Pure Michigan Holiday Light Events 2012

Frederick Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids (photo credit: Dusty Brown)

The holiday season has arrived in Pure Michigan! That means there are plenty of parties, family visits, festive food and of course beautiful lights brightening up the state. Here’s a roundup of some of the many great events going on across Michigan that feature amazing light and holiday displays! For a full list of holiday light events, please visit michigan.org.

Heritage Holidays
Now – December 15, 2012, Ray
Heritage Holidays will take place on Fridays, November 30, December 7 & 14 and Saturdays, December 1, 8 & 15, at the Historic Mill at Wolcott Mill Metropark. Experience holiday traditions of the past and create new ones of your own. Visit the mill where you will meet Santa Claus and make keepsake crafts reminiscent of Christmas past. Experience a 1950s Christmas in the barn and enjoy a cup of hot mulled cider from Mrs. Claus. Cut your own log cookie in the lumbering barn, watch the light show at the gazebo and warm up by the bonfire with a s’more. Fee: $1 per person. For more information visit the website.

Holiday Road Light Show
Now – December 25, 2012, Norton Shores
This 15 minute show features synchronized lights to music inside a 3,300-square-foot storefront illuminated with 120,000 LED lights. Show times are Tuesday-Thursday 6pm to 9pm; Friday and Saturday evenings 6pm to 10pm; Saturday and Sunday afternoons 1pm to 4pm and Sunday evenings 6pm to 9pm. Christmas Eve 1pm – 4pm & 6pm -9pm and Christmas Day 6pm – 9pm. The event is free but requires a pass for entry that is available 24 hours in advance. The show is located at the Pointes Shopping Center at 1040 E. Sternberg Road, Norton Shores, Ml. For more information visit their Facebook page or call (616) 446-1426.

Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village
Now – December 27, 2012, Dearborn
Step into a Christmas card from the past. Don’t miss the most popular holiday event in the area, complete with candlelit paths, live entertainment, costumed presenters, horse-drawn wagon and Model T rides, delightful holiday shops, Santa and live reindeer, ice skating, a spectacular fireworks display and more. Dates include December 1, 7-8, 14-16, 18-23 and 26-27; 6:30pm-10pm.  For more information visit their website here or call (800) 835-5237.

Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World
Now – January 6, 2013, Grand Rapids
Experience the most magical time of year as Meijer Gardens transforms into a world of winter magic with the glow of 300,000 lights, more than 40 captivating international trees and displays, strolling carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides and more surprises than can fit under the tree. The Gardens Holiday Express train exhibit, a holiday favorite designed by railway garden designer Paul Busse, winds its way through three separate indoor gardens. For more information visit the website here or call (888) 957-1580.

The Big, Bright Light Show
Now – January 6, 2013, Rochester

The Big, Bright Light Show in Rochester

You are invited to brighten your holidays in downtown Rochester with The Big, Bright Light Show! All the buildings on Main Street from the south bridge to Romeo Rd. will be covered in over a million points of light, along with East and West Fourth Street. Also, there will be large, lighted displays on Walnut from Third to University, The Dazzling Tree of Lights at the Depot Plaza (E. University & Water), and The Snowflake Spectacular on the Western Knitting Mill on Water Street. The Big, Bright Light Show will debut on November 26 during Lagniappe at 7pm. The display will be lit every evening from November 26 – January 6, 2012. For more information on this event, visit the website link or call us at (248) 656-0060.

Jack Frost Festival of Lights Parade
December 7, 2012, Ironwood
This annual event kicks off the holiday season and visits with Santa, Mrs. Claus and Jack Frost plus Gingerbread House display and Gogebic Range Band Christmas Concert. For more information contact (906) 932-1122.

Light up the Bluff and Live Mannequins
December 7, 2012, St. Joseph
It is a night of holiday excitement in downtown St. Joseph. Light Up the Bluff will begin at 6pm at Lake Bluff Park. Come witness a spectacular Christmas display of holiday lights along Lake Bluff Park, from Ship Street to Park Street. Carolers will be singing your favorite holiday songs as you stroll along sipping a cup of hot chocolate and viewing the thousands upon thousands of beautiful lights. At 6:30pm join in the Community Tree Lighting Ceremony with music by the St. Joseph High School Choir. At 7pm, join St. Joseph in welcoming an exciting new event to downtown: Live Mannequins! Holiday cheer will come alive in storefronts and windows of participating downtown businesses. Both events are free to the public and a wonderful way to welcome in the holiday season! For information, contact (269) 985-1111.

Christmas Celebration & Parade
December 8, 2012, Harrison
The parade starts at 6pm at the Fairgrounds with Memorial Tree Lighting Ceremony after the parade. Refreshments, Christmas carols, sleigh rides, reading of a Christmas Story and Santa Claus. For more information visit the website or call (989) 539-6011.

Where’s your favorite place to see holiday light displays in Michigan? Share with us below!

How Did Michigan Cities Get Their Names? Part 6

In our ongoing series of how cities in Michigan got their names, we’ve been able to share with you the history of cities from around our state. In case you missed them, here are Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5. This week, check out part six, which shares the stories of how five more Michigan cities were named.

Rochester:
The city of Rochester was settled in 1817 and drew pioneers because of its location between the Clinton River, Paint Creek and Stoney Creek – all of which powered mills to cut timber, grind grain, card wool, and press apples into cider. The city was named for Rochester, New York, as many early settlers to the area were formerly from the state of New York.

Harbor Springs:
In 1847, L’Arbre Croche had the largest concentration of Native Americans in the states. At that time, Harbor Springs was called L’Arbre Croche, which means Crooked Tree. Later, French traders renamed the area Petit Traverse, or Little Traverse, when they arrived in the area. The village was eventually incorporated as Harbor Springs in 1880.

Flushing:
The original Flushing  was located in the borough of Queens, New York, and named after the city of Vlissingen, Holland – also known as Flushing, Netherlands. Flushing sprang up in Michigan as a railroad town long ago and Charles Seymour, formerly of the city in New York, is credited with naming the Michigan community in the 1830s.

Birmingham:
Birmingham was founded in 1818, when four enterprising men purchased land in the area. The founders quickly established a manufacturer based local economy that brought foundries, tanneries, blacksmith shops, broom and brick making factories to the area. The name Birmingham was chosen after Birmingham, England, in hopes that the Michigan city’s manufacturing capabilities would take after England’s biggest industrial center.

Jackson:
On July 3, 1829, Horace Blackman, accompanied by Alexander Laverty, a land surveyor, and an Indian guide passed through what is today known as Jackson. Blackman returned in August with his brother Russell, and claimed 160 acres of land in the area. In 1830, the area settlement agreed on the name of ‘Jacksonburgh’ in honor or President Andrew Jackson, and in 1838 the name was changed to Jackson.

Pure Michigan Holiday Light Events

The holidays are a busy time of year. There are parties, shopping and preparations to be made for family visits. That’s why it’s nice to sometimes just take in the scenery of the season. There are some great events coming up this month with some amazing light and holiday displays to enjoy at your leisure. For a full list of events check out michigan.org.

Holly Dickens Festival
December 9 – 11, 2011, Holly
See the characters from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” come to life on the streets of Historic Downtown Holly during the annual Holly Dickens Festival. Make special memories with your family while enjoying carriage rides, caroling choirs, hot roasted chestnuts and much, much more amidst unique shops and the Victorian atmosphere of the holidays. Head to the Holly Dickens Festival site for full event details and schedule.

Candle Light Christmas Walk
December 9 – 11, 2011, Marshall
The Marshall Historical Society’s Christmas Candlelight Tour is a highly personalized walking tour of five private homes decorated for the holidays. This is a walking tour of approximately 1.5 miles at a slow pace. Ticks are $20 sold in advance and only 600 tickets are sold. For more information, call (269) 781-5163.

The Big, Bright Light Show
Now-January 1, 2012, Rochester
You are invited to brighten your holidays in downtown Rochester with The Big, Bright Light Show! All the buildings on Main Street from the south bridge to Romeo Rd. will be covered in over a million points of light, along with East and West Fourth Street. Also, there will be large, lighted displays on Walnut from Third to University, The Dazzling Tree of Lights at the Depot Plaza (E. University & Water), and The Snowflake Spectacular on the Western Knitting Mill on Water Street. For more information on this event, visit their website or call (248) 656-0060.

Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic
Now – December 30, 2011, Flint
This holiday fantasyland features thousands of sparkling lights and Michigan’s most spectacular moving light display, the Huckleberry Railroad. The entire village is aglow with colored lights and more lights decorate the railroad’s locomotive, coaches and trackside displays. For information and reservations call (800).648-PARK or visit the Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic site.

Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village
December 9 – 10, 16 – 23, 26 – 27, 2011, Dearborn
Marvel at the splendor of a turn-of-the-century old-fashioned holiday experience complete with carolers and live reindeer along candlelit paths at this historic location.  For more information visit the Holiday Nights site. You can also call (800) 835-5237 or (313) 982-6001.