Pure Michigan February 2015 Events Roundup

February may be the shortest month of the year, but there’s no shortage of winter fun happening around the state! From the Michigan International Auto Show in Grand Rapids to Free Fishing Weekend, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, pull out your calendars and pack your bags, a snow day getaway awaits you in Pure Michigan. For a full list of events, visit michigan.org/events.

February 1 – 8

Au Gres Polar Splash
January 31 – February 1, Au Gres
The Au Gres Area Chamber of Commerce is helping break up those “Winter Blues” by hosting a winter festival at the Au Gres City Park. Enjoy activities such as ice skating, soup cook off, music, polar dip, fishing contest, beer tent, & poker run! This will also coincide with an exciting snowmobile drag race event at the Au Gres DNR Breakwall site along the Au Gres River!

CrossCountrySkiersMeijer State Winter Games Cross Country Nordic Ski Race
February 1, Grayling
The Meijer State Games of Michigan added the inaugural Winter Games to continue fulfilling the mission of being a grassroots organization that welcomes athletes from all ages and abilities. The Winter Games consisted of 12 different sports, including the famous nordic ski race,  in which 1,645 athletes participated. Head to Grayling for an epic winter adventure!

Meridian Winter Blast
February 6-8, Detroit
Meridian Winter Blast, produced by Jonathan Witz & Associates, features hip and cool winter events centered around Campus Martius Park. Many signature winter activities are returning with Buick sponsoring the 200 Foot Snow Slide, free ice-skating in Campus Martius Park, professional skating demonstrations, unique sculptures in the Flagstar Bank Ice Garden, the Winter Blast Off presented by GM Foundation and more.

International 500 Snowmobile Race
February 7, Sault Saint Marie
Come join Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, for the 47th Annual International I-500 Snowmobile Race and experience all the thrills of NASCAR on a one-mile oval ice track. The I-500 is the biggest event in the Upper Peninsula and in the entire snowmobile-racing world. When drivers accelerate to speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour on the straightaways, your heart will race!

ManVsMountainMan vs. Mountain
February 7, Mt. Pleasant

A unique winter 5K obstacle course that challenges participants to brave Michigan’s brutal elements and go beyond the average obstacle course. Run, climb and jump your way through obstacles that are strategically placed along the course. The challenge begins in front of Nelson Park and will take you through Mt. Pleasant’s beautiful park system.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park – Guided Snowshoe Hike
February 7, Paradise
Discover how easy snowshoeing really is during this guided hike through the snow-covered woods of Tahquamenon. This fun, inexpensive winter sport can keep you healthy and happy through the cold winter months. A limited number of snowshoes are available to borrow at no charge.

February 9 – 15

Frostbite Winter Festival
February 12-15, Harrison
This four day event features the unique and popular golf tournament on the ice of Budd Lake, an ice fishing tournament with cash prizes, an arts & crafts fair, children’s carnival, Snowmobile Radar Run, Polar Dip, silent auction, bar tour, scavenger hunt and a whole lot more! Set in beautiful Harrison, this event has something for everyone – whether you love the Michigan outdoors or prefer to play indoors.

UP200UP200 Sled Dog Race 2015
February 12 -16, Marquette
The UP 200 is one of America’s premier 12-dog, mid-distance sled dog races and also a pre-qualifier for the Iditarod. 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. The UP 200 trail covers 240 miles of challenging terrain through the areas of Marquette, Grand Marais, Wetmore, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and finishes at Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette. Come join in the excitement for the start of the race located in downtown Marquette! If you’re looking for more Dogsled action, check out the Midnight Run!

Labatt Blue UP Pond Hockey Championship
February 13-15, Saint Ignace
The Labatt Blue UP Pond Hockey Championship drew a record 191 teams from 11 states to St. Ignace in 2014. Come and play in one of the few pond hockey tournaments where the ‘pond’ is actually one of the five Great Lakes – Lake Huron! This is a USA Hockey sanctioned tournament, and welcomes players over the age of 21 to participate.

Ice Fishing Tournament
February 14, Mayville
On February 14, 2015, The Fowler Center will be having its 20th annual Ice Fishing Tournament, hosted by Rob and Susie Trott of Great Lakes Outdoors. Come fish for the chance to catch the grand prize pike. Cost is $20 per session for ages 17 and over, $5 per session for those under 17.

Romancing the Riesling
February 14, Traverse City
We’ve long had a romance with the Riesling grape, and Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula (WOMP) will be pairing this beautiful wine with a complementary dish that will possibly even make you fall in love a little bit more. Head to Traverse City to keep up that love affair with your favorite wine!

February 16 – 22

Grand Rapids Boat Show
February 18-22, Grand Rapids
A West Michigan tradition! Exhibits include boats up to 50 feet, fishing boats, ski boats, pontoons, kayaks and motor yachts. Also, boating accessories and services like marina slips and ski gear abound. It is one of the finest water sports expos in the country featuring the Key West Crab Shack, an antique and classic boat display and the Tuber’s Truckload sale.

Meijer State Games of Michigan – Winter Games
February 20-22, Cannonsburg
The Meijer State Games of Michigan is a multi-sport, Olympic-style event that welcomes athletes regardless of age or ability. The Games embody the values of participation, sportsmanship and healthy living among residents of the state of Michigan. The philosophy of the Meijer State Games of Michigan is that everyone participates regardless of age or ability; everyone is welcome and everyone plays. Opening Ceremonies for all participants will be held Friday, February 20, 2015 at Cannonsburg Ski Area.

Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Animal Show
February 21, Kalamazoo
Head to Kalamazoo to meet your new slithering best friend! Buy sell or trade a variety of reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and other exotic pets. Snakes, lizards and many more exotic animals will be on display and ready to warm your heart during the winter season.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Guided Snowshoe Hike
February 21, Ontonagon
Snowshoers on this hike can ride the ski lift up the hill then snowshoe down the east side of the ski area. With a stop at East Vista for the view then bust through fresh snow on the way back down. Bring a camera on this picturesque hike. All experience levels welcome. Snowshoes can be borrowed from the park if needed, just arrive a few minutes early. The hikes is 2 hours and of moderate difficulty.

Michigan Historical Museum – Picture-Perfect Photography Hunt
February 21, Lansing
Bring your camera or smartphone and find your artistic voice in the museum galleries! Take a selfie and then post it to the Michigan Historical Museum page on Facebook. Usually, flash is not allowed in the exhibits, so look for the special “flash allowed” signs. This activity is included with museum admission.

February 23 – 28

Outdoorama
February 26-March 1
Whether it’s hunting, fishing, boating, canoeing, hiking, camping, mushroom hunting or bird watching – this is one of the year’s best shows. The Outfitter’s Expo area along with major feature attractions like Big Buck Night, Entertaining Dog Acts and the Trout Pond provide the best place to book the trip of a lifetime or entertain the family. In addition, there will be a huge display of boats, docks and lifts and marine accessories.

Tony-N-Tina’s Wedding
February 27, Warren
At Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, audience members play the roles of Tony n’ Tina’s family and friends. Allow yourself to be caught up in the activities! This incredible evening of entertainment will be something you and your friends will be talking about for many years. $63 advance tickets include: show ticket, champagne toast, Andiamo gourmet Italian dinner, a piece of wedding cake, and entertainment.

timthumbWinter Beer Festival
February 27-28, Grand Rapids
Winter Beer Festival is an outdoor celebration of Michigan beer, featuring over 600 beers from more than 70 breweries. Dress for winter weather and let the hearty winter brews warm your soul. Snow, rain, or shine.

Big M Moonlight Ski
February 28, Manistee
The Big M Moonlight ski and snowshoe is a tradition that will get you out of your house on a beautiful winter’s night and ski the freshly groomed trails of Big M! Portions of trails are lit up by candle light making this a memorable trek for any cross country ski enthusiast. During the event, event organizers open up the warming lodge and offer warm desserts and drinks to warm up after an evening of great skiing.

Polar Plunge
February 28, Chippewa Lake
Get in touch with your inner Michigander and take a dive into frozen Chippewa Lake! A polar plunge is an experience unlike any other! The Chippewa Lake – Mecosta/Osceola County Polar Plunge takes place February 28, 2015, at Chippewa Lake. The parade of costumes will start at 12:30pm. The After Splash Bash will take place immediately following the plunge at the Chippewa Township Community Building.

What’s your favorite way to spend a snow day in Pure Michigan? Share your photos enjoying winter fun using #PureMichiganSnowDay on Twitter and Instagram or visit michigan.org/snowday.

Pure Michigan January 2015 Events Roundup

The New Year has almost arrived and we couldn’t be more excited about everything happening throughout Pure Michigan in 2015. From snowshoeing tours to the world famous North American International Auto Show, January is filled with events for everyone to enjoy. For a full list of events in Michigan, visit michigan.org/events.

Week of December 29 – January 5

Marquette New Year’s Eve Ball Drop
December 31 – January 1
Every New Year’s Eve at the intersection of Washington St. and Front St. becomes the location where locals and visitors come together in a large crowd to welcome in the New Year. On the 12th strike an illuminated ball is lowered from the historic Savings Bank Building. This year will mark the 26th anniversary!

Charlevoix Bridge Drop
December 31 – January 1
Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a bang! Charlevoix’s second annual Bridge Drop will ring in 2015 with a downtown party full of festivities and fun. Daytime family friendly activities include a winter petting zoo, camel rides, snowman building, food trucks, s’mores and bonfires. The evening’s events of live music and activities throughout Charlevoix’s restaurants, bars and shops will culminate with the “bridge drop” and firework display at midnight. Fun for all, and all for fun!

Snowshoes

Family Snowshoe Hike
January 3, Midland
Whether you’re a beginner or have strapped snowshoes on many times before, the whole family is welcome to join a walk on the Chippewa Nature Center trails. You’ll be trained how to look for animal tracks, birds, and other points of interest and enjoy the snowy scenery.

Full Moon Night Skiing
January 3, Roscommon
Experience the magic of winter in a whole new light! Every full moon during the ski season, the Trapper’s Cabin trail will be lit with torches, creating a truly unique and memorable nighttime experience. There will also be a bonfire and hot chocolate served at Trapper’s Cabin!

Brides To-Be Show
January 4, Clinton Township
The holidays are over and you got engaged! How exciting! Now that you have all your family still here in town, why not have them join you at our biggest Eastside bridal show of the year at the Fern Hill Golf Club in Clinton Township. Find everything you need to plan the perfect wedding. Up to $20,000 in prizes including three different honeymoons, free tuxedos, and so much more! View over 80 local wedding professionals showcasing all the latest trends in weddings!

Week of January 5 -12

Ultimate Fishing Show
January 8-11, Novi
Follow the stream to Novi to experience Michigan’s largest pure-fishing show. This show is all about fishing tackle, fishing trips, fishing boats and will features Lake Ultimate, Trout Pond, Hawg Trough, Seminar Stages, Fish Fry, and more. The show appeals to anglers of all ages with all levels of experience.

Sleepy Hollow State Park Ice Art and S’mores
January 10, Laingsburg
Meet at the beach to create your own masterpiece of ice art and have a s’more when you’re done! Sleepy Hollow State Park is a great place to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with family while you create memories and beautiful works of icy art.

Dog SleddingMuskallonge Lake State Park 16th Annual Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race
January 10, Newberry
Have you been waiting to see a sled dog race? Here’s your chance! The Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race is a combination of pro and sport classes with professional 12-dog and 8-dog teams running 60 and 40 miles respectively, and with sports classes of 2- to 6-dog teams running from four to 30 miles. “Mush!” your way to Newberry to check it out!

Advanced Auto Parts Monster Jam
January 10, Detroit
Monster Jam stars the biggest performers on four wheels: Monster Jam Trucks! The twelve-feet-tall, ten-thousand-pound machines will bring you to your feet, racing and repping up a custom-designed track full of obstacles to soar over – OR smash through!

Winter Wetland Wildlife
January 10, Bay City
Discover Michigan’s winter survivors, the animals that are active throughout this long cold season of hardship. Learn how you can landscape your backyard to help them survive the harsh winter of Michigan through various plantings and artificial shelters. Take a look at the different feeder designs available and construct a feeder to take home.

Week of January 12 – 19

Wine About Winter
January 16, Grand Haven
Quit whining about winter and do something about it! What could be better than a multi-venue, multi-vineyard wine tasting focused solely on Michigan wines? Also featured will be appetizers and Michigan artists. Rick Sigsby, the noted Michigan author, will be present and signing copies of his book: Michigan’s Holy Water (The Great Lakes Wine Bible). Wander the snow-free warmth of heated sidewalks and a cozy downtown and discover your new favorite Michigan vintage. All you have to lose is your case of the winter blues!

IceFishing

Bay City Recreation Area under the Ice
January 17, Bay City
Ever been ice fishing? Ever wonder what happens under the ice? Come discover who sleeps all winter and who is wide awake, actively seeking out food and shelter and avoiding predators under the ice. Includes live animal encounters!

Tecumseh Ice Sculpture Festival
January 17 – 18, Tecumseh
Enjoy watching ice carvers as they create glistening works of art before your eyes. There will be ice carving demonstrations, dueling sculpture carving competitions, interactive ice sculptures, the Winter Warm-up Beverage Walk, Chocolate Walk, Children’s Craft Activities, merchant sales and specials, Lost Arts demonstrations, live music & Bell Choir performances, ice skating at Adams Park and much more!

Kalkaska Winterfest
January 17 – 18, Kalkaska
Top sled dogs and their drivers from all over North America will attend this two-day race of heart-pounding excitement. Other activities include IWPA dog weight pull, outhouse races, Corvettesilent auction, craft show and more!

North American International Auto Show
January 17 – 25, Detroit
Now in its 27th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

 

January 19 – 26

Tip Up Town USA
January 23 – 25, Houghton Lake
2015 is the 65th year for Tip-Up Town USA, a family festival held on Houghton Lake. Activities for all ages that include parade, ice fishing contest, ice slide, family fun tent, carnival, outdoor games, snowmobile drag races and more.

Parrots of the Caribbean | Concert
January 24, Coldwater
To combat the winter weather, enjoy a trip to Margaritaville. Voted the number one Jimmy Buffet tribute act in the country, this group of five musicians brings excitement, energy and a night filled with warm-weather flair.

Michigan Historical Museum: A Statehood Day Celebration
Michigan-Historical-Museum1-300x200January 24, Lansing
This year, our annual Statehood Day celebration honors the 178th birthday of the Great Lakes State. In the museum, you’ll discover how Michigan joined the United States and what life was like for pioneers; plus, you’ll enjoy hands-on activities, costumed interpreters and unique artifacts.

Chili Winter Evening
January 24, Lansing
Warm up with a steaming hot bowl of chili on this cold winter evening. This family-friendly event includes a horse-drawn sleigh ride to see the beautiful trails of Woldumar Nature Center in the winter, campfire to warm up near, and live music.

Harlem Globetrotters
January 26, Saginaw
The world famous Harlem Globetrotters will bring their unrivaled family show to The Dow Event Center on Monday, January 26, 2015, at 7pm. They will face a great challenge, the Washington Generals!

January 27 – 31

Festival of the Arts
January 29 – February 28
The Festival of the Arts is an annual series of entertainment, educational and cultural events offered daily throughout February in Big Rapids. The Festival features a variety of art, film, and music presentations, as well as interactive workshops and contests. All Events are held in Big Rapids.

Little Red Riding Hood
January 31, Grand Rapids
The timeless tale of a spunky young girl and a crafty wolf whose plans are foiled by a modern day twist. Featuring the Grand Rapids Symphony and the dancers of the Grand Rapids Ballet. Don’t miss the chance to experience this exciting and classic “tail”!

Muskegon Snowfest
January 31, Muskegon
Celebrating its 31st anniversary, the Muskegon Snowfest brings fun activities for the young at heart and all families and visitors of Muskegon County. This one day festival, centered on Western Avenue, brings the traditional soup/chili cook-off by area restaurants, kidsfest, snow cornhole tournament, snow volleyball, and an entertainment tent with live music, plus – it’s heated!

Ice Breakers 2015
January 31 – February 2
West Michigan’s predominant and growing winter festival is showcasing dazzling ice sculptures, Chili Cook-off, Pub Slide, horse drawn wagon rides, kid crafts, and many more exciting events. A major highlight of the event is the sculpting of more than 50 blocks of ice, weighing 300 pounds each, into incredible works of frozen art. While admiring all the amazing ice displays along the way

Do you have an annual January tradition to kick off the New Year? Share it by commenting below!

Ten Cherished Pure Michigan Holiday Traditions

Are you ready for the holiday season in Pure Michigan? Today, our guest bloggers from The Awesome Mitten, plus a few of our Facebook fans, share their most cherished holiday traditions. 

As we move in to yet another holiday season, the staff of The Awesome Mitten thought it best to take a look back at some of our most cherished holiday memories and traditions. This special compilation would not be possible without the contributions of Team Awesome members Hayley Serr, Rebecca Calkins, and Rachell Weeks.

Rachell

Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays. It’s also one of the few days of the year I wish for snow. My parents made the decision when I was a baby to relocate from England to the United States for work and we’ve been here ever since. Holidays have always been quiet for us, given that all of our extended family still lives overseas, but my parents did an excellent job of keeping with tradition; needless to say, I grew up with Christmases that were different from all the other kids.

Christimas Eve is hands down the busiest day of the year in the kitchen! Every year, we get up early, head to Meijer and do all of the food shopping for the feasts of the next two days. Once the mad dash around the store is finished, we head to Downtown Holland for some coffee at JPs Coffee House, and in recent years lunch at New Holland Brewery before stopping at the Holland Peanut Store to pick up chocolates for Santa.

Once home, we spend the afternoon prepping food for the next couple of days. In British tradition, this means a full feast of: Brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes, sausages wrapped in bacon, dates wrapped in bacon, bread sauce, cranberry orange sauce, chestnut stuffing, sausage rolls, turkey, Christmas pudding, and mince pies.

Before going to bed, we make reindeer food (oats and glitter) and run around the yard scattering it everywhere. The glitter helps Rudolf find the food!

Hayley

In the Serr family, we have one tradition that many of my friends have never experienced: each year, we go to Niklas Tree Farm in Metamora to cut down our own (real) Christmas tree. Likely because we’ve done this every year for as long as I can remember, rumbling down the hill toward the fields of Christmas trees on one of Niklas’ tractors feels to me like the beginning of the holiday season. There is always some debate as to the tree (needs to be nice and conical, not too bushy or too sparse), but eventually, we always find “the one.” And after that perfect tree had been selected and cut down, we’d load it up on the top of the car and head for home.

Once inside and snugly in its stand at home, my dad would hang the lights, my mom the garland, and then each of us would open our box of ornaments (most wrapped in some sort of Christmas-themed napkins or tissue paper for safe keeping). As my two sisters and I got older, our boxes grew to the point that we began needing to cut down two trees just to fit them all.

Other bits of the tradition changed as we aged, as well—for example, we are absolutely not allowed to wake our parents up until 8 AM on Christmas morning, and are only allowed to LOOK at the tree with our presents underneath starting at 7 AM. But we still pile in the car every year to head to Niklas Tree Farm to bring home our perfect tree.

Rebecca

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 9.28.58 AM

I am a big fan of Christmas Lights. Even though my family was never the biggest of decorators, I love to drive around the neighborhoods that always took it to the next level. I remember piling into the minivan to drive through the Nite Lites at the Jackson County Fairgrounds; at a full mile long, Nite Lites is one of the longest light shows in Michigan.

We’d tune the radio to 106.9 Home.FM for “All Christmas Music All the Time,” programming that always starts on Thanksgiving Day (but let’s face it, in our house the Christmas Music starts playing right after Halloween). The van would slowly crawl through the grounds as we were ooo-ing and aww-ing at the newest decorations, laughing, joking and/or fighting about the silly lights. Is it a cat or a chipmunk? We were never really sure.

Then, we’d park and going into the American One Events Center for a hot chocolate and to stroll through the decorated Christmas Trees, each one decorated by a local non-profit. We would vote for our favorite tree with donations, usually just change from our mom’s purse. The littlest kids would wait in line to visit Santa or if they were lucky pet the live reindeer too. To this day it is an annual tradition that continues even if we don’t continue to stare with childlike wonderment. We have to visit our favorite chipmunk, right?

Each one of us has a holiday tradition that ties us back to home. Spending the holiday season in Michigan is one thing that so many of us have in common — that, coupled with our love for the Great Lakes State, helps us stay connected to one another.

IMG_0836Compiled by Erin Bernhard, Managing Editor at The Awesome Mitten. Erin considers herself a simple northern Michigan twentysomething who loves good microbrews, great wine, summertime grillouts, well-roasted coffee and Traverse City.

 

 

From Our Fans:

Our Facebook fans hold special holiday and traditions near and dear to their hearts. Check them out below. 

We have to watch the Lions on Thanksgiving with a traditional dinner and then turkey sandwiches with mayo on squishy bread in the evening! – Facebook Fan Carol DeVore

Hosting dinner for anyone we know without family in the area. my husband attends the Maritime academy, so we pack the place with anyone who needs a surrogate ‘home’ for the day or weekend. Guest beds & couches are always available & usually get filled! – Facebook Fan Whitney Fisher Miller

1497721_10152475224943289_675394493_nMine is a trip to Frankenmuth. A great dinner at Zehnders, and just enjoying the beauty of the town. -Facebook fan Kimberly J. Pachey

Church attendance and gathering with family on the holiday for a meal. – Facebook fan Rita Gerstheimer

Lions football is a tradition! Even after we were uprooted to the Chicago area, Thanksgiving is food, drinks, and Lions football. – Facebook fan Cait Stephanie

My folks had a hunting cabin on 40 acres in West Branch. Other than a pump in the sink there was no running water. Out house. Fire place, battery operated radio and comic books. My Dad was a meat cutter so he dressed out his own deer. There was always snow on the ground when we sent up and it looked like a Christmas Card. Thinking of it makes me smile! – Facebook fan Margaret Proulx

During hunting season, my mom and I always put up our Christmas tree and decorations when the men were gone and not under foot! -Facebook fan Vicki Goodwin Meisel

Where in Michigan do you spend the holiday season? What is your favorite holiday tradition?