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. 

Pure Michigan October 2014 Events Roundup

With apple picking, pumpkin carving and hay rides, it’s easy to see why October is a favorite time of year for many. From Monroe all the way to Houghton, there are events for the whole family to enjoy as fall enters full swing.

Below is a roundup of some of the many events going on around the state in October. Visit michigan.org for a complete listing of Michigan events.

 Week of September 29-October 5

A2 Art & Brew
October 2, Ann Arbor
This year visit eight participating breweries that will offer a tasting of its featured craft beer along with a uniquely paired tasty bite that compliments the beer. Join in the fun as local artists design a unique piece of site-specific sidewalk chalk art inspired by the brewery and beer. 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 through Monday, September 29th, $60 thereafter. Purchase tickets early, space is limited to 300 guests. You must be 21 years of age.

Zeeland Pumpkinfest
October 2-4, Zeeland
Pumpkinfest in Zeeland, Michigan, celebrates community, family fun and fall activities! 2014 will mark the 30th year for Pumpkinfest and take place October 2, 3, & 4. The three-day event will feature a number of free and low-cost events that can be enjoyed by all ages. Each year, a theme is chosen and from that theme, downtown Zeeland is decorated in fall decor and parade floats join the fun in matching the theme as well. The 2014 theme is “Pumpkinfest Pride…Celebrating 30 Years”.

Skitoberfest
October 3-4, Boyne Falls
A fall extravaganza and homecoming taking place in the Boyne Mountain Village and surrounding area. Skitoberfest celebrates the best of fall’s family offerings in an Oktoberfest style setting and the coming winter season with a Snowsports Summit hosted by Olympian Cary Adgate. Highlights include gourmet foods from northern Michigan restaurants, markets and farms, Michigan beers, wines and spirits for tasting, plus music and endless family entertainment. Admission is free, and tickets for food, brews and some activities are available. Special event lodging rates are available at Boyne Mountain Resort.

Bangor Apple FestivalBangor apple fest
October 4, Bangor
Fall is a beautiful time in Michigan. From the color of the fall leaves to the taste of a crisp apple, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Head to Bangor for the 36th Annual Bangor Apple festival, for activities that include car shows, lawn mower races, kids’ activities, live entertainment and much more.

Rattlesnake Run 5k
October 5, Rochester
Enjoy the fall colors and run, jog, or walk along the Paint Creek Trail located in Rochester, Michigan, in north Oakland County! Participants will receive a commemorative Rattlesnake Run T-shirt. To add to the fall fun, enjoy cider and donuts from the Paint Creek Cider Mill! Race begins at the Paint Creek Cider Mill.

Week of October 6-12

Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival
October 9-12, Alpena
Tour 11 lighthouses a whole new way. The four day event provides activities for the young and old including lighthouse tours (aerial, boat or personal vehicle), entertainment, and vendors. Climb many of the lighthouses, enjoy live entertainment and lighthouse exhibits, and nautical vendors round out the weekend.

Frankfort Fall Festival
October 11, Frankfort
Fall Festival celebration in Frankfort’s open space. Featuring a parade with the Scottville Clown Band, kid’s games, GIANT pumpkins, squash and watermelons, Master Carver Ed Moody, pumpkin drop on a car and catapults! Make your way to Frankfort for pumpkin decorating, Farmer’s Market and more!

Color Cruise and Island FestivalColor cruise
October 10-12, Grand Ledge
This three day festival is always the second full weekend in October at the Island Park in downtown Grand Ledge. See the beautiful autumn colors by riverboat, canoe, horse & wagon, bicycle or air. This event is filled with fun for the whole family and includes cider pressing, blacksmithing, fur traders, pioneer crafts, candle dipping, pumpkin painting, music, food, and a petting zoo. Shuttle service available from JC Park and the parking area off River Street. Friday is “Seniors Day” with discounts available

Appleumpkin Festival
October 11-12, Tecumseh
Tecumseh’s Appleumpkin Festival features arts and crafts, an antiques street fair, carnival games, midway rides, inflatables, a make-it take-it scarecrow tent and yummy fair food as well as live entertainment. Free parking is available with free shuttle service to transport visitors downtown and to the nearby Kapnick Apple Festival. Local restaurants are ready to serve delicious meals and merchants open their doors and invite you to explore a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. This festival is one you won’t want to miss!

ArtPrize 2014
September 24-October 12, Grand Rapids
ArtPrize is the world’s largest international art competition open to any artist and decided by public vote. Take 11 days to explore over 4500 artists at 515 venues in Grand Rapids and vote for the entries you think should win.

Week of October 13-19

Michigan’s Big Country Fest 2014
October 17-18, Frankenmuth
Slip on your cowboy boots, tip your hat and swing on over to the third annual Michigan’s Big Country Fest. Enjoy live bands, beer & mixed drinks, mechanical bull, down-home BBQ dinners and snacks, line dancing and much more. Free parking, handicapped accessible

Fall Fling Festival
October 18-19, New Era
Autumn is a special time at the farm: beautiful orchards and forests in the peak of fall color change, ripe pumpkins, the most varieties of apples to choose from of any season. That’s the backdrop for the annual Fall Fling Festival! Musicians, mimes, magicians, rides, face painters, balloon tiers, stilt walkers and more will join you at the 70+ animal petting farm. You won’t want to miss Michigan’s only animated chicken show, jumping pillows, pedal carts, duck races, Farming Rocks Gem Mining, Bunker Hill Fruit Cannons, pumpkin moon walk, barrel train rides, Apple Express wagon rides, pumpkin chucker and an eight acre corn maze.

Saginaw Zoo Boo
October 18-19, Saginaw
Put on your costumes and trick-or-treat your way through the decorated zoo! Load your treat bag with goodies from various vendors and booths. Watch Dr. Slime, the mad scientist, put on a mysterious, scientific show! Ticket price includes zoo admission, train and carousel ride, Dr. Slime Show, and trick-or-treating. Zoo members and the general public: $7 discount tickets available through October 17th. October 18th and after tickets are $9. Event also runs October 25 & 26.

The Walk
October 18, Shelby Township
Come dressed in your best costume and head out to Stony Creek Metropark on Saturday, October 18. The Walk offers an accessible and scenic fall route to walkers of all ages, while providing a fun filled and memorable day. Participants age 5 & under are free, ages 6-12 are $15, and ages 13 & up are $30. Halloween costumes or attire are strongly recommended!

2014 Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank MarathonTalmer
October 19, Detroit
There are so many things that make running Detroit unique and exciting – crossing international borders twice, running an “underwater mile”, and the large crowds and entertainers posted every few miles. The sights on Belle Isle are scenic and views of the city from the riverfront will make you wish you had your camera. This race has something for everyone from start to finish. All participants of the Marathon, International Half -Marathon, or U.S.-Only Half-Marathon must be at least 16 years of age. There is no age limit on the 5K or the Marathon Relay. Ages 4-12 are welcome for the Kids Fun Run.

Weeks of October 20-26 & October 27-31

Scarecrow Glow
October 22, Troy
Troy Historic Village is hosting “Scarecrow Glow”, a costume-optional event on Wednesday, October 22, 2014, from 6pm to 9pm. See the magic of the Village at night, and experience an evening of fall fun. Attendees will enjoy food and drinks from Troy establishments, while listening to the sweet sounds of jazz and bluegrass music. Watch a nighttime blacksmithing demonstration and make s’mores. A special gift bag will be given to all attendees. Costumes, especially related to the “Alice in Wonderland” theme, are encouraged. Tickets $40 per person, $50 per person at the door. Adults (21 and older) only.

The Glo Run
October 24, Lansing
The Glo Run is the energy that sparked the night run revolution. This is a 5k course on funroids with stimulating areas along the course. Run a nighttime 5k through a dreamworld full of glowing wonders and music.

Zombie Dash
October 25, Grand Rapids
Get ready for the wildest 5-K you will ever experience. Run a five kilometer course within the quarantine area. Conquer the infamous Apocalypse Avenue and Kill Hill. Dodge over 300 zombies looking for “fast food.” Race against darkness and survive the Zombie apocalypse. You’ll be given three or four “life strips” (flag football flags) to tuck in your pants. For each one you keep, you’ll have one minute subtracted from your time. No worries if you lose both. Just keep running and enjoy the experience of one of the most unique night races ever held.

Halloween in Greenfield VillagePhotos for Pure Michigan
October 10-26, Dearborn
Stroll down streets and alleys haunted by over 1,000 carved jack-o’-lanterns and lavishly costumed characters during America’s most spooktacular Halloween event. This is a kid-friendly, nightmare-free Halloween gathering. October 10-12, 17-19, and 24-26. Tickets rain or shine.

All Things Detroit III
October 26, Detroit
It’s time again for all of Detroit to come together and celebrate an amazing city at All Things Detroit III. This event will feature 60 local business owners with products made in Detroit, Detroit theme art, local bands, entertainment, raffles every 30 minutes, and free All Things Detroit souvenirs for the first 200 guests. This is a Motor City event you won’t want to miss!

Fall Color Tours by Dog Team
September 15 – October 31, Mc Millan
Enjoy the beautiful seasonal changes of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by taking a ride with the sled dogs in our dog-powered trail vehicle. This is a fall color tour like you’ve never seen before! Our fall trips begin at 8 am and 10 am when you will meet your guides and receive an introduction to sled dog training. You’ll see how we hook up the dogs and even learn to harness a dog if you’d like. You’ll also get a tour of our kennel and the opportunity to hold adorable puppies. We’ll stop along the route for photos. We’ll have coffee or hot cocoa and a homemade treat when we return. Plan about two hours for your tour.

Eisenhower Dance: The Light ShowAlicia Light Show
October 31, East Lansing
Back by popular demand after the sensational Red, Hot and Blue, and fun-filled Motown in Motion, Eisenhower Dance returns with a visually stunning co-commission by Wharton Center and the Detroit Opera House. The Light Show matches choreographers with lighting designers for four cleverly electrifying pieces incorporating lasers, light, and innovative dance. One of the finest contemporary dance ensembles today, Michigan’s acclaimed Eisenhower Dance combines remarkable technique with inventive choreography. Ticketed event.

With so much to do around the state in October, what will you do? 

Frightful Fun at the World’s Largest Haunted House

Did you know that Michigan is home to the world’s largest haunted house? Erebus, located in Pontiac, is a four story haunted house that was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Largest Walk-Through Haunted Attraction in 2005. Today, Ed Terebus, who owns and operators Erebus with his brother Jim, fills us in on the haunted house business and what you need to know before making a visit to Erebus.

Q: For those who have never been to Erebus, can you give us an overview of the popular haunted destination?

A: Erebus is the result of Dr. Colber, who worked for the government to build a time machine, then later worked on building the time machine on his own.  He was successful at sending people back into time, with the only one glitch being that the time period looked at the people like a virus and wiped them out.  Determined to overcome this glitch, he sent in group after group of his own personnel, but they were unsuccessful and he ended up broke and lacking the proper personnel to run his machine.

Dr. Colber came up with a brilliant idea to disguise his time machine as a haunted house (Erebus) and have the general public help fund his project and use the people going through as human guinea pigs. The theme is time travel

Q: How did you get started in the haunt industry and what’s the history behind Erebus?

A: My brother Jim’s boss made him join the Jaycees. They were doing their annual Halloween haunted house, and it was like he was meant to do.  Years later when he was working for Ford, he was laid off and decided to open a haunted house.  The first haunt was 1200sqft. and $1.50,  the second year 2,800sqft and $3.00 and the third year 3,400sqft and $4.00. We ran that for 13 years, then bought a bigger space.

Q: What are some new attractions visitors can expect this year?

A: Erebus, in Greek Mythology, is the son of Chaos and the brother of Night. This year we’re bringing in the “Big Mama” – Chaos is Here 2012.  Chaos is unleashing an all-out assault… we’ll hit you from every angle with full on fear… and show no mercy.

Q: What’s one thing visitors should be aware of before they visit Erebus?

A: Michigan is the haunted attraction capital of the world with more than 70 haunts in a 50 mile radius.  We can’t buy that really cool prop from the trade show because 25 other haunts will have it in this market. We pride ourselves as one of the most unique haunts in the country by designing and building almost all of our own props in house.

Here is a good example: Buried Alive!  will put you in a room, slam the door and dump 10,000 balls on your head (and bury you alive)!  How long can you hold your breath?  We spent over six years thinking about this and if you want to experience it you have to come to Erebus!

Like I said before, we pride ourselves as being one of the most unique haunts in the country by building almost all of our own props in house. You will see things here that were born from the imaginations of a couple guys that have been thinking about scaring people for 33 years!  If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it!  That is a motto of success; we just applied it to scaring people!

Q: What’s your favorite part of Erebus?

A: We never work on the same thing!  Every year we try to out do what we did the year before, so our creative juices are always flowing.  Even better than that, I get paid to scare people!  LOL!

Q: What makes Pontiac or Michigan in general the right place for Erebus?

A: Halloween needs a place with four season,s and Michigan is beautiful in the fall!   Pontiac is right for Erebus because it’s in the heart of Oakland County, and every major street leads to Pontiac… just look for the search lights!

Q: Where can people go to learn more?

A: Please visit HauntedPontiac.com to learn more about Erebus.

Ed Terebus and his brother Jim have 66 years combined experience in scaring people for a living as owner/operators of haunted attractions in Michigan.

For other haunted attractions in Michigan, visit michigan.org. Have you been to Erebus – The World’s Largest Haunted House, or do you plan to make a visit this year? Share with us below!