Michigan in December: A Winter Wonderland of Events

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. 

December 1 – 5

Parade of Lights
December 1 – Holland
Santa arrives in Downtown Holland escorted by bands, floats; vehicles, family and friends all decked out in thousands of sparkling holiday lights! Over 80 entries will illuminate the streets of downtown Holland during this procession. At the end of the parade, Santa will take the time to greet his fans young and old alike! The parade begins at 8th Street and Columbia Avenue and continues onto the Eighth Street Market Place, home of the Holiday Kerstmarkt at 6:30 p.m


Shop & Champagne
December 2 – Birmingham
Sparkling, Creative and Delicious, words that describe Shop and Champagne! Guests will preview the annual Holiday Shop, a retail boutique with artisan, one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on any list! That night, in addition to exceptional edibles from the region’s finest restaurants, there’s a 10% discount on all purchases, valet parking &, of course, delightful wine & champagne! An excellent evening for entertaining friends & colleagues! All proceeds benefit the BBAC’s ArtAccess & educational programs.

A Polar Express Christmas
December 4 – Frankenmuth
All Aboard! Come celebrate the Christmas season with readings and music from the best loved book and movie A Polar Express. Join the Saginaw Elite Big Band, Big Money and the Sidewinders, FHS Choirs, our own Polar Express Children’s Choir and guest soloists as the bring the characters and story to life right on the Bronner stage. Ride along with children on their journey to the North Pole where they learn about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas.

Christmas on the Farm
December 5 – 6 – Grass Lake
The Waterloo Area Historical Society takes a look at the ways a rural 1880′s Michigan farm family celebrated the season with “Christmas on the Farm and at the Dewey School Museum”. This re-creation of the holiday’s traditions will include tours of the Farm Museum and Dewey School. Hand decorated greens, gifts and home-made baked goods will be for sale. Free refreshments and live music will be among the offerings for this homespun weekend.

Santa Breakfast/Lunch
December 5 – 6 – Kalamazoo
Enjoy a delicious breakfast or festive lunch with your family and watch the smiles on your little ones faces as they have a personal visit with Santa. Avoid long lines at the mall – give your child the time they need to talk with Santa. There is never a problem with photos, you can take as many as you like!


December 6 – 12

Holiday Home Tour
December 6 -
Spend a Sunday afternoon in December touring beautiful decorated homes for the holiday season. A trip to South Haven during December is always a delight.

Ladies’ Night Holiday Shopping
December 10 – Traverse City
A tribute to the ladies! Join the restaurants and merchants of Downtown Traverse City for a night filled with specials, food and refreshments while you conquer some holiday shopping!

6-for-1 Day
December 11 – Boyne Falls
Drop whatever you’re doing on December 11, 2014, pack up the SUV and head to 6-for-1 Day at Boyne Mountain. Initiated to commemorate the resort’s opening of America’s first six-person, high-speed chairlift the Mountain Express in 1992 6-for-1 Day is the best excuse we can think of to take a day off from work, leave the housework for another day, or…um…leave school promptly when your last class is over.


Holiday Sale
December 12 – 13 – Traverse City
There’s no better time than this event to stock up on wine and wine-related gift items. It’s the best shopping in the Traverse City wine tour region of the year! For the first two weekends in December, you will find both Leelanau wine and merchandise at their best prices. This is a great opportunity to take a self-guided wine tour to find wines that will pair perfectly with your holiday meal, whether you are doing the cooking yourself or you are a guest of friends or family. And, wine, of course, makes your holiday shopping simple and easy. Who doesn’t love getting a bottle of wine?

December 13 – 19

Men’s Night Holiday Shopping
December 17 – Traverse City
Just in time to finish your holiday shopping! This night is a salute to the men! Enjoy food, refreshments and specials while you shop the night away finishing up those last minute holiday gifts!

Dashing Through the Snow 5k Trail Run/Walk
December 19 – Saginaw
Let’s take some time to get out and enjoy the cool weather and beauty of Saginaw County’s Imerman Park trail with a bit of exercise (and a cool, long sleeved event t-shirt!) to relieve the seasonal stress. A good, hard run should be in order to earn that holiday meal! This will be a USATF sanctioned event that will be professionally managed and timed with online results being posted within 48 hours of race completion. There will be plenty of good cheer on the trail with holiday music and a possible visit from the “Big Man” himself. Ho, ho, ho!

A Classic Rock Christmas
December 19 – Port Huron
Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield, a Classic Rock Christmas is classic hits and classic carols, fused into one, performed by the December People. This high powered quintet, made up of some of the finest musicians from some of the world’s biggest bands, is a classic rock holiday tradition in the making.

Michigan Historical Museum – History Gamers
December 19 – 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. We’ll feature new games each program.

Ongoing Events Throughout the Month

Santa Visits Daily
December 1 – 24 – Frankenmuth
Bring your camera and wish list to Bronner’s for Santa will be visiting with children 10 years old and younger. Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., 1p.m. – 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m.- 7 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sunday noon – 5:30 p.m. Please note that many children wish to see Santa on Saturday and Sundays, guests should anticipate a wait. Because Santa has a very busy night on Christmas Eve his hours will end at 3 p.m.


Christmas Tree Festival
December 1 – 30 – Monroe
Get in the holiday mood by viewing holiday-decorated trees and wreaths created by Monroe County 4-H clubs, organizations, church groups, classrooms, and charities displayed throughout the museum during the month of December. This is our 37th year of hosting this event, and this year the trees and wreaths will be judged and prizes awarded. Stop in if you have a lot of time, or just a little, and vote for your favorite.

Nite Lites Jackson
December 1 – 30 – Jackson
The 2015 season will be the 20th year for Nite Lites in Jackson! One of Michigan’s largest Christmas light displays, this animated drive-through display is over one mile long! Each year the Jackson County Fairgrounds are filled with dancing lights featuring scenes with reindeer, Santa Claus and the Nativity among the millions of lights. It’s a magical outing that families hold as a tradition year after year. Winter Wonderland–inside the American 1 Events Center each weekend in December–features kid’s activities and warm up with a hot cup of cocoa at the concessions. Get your photo taken with Santa Claus himself, watch a holiday puppet show, or take a ride on the kid’s holiday train. The reindeer may also stop by for a special visit.

nite lites

Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village
December 4 – 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.

Which events do you plan to attend this December?

Fall into Christmas Town

Whether you get lost in the corn maze or brave the Halloween Spook Train, there is something for the entire family to enjoy when visiting Michigan’s Little Bavaria. Guest blogger Ashley Smith from the Frankenmuth Convention & Visitor Bureau shares just some of the many things to look forward to during a visit to Frankenmuth this autumn.

Every year, thousands of people flock to Frankenmuth in the fall and early days of winter in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season – enjoying the glistening lights along Christmas Lane near Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland and the all-around festive spirit throughout town.

Photo courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Although Michigan’s Little Bavaria is well known for its winter holiday delights, guests should take time to embrace the joy of the season before them as autumn boasts its own charm in Frankenmuth.

The Frankenmuth Corn Maze is host to a gigantic 5-acre corn maze, petting zoo and hayrides for the family. A tradition for many locals, the Frankenmuth Corn Maze is also great for newcomers looking to start a different holiday custom in the Great Lakes Bay Region. This year, kids – and kids at heart – can become a “farm scene investigator,” discovering what happened to Farmer Joe by looking for clues throughout the 2.5 miles of twisted trails within the maze. The maze will be open until Nov. 1.

Photo courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

And what’s fall without a straw-filled sack made to look like a person? Adorning most of a shopping center and the majority of downtown businesses will be scarecrows as part of the Scarecrow Fest in Frankenmuth, held Oct. 17-18 and 24-25. As a true showing of the fall spirit, festival goers can enjoy activities like pumpkin catapulting, face painting and trick or treating within the Frankenmuth River Place Shops.

If you need more fall fun and are looking for a memorable way to pick out your pumpkins this year, consider heading about 14 miles north of the downtown to experience Johnson’s Giant Pumpkin Farm where the kids can ride a barrel train.

If trains are what you’re into then you might also enjoy the Halloween Spook Train at Junction Valley Railroad, just west of Frankenmuth.

You might also consider checking out the Haunted Forest of Bavaria at The Adventure Park at Frankenmuth on Weiss Street, – directly behind Bronner’s. Open from 6-9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays throughout October, but closed on Halloween, the Haunted Forest of Bavaria features ghastly zombies, creepy clowns and a host of other terrifying monsters that are sure to frighten. Designed for kids who are 10 and older, this is a haunted trail the family can explore together. The park will also still be open to climbing during the event, so if you’re not one who enjoys being startled, you’re still able to zip and climb through the trees in the cool evening air.

Photo courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

When taking a break from the festivities for a world-famous chicken dinner at Bavarian Inn Restaurant or Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth, make sure to check out the cleverly costumed scarecrows outside many of the local businesses and vote for your favorite. And speaking of eating, fall is one of the best times to indulge at one of the two famous restaurants as they feature locally grown blue Hubbard squash as the seasonal vegetable and as the key ingredient in their pumpkin pies, which are not only crowd favorites, but great ways to really celebrate the fall harvest.

While the annual holiday celebration, snow lined streets and Christmas cheer will always echo throughout Michigan’s Little Bavaria, make sure to fall into Frankenmuth this autumn for a whole new take on the popular German-themed destination.

What do you plan on doing in Frankenmuth this season?

IMG_8007About the author: Although originally from Arizona, Ashley Smith, Sales and Communications Coordinator for the Frankenmuth Convention & Visitor Bureau, has become an honorary Michigander and loves the Great Lakes state. Be sure to share your favorite memories with the hashtag #MuthMoments and follow Frankenmuth on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. 

Fall Fun in Lenawee County

Southeast Michigan is beautiful in the fall months as the weather grows cooler and the leaves change colors. Catrina Ossmann of Clever Ideas Marketing teamed up with the Lenawee County Convention and Visitors Bureau to share just some of what makes autumn in Lenawee a destination to remember.

Join us for a fall festival, bring your bike and take a ride around the lakes for the Fall Color Tour. Stay for a show or concert at the Croswell Opera House in Adrian, Tecumseh Center for the Arts in Tecumseh or the Adrian Symphony Orchestra!

Enjoy a relaxing ride on The Southern Michigan Railroad that offers fall color tours with a train ride between Clinton and Tecumseh. Carpenter Farms in Adrian has hayrides, corn maze and pumpkins.


Art-a-Licious, September 18-19, Downtown Adrian
Art-A-Licious is a perfect mix of fine art, food, and entertainment. Featuring more than 80 talented local and regional artists, you are sure to find something that speaks to you. Many of our artists provide demonstrations of their craft. As you shop, your experience is complemented by ongoing live musical performances at the main stage.

Carpenter Farms. Photo courtesy of  Lenawee CVB.

Photo courtesy of Lenawee CVB.

Clinton Fall Festival, September 25-27, Village of Clinton
Large areas of the village are filled with creative works of arts and crafts vendors, tempting aromas from food vendors, new ideas and products displayed by a variety of merchants, opportunities to learn from non-profit groups, and exciting entertainment on two stages. Children will love the petting zoo, camel rides, mini-tractor pull, and the inflatables. A highlight of Sunday’s activities is the hour-long parade with over 100 units.

Blues-n-Brews Festival, October 3, Downtown Adrian
The annual festival features beer, wine and hard cider from more than 30 Michigan breweries and wineries and live blues music from Michigan’s own Kevin Nichols and Blue Tuesday and Broken Arrow Blues Band. Tickets and VIP packages are available.

Explore Hidden Lake Gardens. Photo courtesy of Russ Millett III.

Explore Hidden Lake Gardens. Photo courtesy of Russ Millett III.

Fall Foliage Festival, October 3, Hidden Lake Gardens
Visitors will find local crafts vendors, artisan demonstrations, food, pumpkin painting, scarecrow displays, scavenger hunt, wagon rides and live animals. Those attending are welcome to bring a picnic lunch or purchase something from one of the vendors. Admission is $5 per person (free for members) with a limit of $20 per vehicle. Proceeds go towards the support the gardens.

Appleumpkin Festival. Photo courtesy of Sarah D Carter.

Appleumpkin Festival. Photo courtesy of Sarah D Carter.

Appleumpkin Festival, October 10-11, Downtown Tecumseh
You’ll want to bring the whole gang to town for this one. The kids will enjoy the midway rides, carnival games, inflatables and make-it-take-it crafts, straw maze and corn box. The Antique Street Fair and Flea Market will keep you captivated for hours. The Arts & Crafts Show brings wonderfully handcrafted creations into Tecumseh. Stop by the Appleumpkin stage area and take in the live performances. Kapnick Orchards in nearby Britton hosts an Apple Festival the same weekend. There is something for everyone to enjoy throughout the weekend.

Catrina OssmannCatrina Ossmann is the Owner of Clever Ideas Marketing and works with the Lenawee County CVB. Find her on Twitter @CleverIdeasCO or the Lenawee County CVB at @VisitLenawee.