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.

Five Spectacular Michigan Destinations Nominated for 8th Wonder of the World

We all know that Michigan is a beautiful state and home to some pretty amazing places, but are we home to any “wonders of the world?” Travel website Virtual Tourist is on a quest to find the 8th Wonder of the World, and several Michigan spots are in the running.

Below see a roundup of the Michigan destinations up for the title and vote for your favorite here from now through September 30th.  

What do you consider the “8th Wonder of the World?” Tell us in the comments below.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Empire, Mich.
Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore encompasses a 60 km (35 mi.) stretch of Lake Michigan’s eastern coastline, as well as North and South Manitou Islands. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park was established primarily for its outstanding natural features, including forests, beaches, dune formations and ancient glacial phenomena. Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Lakeshore also contains many cultural features including an 1871 lighthouse, three former Life-Saving Service/Coast Guard Stations and an extensive rural historic farm district. Learn more about the Sleeping Bear Dunes here.

Frankenmuth
Frankenmuth, Mich.
Willkommen. In German it means welcome. In Frankenmuth, Michigan’s Little Bavaria, welcome to family time, welcome to playtime, welcome to Christmas time all year long. It’s a place with horse-drawn carriages and covered bridges, riverboat cruises and world famous chicken dinners, big water parks and small-town strolls. Frankenmuth is the perfect place to simplify the agenda and spend the whole day with family. Frankenmuth is a place to enjoy the simple things in life. More information can be found on Frankenmuth’s website and in the video below.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Grand Rapids, Mich.
One of the world’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park serves more than a half-million visitors annually. Meijer Gardens was recently ranked in the top 100 most-visited art museums worldwide by Art Newspaper, the leading publication in global art news. The 132-acre grounds feature Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; one of the largest children’s gardens in the country; arid and Victorian gardens with bronze sculptures by Degas and Rodin; a carnivorous plant house; outdoor gardens; and a 1900-seat outdoor amphitheater, featuring an eclectic mix of world-renowned musicians every summer. The internationally acclaimed Sculpture Park features a permanent collection including works by Rodin, Oldenburg, Moore, Bourgeois and Plensa, among others. Indoor galleries host changing sculpture exhibitions with recent exhibitions by Picasso, Degas, di Suvero, Borofsky, Calder and Chadwick. Click here for more information.

Soo Locks
Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
The Soo Locks have already been referred to as one of the great wonders of the world and are still the largest & one of the busiest waterway traffic systems on earth! Watching huge vessels pass through the Locks is a unique experience that cannot be seen anywhere else in the United States! The Locks consist of two canals and four locks that allow vessels of many types/sizes to safely traverse the 21-foot drop in elevation of the St. Mary’s River between Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan and Huron. From viewing decks, you can watch “Lakers” and “Salties” (ocean-going vessels) as they travel the seaway between ports and navigate the rise/drop of the water levels. More information can be found at the Soo Locks website.

Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area
Saugatuck, Mich.
The Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area is a 173-acre tract of magnificent duneland along the Lake Michigan shore owned by the City of Saugatuck. The land is home to several species of rare plants, birds and animals, and demonstrates the unique geological and ecological features of Great Lakes dunes. It’s freshwater parabolic dunelands are designated by The National Trust as one of the 11 most endangered ecosystems in the world. The Natural Area is open year round and guided walks are held every Saturday morning at 10 am from May 25, 2013 to Sept 14, 2013.

Head over to the 8th Wonder of the World contest page to cast your vote today!

10 Things To Do in the Great Lakes Bay Region

Bay City’s Tall Ship Celebration begins in just over a week! If you’re planning a trip to the area for the event, take advantage of your time there by seeing what else the Great Lakes Bay Region has to offer. Lindsay Gilbert of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau fills us in on her top 10 must-sees in the area.

Will you be at the Tall Ship Celebration? Check out the blog post we featured last week on the event to learn more!

The Tall Ship Celebration in Bay City will bring thousands to the Great Lakes Bay Region July 11th-14th.  And what a great time to visit other places in the region as well! There is so much to see and experience. Below are just some of the highlights that the region has to offer.  More can be found at visitgreatlakesbay.org.

1. Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum USS Edson DD-946, Bay City

Welcome Aboard! Learn about life on the destroyer named after Major General Merritt “Red Mike” Edson USMC as you walk through the 418-foot historic memorial to those who have protected our nation’s freedom and independence. Tours are conducted daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

2. Delta College Planetarium, Bay City

Delta College’s planetarium is your passport to the stars in downtown Bay City!  Travel on a spectacular journey through space and time.  On the 360°, 50’ diameter dome shaped projection screen, you will see stars, planets and other celestial bodies as they appear from your backyard or from the window of a spaceship.  Experience 3-D starfield projection with audience interaction.  Call (989) 667-2260 or go to delta.edu/planet to begin your trip.

3. Dow Gardens, Midland

Open all year, Midland’s Dow Gardens is truly a garden for all seasons developed by Herbert H. Dow, founder of The Dow Chemical Company.  Discover a 110-acre botanical garden, a system of ponds, a maze, Children’s Garden and Conservatory.  Enjoy outdoor movies and a tour of the estate home.  Times and events can be found at dowgardens.org or call (800) 362-4874.

4. Great Lakes Loons, Midland

Dow Diamond, in downtown Midland, is the home of the Great Lakes Loons, a Single-A Minor League Baseball affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers and member of the Midwest League. Scheduled home games can be found at their website: loons.com.  Call 1-888-678-2255 for tickets.

5. Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, Frankenmuth

The world’s largest Christmas store the size of 1 ½ football fields, Bronner’s in Frankenmuth is a shopper’s dream with over 50,000 trims and gifts.  Open 361 days a year.  Visit their website at bronners.com for directions.

6. Chesaning Showboat Music Festival

The annual variety show occurs the second full week in July. The Showboat serves as a backdrop to the stage for an audience of 6,000. Join in the fun with the Charlie Daniels Band and Bret Michaels.  You won’t want to miss this unique experience. The complete schedule can be found at www.chesaningshowboat.org. Call (989) 845-3056 for tickets.

7. Birch Run Premium Outlets

Stroll through this outdoor center and discover savings every day at 145 designer and name brand outlet stores.  Located in Section F, the Information Center offers a VIP Coupon Book worth hundreds of dollars in additional savings.  Directions and a list of stores can be found at premiumoutlets.com.

8. Celebration Square, Saginaw

There is something for all ages when you visit The Children’s Zoo, Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum, Celebration Skate Park, Hoyt Park, The Dow Event Center, Saginaw Art Museum, Castle Museum, Anderson Enrichment Center, Old Town Saginaw and Japanese Cultural Center and Tea House, all part of Saginaw’s Celebration Square.

The Temple Theatre stage. Photo courtesy of Ryan Collier.

9. Temple Theatre, Saginaw

Celebration Square in downtown Saginaw is the home of the beautiful restored Temple Theatre known as “The Showplace of Northeastern Michigan”.  It has seating for 1,750 and houses the only Barton Butterfield Special organ in original condition.  Events are found on their webpage, as well as tour information, at templetheatre.com or call (877) 754-SHOW (7469).

10. Wilderness Trails Zoo, Birch Run

This unique zoo experience with a mile long trail that winds past trees, ponds and over 50 species of exotic and native animals will be one that you won’t soon forget.  Open daily from May through October, the hours and admission prices can be found at www.wildernesstrailszoo.org.

Lindsay Gilbert became the Digital & Print Marketing Manager for the Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau following her internship with the bureau in the summer of 2011.  As a graduate of Western Michigan University with degrees in both Graphic Design and Business marketing, she utilizes her education and experience to promote the region through digital, print, and social media platforms.  With her hometown also being located in the Great Lakes Bay Region, there’s no better place to live, work, and play!

For more things to do in Bay City and the Great Lakes Bay Region, visit michigan.org.