Four Reasons to Head “Up North” to Frankenmuth this Memorial Day Weekend

Photo by Facebook Fan Thomas Warner

Photo by Facebook Fan Thomas Warner

Memorial Day weekend is nearly upon us! For many Michiganders and visitors, that means barbecues, boating, and quality time spent with family and friends. Today, guest blogger Christie Bierlein from Frankenmuth Convention and Visitors Buereau tells us four reasons to spend some time in Michigan’s Little Bavaria this Memorial Day weekend.

For many Michiganders, Memorial weekend is the official kickoff to the “going up north” season.  So what does that “Michigan speak” really mean?  Well, it depends on which part of lower Michigan you are from or perhaps where your summer memories live. In Grand Rapids, it might mean heading to any number of West Coast Beach Towns.  In the greater Detroit area, it can mean many inland lake and river communities across the state or even up the sunrise side.  Regardless of what your definition is, there are many ways to enjoy this special weekend in Michigan.

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 9.50.02 AMFrankenmuth launches the summer in a big way with 3 big events over the long weekend.  Besides the obvious reasons to visit Frankenmuth: Bronners CHRISTmas Wonderland – the world’s largest Christmas store, world famous family-style chicken dinners, shopping, wine tasting, boat rides and so much more, Memorial Weekend includes even more reasons to visit. The Dogbowl, Balloons over Bavaria and Zehnder’s Tour De Frankenmuth events all collide for a fun-filled (mostly free) weekend in Michigan’s Little Bavaria!

Drawing more than 4,000 dogs and 40,000 humans is the Frankenmuth Dogbowl, the nation’s largest Olympic style event for dogs.  This high energy event gives you something to howl about. Dogbowl features unique events such as the dock diving competition and the famous wiener dog races (which last year gathered together more than 200 of the furry hotdogs to race across River Place Shops lawn).  Add in silly pet tricks, a pet parade and a canine cruise down the Cass River and you have yourself a tail wagging good time.

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 9.48.08 AMThe fun doesn’t stop there, while in Frankenmuth for the Dogbowl, don’t forget to keep your eye in the sky looking out for Balloons over Bavaria.  And at dusk, over 15 hot air balloons converge on the River Place Shops lawn for their annual hot air balloon glow.  Spectators can watch as they compete for the Michigan State Championship Friday-Monday. If you’d rather get up close and personal you will have the opportunity to watch the crew and pilot inflate their balloons and then interact and ask them questions during the evening balloon glow.

After eating the famous Frankenmuth family-style chicken dinner and loading up on fudge, you may feel the need to burn off the extra calories. Zehnder’s Tour de Frankenmuth is a USA Cycling sanctioned competitive event that allows participants of every athletic ability to participate. The race starts in Frankenmuth and takes a scenic tour through the downtown and out into the countryside. With a purse of up to $5,000, this is one race you’re not going to want to miss. To register and receive additional details check out http://www.tourdefrankenmuth.com.

10155726_10152009635820373_2512205073974287129_nAnother great way to round off your weekend in Frankenmuth is with a visit to the Michigan Military & Space Heroes Museum to pay respect to those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  And on Sunday night, remember them when you look into the Frankenmuth sky for the big firework show; The stories of many of these courageous men and women told in this exceptional Michigan Museum.  The museum is home to the largest collection of Medals of Honor anywhere in our County.

Planning on visiting Frankenmuth this weekend? Join the conversation and share your photos using #muthfun on Twitter and Instagram or share your photos at www.facebook.com/frankenmuth.

18 Things You Didn’t Know About Bronner’s – The World’s Largest Christmas Store

‘Tis the season all year long at Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, the World’s Largest Christmas Store® in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Open 361 days of the year, Bronner’s brings the warmth and wonder of the Christmas season to guests year round. Wayne Bronner, president and CEO of Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland lists 18 things you may not have known about the World’s Largest Christmas Store. 

1. More than 350 decorated Christmas trees are beautifully displayed in Bronner’s salesroom.

2. Decorations and gifts from 70 nations can be found at Bronner’s.

3.  Bronner’s carries over 150 styles of nutcrackers.

4.  Bronner’s artists personalize over 100,000 ornaments annually. One of Bronner’s ornament artists has personally handpainted nearly ½-million ornaments during her 25 years at Bronner’s. Approximately 50% of the glass ornaments sold are Bronner’s own designs.

5. If all the light sets sold in one year at Bronner’s were stretched out in a continuous line, they would span approximately 530 miles.

6. Movie star John “the Duke” Wayne ordered a Santa suit from Bronner’s by telephone on December 15, 1976.

7. Sports figures who have visited Bronner’s include former University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, Detroit Tigers’ owner Tom Monaghan (who arrived at Bronner’s in his Domino’s Pizza helicopter!), former Tiger pitcher Milt Wilcox, former Tiger catcher Lance Parrish, former Tiger outfielder Willie Horton, race car driver Al Unser, Jr., “Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe, and Detroit Redwing Sergei Fedorov.

8. Celebrities who have visited Bronner’s recently include former Michigan Governor John Engler and First Lady Michelle with triplet daughters; former Michigan Governor James Blanchard; Olympic Gold Medalist Dorothy Hamill; vocalists Little Jimmie Dickins, Jim Nabors, Pat Boone, Marie Osmond, Anita Bryant, Andy Williams, the Lennon Sisters, the Lettermen, Ted Nugent, the Ink Spots, Faith Hill, Twila Paris and sister Starla, and Ana Cani; television’s Dave Coulier of “Full House“; First Lady Laura Bush; and actresses Polly Bergen and Cindy Williams.

9. Bronner’s was the first recipient of the worldwide Golden Santa Claus Award in February, 1986, at the Nuremberg International Toy Fair in Germany. The annual award is presented for “creativity and new ideas in the Christmas business as well as for set-up and presentation of Christmas articles.”

10. Bronner’s electric bill averages $1,250.00 per day.

11. Beamer the Bronner Star was born in 1999, becoming Bronner’s mascot.

12. Bronner’s online store offers appoximately 3,000 items for purchase.

13. The overall size of Bronner’s building is 320,000 sq. ft. (approx. 7.35 acres or 5.5 football fields of space) with 96,000 sq. ft. (2.2 acres 1.7 football fields of space) devoted to the salesroom.

14. Approximately 100,000 outdoor Christmas lights illuminate Bronner’s grounds every evening throughout the year.

15. Christmas Lane, Bronner’s own thoroughfare, is 1/2-mile long.

16. Bronner’s giant outdoor Santa towers 17 feet and the giant snowman is 15 feet tall.

17. The weekend after Thanksgiving is Bronner’s busiest of the year with as many as 50,000 guests.

18. Over two million guests come to Bronner’s annually.

Have you visited Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth? Tell us about your experience! 

Read more Bronner’s fun facts here

Wayne Bronner is the president and CEO of Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, located in Frankenmuth, Michigan. He has overseen the day-to-day operations of the World’s Largest Christmas Store since 1998. Bronner’s is a multifaceted business that includes a brick-and-mortar business, online sales, commercial accounts, catalog sales, and resale and custom ornament accounts.