.  I’m happy to say that I had a blast and would sign up to do it again!

On Saturday evening, after conquering our fears, we experienced a truly unforgettable, and one of the most romantic dinners I’ve ever had at the Aonach Mor Moonlight Dinner. The experience starts with a warm cup of hot chocolate and a sleigh ride up the mountain to North Peak, a beautiful lodge complete with floor to ceiling windows looking out in each direction. On a clear night the lights of the Mackinac Bridge can be seen from North Peak.

The cozy ambiance is set with candlelight and an acoustic guitarist. Seated for the dinner, our preselected Michigan wine was brought to the table. The first course was French Onion soup, and before long we were served garlic roasted mashed potatoes, a vegetable medley, and roast tenderloin au poivre. The dinner concluded with chocolate fondue accompanied by assorted fruit, cookies, and pound cake. After enjoying more of the view and our wine, the sleigh returned to take everyone back to the main lodge. I’m already thinking of special occasions to celebrate next winter so I can make reservations to enjoy this dinner again.