Experience Serious Laughs in Grand Rapids this Month

Have you been looking for an excuse to explore the west side of Michigan? Consider LaughFest in Grand Rapids! LaughFest is an annual comedy-filled event you won’t want to miss.  

The sixth annual LaughFest boasts hundreds of comedic acts including solo performers, groups, and community showcase participants March 10-20 in and around Grand Rapids. With big name acts including Seth Myers, Kathy Griffin and Emmy Award winner and Grammy Award nominee David Cross there is someone to fit everyone’s sense of humor.

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

“It’s one of the many things that makes West Michigan a unique place,” Joanne Roehm, festival director for Gilda’s LaughFest, said. “LaughFest is a great opportunity to get out of the house, laugh a lot, and beat the winter blues – all for a good cause. Raising funds for free cancer and grief programming offered through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.”

Over the past five years, the ten-day festival has raised over $1,000,000 in proceeds for Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids which provides free emotional healthcare to children, adults, families, and friends on any kind of cancer journey or those grieving the death of someone in their life due to any cause.

This year, LaughFest partnered with over 50 locations throughout Grand Rapids for #selfieswithsmiles. This fun, social media campaign is a fun and easy way to get involved with LaughFest and win some great prizes to commemorate your stay!

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

To enter, while out and about in Grand Rapids, look for a LaughFest #selfieswithsmiles poster at most of the LaughFest key venues and snap your selfie! Then simply tag #selfieswithsmiles and #experiencegrandrapids on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and you’re entered to win LaughFest tickets and swag, Beer City USA merchandise, and restaurant gift certificates. Find and take selfies with as many #selfieswithsmiles posters as you can for more chances to win in the weekly drawing. Winners are announced via social media so be sure to follow and “like” LaughFest and Experience Grand Rapids on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

When asked if any of the LaughFest comedians might be at the #selfiewithsmiles locations, Roehm answered coyly, “You never know what will happen during LaughFest!”

So get your tickets and head on over to Grand Rapids for LaughFest 2016. It promises to be seriously funny.

Have you ever attended LaughFest? Share your experience with us below!

A February Full of Pure Michigan Events

February is nearly here and we couldn’t be more excited about the upcoming events across Pure Michigan. This year, we even have an extra day in February to enjoy! What better way to spend it than exploring and having fun in the Great Lakes State. From winter festivals to snowmobiling, the second month of the year is filled with events that everyone can enjoy. For a full list of events in Michigan, visit michigan.org/events.

And remember, it’s winter in Pure Michigan and time to take your kids on a snow day!  All 4th and 5th grade students ski free in Michigan…and you don’t need to be a Michigander to take part.  All you need is a Cold is Cool Ski & Ride Passport and your child skis free at 30 participating ski areas across the state.  More information can be found at Michigan Snowsports Industries Association.

February 1-8

Van Riper State Park – Lantern Lit Snowshoe
February 5, Champion

This event, brought to you by the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources, will be an enchanted evening of fun in the snow. You will be able to experience the beautiful 1.25 mile lantern lit snowshoe trail at Van Riper State Park. The trail begins about a mile west of the main campground entrance at the rustic Peshekee Cabin. The lantern lit trail will take place from 7 – 9 p.m. and there will be a cozy fire to warm up by inside the cabin along with some snacks, coffee, and hot cocoa.

Ice Sculpture at the Annual Magical Ice Fest in St. Joseph

12th Annual Magical Ice Fest
February 5-7, St. Joseph

On this weekend, downtown St. Joseph is hosting its 12th Annual Ice Carving Festival! They’ve got frosty fun planned all weekend long, including certified ice competitions, a Snow Biz Scavenger Hunt, Fire & Ice Tower display, the 3rd Annual Ice Fest 5k Chocolate Walk/Run, and much more. Be sure to check it out!

Ice Breaker 2016
February 5-7, South Haven

Ice Breaker is West Michigan’s predominant and growing winter festival which showcases dazzling ice sculptures, a chili cook-off, a 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.

International 500 Snowmobile Race 2016
February 6, Sault St. Marie

Go to the 48th Annual International I-500 Snowmobile Race and experience all the thrills of NASCAR on a one-mile oval ice track. The I-500 is one of the biggest events in the Upper Peninsula and in the entire snowmobile-racing world. No Hans devices. No padding. Just 100% raw courage! When drivers accelerate to speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour on the straightaways, your heart will race. Come join this fantastic event.

Beer Assortment at the Michigan Beer & Wine Festival

Michigan Beer & Wine Festival
February 6, Gaylord

As part of the Alpenfrost Festival, the Michigan Beer & Wine Festival 2016 will have 20 Michigan breweries and 10 Michigan vineyards on site. It is in a new location – The Lodge at Treetops Resort so be sure not to miss it! This festive event kicks off with the annual Cardboard Sled Race.

February 9-15

Michigan Senior Olympic Winter Games
February 9-15, Rochester

The Michigan Senior Olympics is hosting their Winter Games this month. Events offered include badminton, billiards, bocce ball, cross-country skiing, dancesport, pickleball, powerlifting, racquetball, men’s & women’s ice hockey, snowshoeing and table tennis.

Detroit Camper & RV Show exhibit

The 50th Annual Detroit Camper & RV Show
February 10-14, Novi

2016 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Detroit Camper & RV Show! The Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds will celebrate with special exhibits and events throughout the show including an original 1937 Hayes luxury travel trailer RV, manufactured in Grand Rapids. Come see all the different brands and units displayed, including folding campers, motorhomes, travel trailers, truck campers and fifth wheel travel trailers.

U.P. 200 Sled Dog Race
February 12-14, Marquette

The UP200 is one of America’s premier 12-dog, mid-distance sled dog races and draws mushers from around the United States and Canada. It is an Iditarod qualifying race that starts in downtown Marquette. The UP200 trail covers 240 miles of challenging terrain from Marquette to Grand Marais, Michigan, and back again through forested land and near-wilderness. Mushers face hills, creek crossings, deep snow, and isolated trail. This is a true test of skill and stamina! The first leg of the trail is from Marquette to Wetmore, a distance of approximately 64 miles. The return to Marquette is over the same trail. The race starts in Marquette on Friday evening, February 12th, 2016, and ends in Marquette Sunday afternoon, February 14th.

West Michigan 28th Annual Golf Show
February 12-14, Grand Rapids

For over 25 years, West Michigan has started their golf season off with the West Michigan Golf Show. There will be information on local courses and resorts, skill challenges, Michael Breed from Golf Chanel’s “The Golf Fix,” and more! With the area’s top equipment dealers, courses and resorts, you can plan your entire summer of golf, and even tee off for the first time of the season, all inside DeVos Place!

Annual Ice Fishing Tournament in Mayville

21th Annual Ice Fishing Tournament
February 13, Mayville

The Fowler Center, along with Rob and Susie Trott of Great Lakes Outdoors, will be hosting two fishing sessions for this event. Fishing license fees will be waived due to Michigan’s free fishing weekend. Also available on the day of the event are concessions, a chicken lunch, raffle prizes, door prizes, 50/50, and the chance to win $7,000 if you catch the Grand Prize Pike!

Wine Not? – Winter Wine Festival
February 13, Kalamazoo

Check out the Winter Wine Festival! All your favorite wineries from around Michigan and across the country will be in one place. It will feature wine tasting and sampling, food pairings, meet and greet with the winemakers, and live music from the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. Sip, stroll, and relax in the warm indoors with friends and great wines!

February 16-22

Northern Fatbike SummitNorthern Fatbike Summit in Marquette
February 18-21, Marquette

Fatbiking at its finest is more than just five inch wide tires and a load of fun. This growing segment of two-wheeled transportation is on the rise, but where and how? Like any sport in its infancy, fat bikers often run into access dilemmas from land users already playing another way.

The goal for the Summit is to combine multiple perspectives and experiences to educate people on multi-use trail solutions while riding some of the best snow around. This is a great opportunity to check out a new sport!

Rat Fest
February 20, Ypsilanti

The sorely missed homebrew club festival is back for 2016 with a lineup you don’t want to miss! The tickets include entrance to the event, a taste of the 32 beers brewed by participating homebrew clubs, and light snacks from the acclaimed ABC Microbrewery kitchen.

Rifle River Recreation Area – Winterfest
February 20, Lupton

Experience winter fun at the Rifle River Recreation Area! Join for free (cook your own) hotdogs, coffee and hot chocolate. There will be hayrides and winter activities such as sledding, cross country skiing, ice fishing, snowshoeing (bring your own equipment for activities). The event will be held in snow, rain or shine.

February 22-29

Twilight Skate
February 25, Portage

No school on February 26 means late night fun and excitement at the ice rink on February 25! Bring your friends and skate under the stars as prizes are pumped out and lights are dimmed down. Colorful lighting and upbeat music will compliment this electrifying skating event! Be sure to check it out.

2016 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships
February 25-27, Kalamazoo

This three day event is one of four U.S. Figure Skating championships in the country. Athletes from across the United States will participate in this event. Top teams will be competing for a spot at the World Championships & other international competitions. GKSA, Wings Event Center, and Discover Kalamazoo combined forces to bid on this event, and were awarded the competition because of the strength of GKSA as a growing club, the outstanding ice facilities and the vibrant community that is Kalamazoo.

Model T display at Autorama Museum Days at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

2016 Autorama Museum Days
February 26-28, Detroit

Join the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant for their special 2016 Autorama Show opening! Tours are three times a day at 10 AM, Noon, and 2 PM. Visit the factory where the Model T was born and be sure to dress warmly, as the building is not heated.

4th Annual Winter Wine Down
February 27, Newberry

Experience the 4th Annual Winter Wine Down, hosted by the Newberry Kiwanis Club at the Newberry Elks Lodge #1705. There will be great wines, cheese, bread and silent auction. The Elks will also have a few dinner specials available after the Wine Down.

Winter Blast Half Marathon
February 28, Portage

The Fourth Annual Winter Blast Half Marathon, 10k and 5k, is presented in partnership by Kalamazoo Area Runners (KAR) and the City of Portage Join in this extraordinary community celebration of health and wellness. The half marathon, 10k and 5k courses highlight the Portage Trail system and include a mix of mostly flat paved bike trail and roads.

Pure Michigan January 2016 Events Roundup

January is just around the corner and we couldn’t be more excited to start the New Year with everything happening throughout Pure Michigan in 2016. From winter festivals to snowshoeing (we hope!), the first month of the year is filled with events that everyone can enjoy. For a full list of events in Michigan, visit michigan.org/events.

Week of January 1-4

Shen Yun | Dance & Martial Arts Performance
January 1-3, Detroit
For 5,000 years, divine culture flourished in the land of China. Humanity’s treasure was nearly lost, but through breathtaking music and dance,Shen Yun is bringing back this glorious culture. Shen Yun brings the profound spirit of this lost civilization to life on stage with unrivaled artistic mastery. Every dance movement, every musical note, makes this a stunning visual and emotional experience you won’t find anywhere else.

Shoe Year Hike: Lantern Lit Ski and Snowshoe Event
January 2, Ludington
Start the New Year with a Shoe Year’s Hike at Ludington State Park. Cross country ski, snowshoe or hike the lantern lit trails to kick off your new year’s resolutions or just enjoy some outdoor fun with your family and friends. If you’re looking to participate, there are 40 pairs of snowshoes that will be lent out first-come, first-serve. Make sure you dress warmly in layers when attending! Along the trail, a campfire will be available where visitors can warm themselves and enjoy a hot beverage. The park will be hosting additional lantern lit ski and snowshoe events on January 9, 23, and February 6. 


21st Annual Downtown Bridal Show
January 3, Traverse City
Did you just get engaged? Attend this bridal show to help plan your wedding! Over 35 vendors will come together to showcase all things wedding at the City Opera House in Downtown Traverse City. A wedding fashion show will take place and admission to the event is free!

Week of January 4-11

Moscow Festival Ballet: Romeo & Juliet and The Sleeping Beauty
January 8, East Lansing
This renowned company from Moscow brings two of the most romantic Russian ballets to the stage. Romeo and Juliet is Shakespeare’s classic tale of young star-crossed lovers, featuring the music of Tchaikovsky and the choreography of Petipa. The evening also includes selections from another timeless classic, the fairytale The Sleeping Beauty, also set to music by Tchaikovsky. Both performances feature exquisite costumes and lush scenery in the grand ballet style. Founded by legendary dancer Sergei Radchenko, this acclaimed company features leading dancers from across Russia.

Plymouth Ice FestivalPLymouth ice fest
January 8-10
Downtown Plymouth is hosting the 34th annual Ice Festival! The Plymouth Ice Festival has a long-standing history of being the largest, free ice festival in Michigan and remains dedicated to the art of ice carving.

Winter Walking Tour with The Kalamazoo House
January 9
In partnership with The Kalamazoo House, the historic bed and breakfast built in 1878, guests can enjoy an overnight stay, a walking tour of three breweries and breakfast all in one stop. You can visit Bell’s Eccentric Cafe, Gonzo’s Bigg Dogg Brewing Co. and Tibbs Brewing Co. where you can receive either a full pour or a series of samples at each stop. You can also learn more about Kalamazoo’s growing craft beer industry and its role in Michigan’s rise as one of the top beer destinations in the world.

22nd Annual Downtown Chili Cook-Off
January 9, Traverse City
The annual Downtown Chili Cook-Off in Traverse City brings together some of the area’s finest restaurants and their creative chili recipes for a spicy showdown. The restaurants will compete in a variety of categories including 1, 2 and 3 Alarm, White, Seafood, No Bean, Ethnic, and more. It should be a delicious time!

Winter Festival and Brunch
January 10, Hastings
Bring the family out to Pierce Cedar Creek Institute to enjoy the winter landscape! A number of winter-themed activities are scheduled throughout the day. Snowshoe rental, family-friendly crafts, and a warm fire will be available in the Visitor Center. Trails and the sledding hill will be open from dawn to dusk. The brunch program will feature “Stormy the Magician” performing illusions for the whole family. End the day fulfilling a New Year’s resolution by getting outside and enjoying a snowshoe hike and taking in the winter sights and sounds.

Week of January 11-18

Wine About Winter
January 15, Grand Haven
What better place to “wine” away those winter blues than at the annual Wine About Winter? Each January, a collection of businesses in Grand Haven’s Centertown and Downtown districts invite the public to sample wines and check out art from local artists. As guests sip on samples of Shiraz and Chardonnay, area artists offer talks about their works, all of which are displayed at the various venues as part of Wine About Winter. Tasting packages will be available for purchase in the fall 2015 at various Main Street Merchant locations. 


Fort Custer Recreation Area: Intro to Mushing
January 16, Augusta
Are you interested in learning about dog sledding? Members of the Southwest Michigan Husky Club are providing introductory classes that will go over several different outdoor activities owners can enjoy with their dogs including: Mushing, Skijoring, Bikejoring, and tandem snowshoeing with dogs.

Beer and Bluegrass | Concert
January 16, Kalamazoo
Kalamazoo State Theatre is teaming up with Short’s Brewing Company out of Bellaire, Michigan, to bring you a bluegrass event like no other! Mark your calendars and join them for “Beer and Bluegrass” at Kalamazoo State Theatre! They will be bringing you four musical performances from Grammy award winning Bluegrass artists such as the Del McCoury Band, Jeff Austin Band, Don Julin and the Billy Strings Trio. Short’s Brewing Company will be onsite for a total tap takeover, featuring their top seasonal brews.

Kalkaska Winterfest
January 16-17
Kalkaska Winterfest has been a Michigan classic since 1965. It is the largest sprint sled dog race in the northern lower 48 states. The race will be a qualifying race for the IFSS world championships in 2017. There will be sled dog racing from 10, 6, 4, 3 and 2 dog teams, along with skijoring. Other activities include IWPA dog weight pull, craft show, silent auction and food. Make sure to check it out!

North American International Auto Show
January 16-24, Detroit
With an anticipated 800,000 visitors from around the world, the North American International Auto Show in Detroit continues to be among the most prestigious auto shows in the world. See highlights from last year’s show here.

Week of January 18- 25

Saline Winterfest 2016
January 22-23
You have to come to Winterfest 2016! Why? Because everything about this exciting event will be different this year. They’ll have indoor and outdoor activities fun for the whole family, from kids to grandparents, from mild to wild! More details will be released as the event nears. 

Noquemanon Ski Marathon
January 22-24, Marquette
The Noquemanon Ski Marathon, locally referred to as “The Noque”, is a point-to-point cross-country ski race held in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan during the last weekend of January. Starting from Ishpeming and ending in Marquette, the race showcases the scenery and terrain characteristic of Upper Michigan. The variety of events include Classic Freestyle, Team Relay, Junior Noque, Adaptive Snowshoe, Snow bike, Skijor Long and Short Distances.

203rd Anniversary Commemoration of the Battles of the River Raisin
January 23, Monroe
Join the many participants from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Canada as we remember the Battle of the River Raisin and Massacre that took place 203 years ago – January 22 & 23, 1813. The 203rd Anniversary Commemoration of the Battles of the River Raisin will take place on Saturday January 23, 2016. There will be a tactical demonstration battleground, and commemoration ceremonies.

Bigfoot Snowshoe Racebigfoot snowrace
January 23, Traverse City
Come join the Bigfoot Snowshoe Race! The course is a super hilly off trail run with plenty of logs to jump and branches to duck. If there’s no snow, bring your trail shoes, the race goes on no matter what the conditions. Bigfoot is the Midwest qualifier for the National Championship Snowshoe race.

Winter Delights: A Festival of Wine, Food, and Music
January 30, Portage
Winter Delights will be an evening of wine tasting with the best regional wineries, delicious food, and live music by the LMC Jazz Combo. Admission includes 10 wine tastings, $10 in food samplings, commemorative festival glass, and entertainment. Designated driver tickets include festival glass, two non-alcoholic drinks, $10 in food samplings, and entertainment.

Week of January 25-31

Thrill On the Hill
January 29-30, Buchanan
Bring your family and come tubing on an 800-foot long hill. The City of Buchanan closes its main thoroughfare and invites you to use their tubes to fly down Front Street’s hill! The road is closed for tubing only and happens just once a year. There will be tubing fun, games, contests, great food and a winter-land playground for the youngsters. Frosty and Rudolph will show up to frolic with kids and grownup kids alike. It is sure to be a family-friendly time!

Pure Ludington BRRRewFestbrewfest
January 30
Back by popular demand, the second annual Pure Ludington BRRRewFest is bigger and better, with 30-plus brewers from throughout Michigan showcasing their best for an afternoon of brews, live music and more at Ludington’s new community garden. Tickets include a 5oz. commemorative sampling glass plus six drinks tokens for sampling.

January 30, Muskegon
The Greater Muskegon Jaycees “Snowfest” is happening in downtown Muskegon. Enjoy many events such as the Battle of the Bowls, Kidsfest, Snow Volleyball, Cornhole, Broomball and much more! 

Winter Snow Party
January 30, Portage
The Winter Snow Party is a great opportunity to enjoy time with your family and friends, all while embracing the white wonders of Michigan outdoors. There will be many activities to enjoy such as sledding and a snowman building contest! Build, decorate and bring your own cardboard sled and build and dress up the biggest and fanciest snowman. Prizes will be awarded for best in show for both contests as well as the fastest cardboard sled! When you need a warm respite from the activities enjoy a bonfire with hot chocolate and coffee available for purchase. 

What January events are you looking forward to most?