Pure Michigan December 2014 Events Roundup

The holiday season brings concerts, festivals and community lighting celebrations that make us remember why we love the snowy season and are proud to call the Great Lakes State home. Pull out your calendar and discover some of the many events that are happening in Michigan throughout the month of December. For a full list of events in Pure Michigan, visit michigan.org/events.

Week of December 1 – 7

detroit-zoo-wild-lightsParade of Lights
December 2, Holland
Santa arrives in downtown Holland during the annual Parade of Lights escorted by bands, floats, vehicles and individuals…all decked out in sparkling holiday lights! Over 50 different entries will illuminate the streets of downtown during this brilliant procession. At the end of the parade, Santa will take the time to greet his fans, both young and old!

Run Through the Lights
December 4, Kalamazoo
Make your way to the west side of the state for a festive run or walk through the holiday lights of downtown Kalamazoo. Run Through the Lights is an untimed, non-competitive, fun run and everyone is invited. Race starts and ends at Bronson Park, registration required.

Mid-American Conference Championship
December 5, Detroit
2014 Mid-American Conference Championship will match the champions of the East and West divisions in one of the nation’s most underrated athletic conferences. This annual game played at Ford Field offers the excitement of a championship game right in the heart of the city. Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University and Western Michigan University are all Mid-American Conference programs.

Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong Concert
December 5, Ann Arbor
Get a jazzy start to the weekend by joining Vincent York’s Jazzistry for a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong! You’ll enjoy classics such as “Oh, Lady Be Good” and “What a Wonderful World.” Vincent York’s Jazzistry, an Ann Arbor based nonprofit, uses live performance to teach the story of jazz and its role in American history and culture to students in Michigan schools.

Reindog Parade
December 6, Saint Joseph
winter-runnersCostumed pets and their owners will escort Santa into downtown to kick off the holiday season. The annual Reindog Holiday Parade features dressed up pets and their owners in a variety of holiday garb. Be prepared to see all kinds of costumes from “Santa Bernards” to “Reindeer Rotweilers” – this is definitely a must-see event. The parade will start at 4pm and will also feature Santa’s arrival to downtown St. Joseph.

Farmland 5K European Style XC Challenge
December 6, Traverse City
Are you really tough? Rain, sleet, snow, or shine – this event is for you! Enjoy the natural challenge of running or biking in early December (event to be held no matter the weather). Traverse over grass or snow and ice, wooded dirt trails, and farmland running terrain. Post event food and festive awards celebration.

Week of December 8 – 14

Woodward Wonderland
Detroit, December 11-14
Woodward Wonderland puts a uniquely Detroit spin on the holiday season, paying tribute to the metro area’s many rich holiday traditions through original short plays and exuberant song and dance. The play takes audiences of all ages on a nostalgic theatrical journey to magical Motor City destinations like Toyland on the 12th floor of the old J.L. Hudson’s department store and Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Langsford Men’s Chorus Christmas Concert
December 12, Berkley
Enjoy the sounds and spirit of Christmas with the Langsford Men’s Chorus. Come hear this internationally acclaimed men’s chorus present their Christmas Celebration Concert at Our Lady of La Salette Roman Catholic Church, in Berkley, Michigan. This outstanding male chorus will perform a broad repertoire of classical, contemporary, and traditional Christmas favorites, all celebrating the most joyous season of the year!

Farm by Lantern Light
December 12-13, Grayling
Wellington Farm is now accepting reservations for what some consider “The most unique Christmas Experience in Northern Michigan.” Billed as “The Farm By Lantern Light” the full evening activity includes a wagon ride, a visit to the historic farm and a full length play all rolled into one “The Farm By Lantern Light” will take place on December 12, 13, and 19, 20. During the course of the evening, participants will board a wagon and be transported back in time to the year of 1932. A wonderful family event!

Tinsel & Treasures
December 12-14, Northville
The award winning 35th Annual Tinsel & Treasures Holiday Market, held in downtown Northville, is a juried, indoor, fine art and handcrafted holiday gift market featuring more than 75 artists and craftspeople from around the country.

Tyler Oakley’s Slumber Party Comedy Show
December 14, Kalamazoo
Armed with a quick wit and fabulous hair, Tyler Oakley has won the hearts of over five million YouTube subscribers with his weekly videos. Now, Tyler is packing up his living room and hitting the road for his first-ever live tour! Tyler’s Slumber Party is a one-of-a-kind live experience packed full of behind-the-scenes stories, interactive games – and lots of surprises. Get ready to be slayed. Please note this isn’t really a slumber party…you will have to go home after the show!

Week of December 15 – 21

Monday Night Raw
December 15, Detroit
World Wrestling Entertainment’s Monday Night Raw will return to Joe Louis Arena for the first time in two and a half years for a LIVE broadcast on Monday, December 15. The December roster will include appearances by all of your favorite WWE Superstars live in action including John Cena, Seth Rollins, The Big Show, Kane, Bray Wyatt & The Wyatt Family, Dean Ambrose, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro, The Usos, The Miz and many more!

Mega 80′s
December 19, Saginaw
The Mega 80′s is returning to The Red Room! If you love 80′s music, then you cannot miss this event! Strap on your platform shoes and boogie over to Saginaw for an 80’s lover’s dream. This is a ticketed event.

Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Animal Show
December 20, Kalamazoo
Buy sell or trade a variety of reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and other exotic pets! Come see some crawling and wiggling friends that would love to come home with you or might make a perfect holiday gift for that animal lover you know.

Photos for Pure MichiganHoliday Nights in Greenfield Village
December 5-27, Dearborn
Take a lantern-lit journey into a living snow globe filled with live music, skating, fireworks and tons of winter wonder during America’s premier celebration of the season. December 5-7, 12-14, 18-23, and 26-27.

Annie |Theatre Performance
December 16-21, East Lansing
Leapin’ Lizards! The world’s best-loved musical returns! Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin, this production of Annie will be a brand-new incarnation of the iconic original. With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie is determined to find her parents, who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of an orphanage run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan. With the help of the other orphans, Annie escapes to the wondrous world of New York. Featuring book and score by Tony Award® winners Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, Annie includes such unforgettable songs as It’s the Hard-knock Life, Easy Street, and the eternal anthem of optimism, Tomorrow.

Week of December 22 – 28, 29, 30 & 31

2014 Quick Lane Bowl
December 26, Detroit
The Detroit Lions are partnering with Quick Lane Tire and Auto to host the first annual Quick Lane Bowl game that will feature a match-up between the Big Ten and ACC conferences and will be played at Ford Field! Head to Detroit to see some great college football action on hometown gridiron. The University of Michigan and Michigan State University are Big Ten Conference Programs.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Lantern Lit Ski and Snowshoe Trail
December 27, Ontonagon
Nearly 80 old-fashioned kerosene lanterns will illuminate a 1-mile trail for a unique and memorable experience. The ski trail is track-set for classic skiers, while snowshoers can make their own trail adjacent to the lighted loop. The ski trail has an “easy” difficulty rating; however, skiing or snowshoeing at night is always a challenge.

Michigan Historical Museum – History Gamers
December 27, Lansing
Whatever your age, come over and play! Today, you can try your hand at historic games from jacks to hopscotch and investigate historic toys and board games. New games are featured at each program. History Gamers is included with museum admission.

Bald Mountain Recreation Area – Krazy Snow RC Fly
December 31, Lake Orion
Just when you thought the New Year couldn’t get any more exciting, how about RC flying in the snow? Take-offs and landings with the flakes flying, cold winds and piles of snow on the field make it even more challenging than usual. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult

New Year’s Eve Anchor Drop
December 31, Port Huron
Bring in the New Year in the city of Port Huron! It’s a New Year’s Eve countdown party with a maritime twist. A lighted anchor will drop from the top of the 150-foot McMorran Tower at midnight! Live music, beer tent, free open skating, and much more.

Month-long Events

GiraffeWild Lights
November 22-December 31, Royal Oak
See the zoo in a whole new light! Experience the magic of the Detroit Zoo in winter as you take in the lights and the sights and enjoy holiday entertainment and activities for guests of all ages. For 22 nights beginning November 22, 2014, Wild Lights runs from 5:30 to 9pm on the following dates: November 22-23, 28-30; December 5-7, 12-14, 19-23, 26-31, 2014.

Nite Lites Jackson & Winter Wonderland
November 27-December 30, Jackson
One of Michigan’s largest Christmas light displays. This animated drive-through display is over one mile long and includes millions of lights. It’s a magical outing that families hold as a tradition year after year. Weekends in December, Winter Wonderland inside the American One Fair Event Center will feature decorated holiday trees, food and drinks of the season and visits with Santa Claus.

Gingerbread Art Competition
November 28-December 31, Newaygo
Have you ever looked at art and thought, “I’m hungry!”? Gingerbread Art will be displayed November 28 – December 31 from noon – 7pm each day at La Belle de la Riviere Bed and Breakfast in Newaygo. Don’t miss your chance to see some great gingerbread houses and designs before someone takes a bite!

36th Annual Christmas Tree Festival
December 1-30, Monroe
Visit and vote for your favorite decorated holiday tree or wreath during the month of December for our annual Christmas Tree Festival at the museum. Local 4-H clubs, organizations, charities, classrooms and scouts have been busy designing their creations to share with visitors. Come in and vote for your choice of best tree or wreath!

Do you attend any events in December that have become a holiday tradition? Let us know!

An Inside Look at Terror on Tillson: Michigan’s Largest Neighborhood Funded Halloween Experience

Year after year, visitors flock to a small neighborhood in Romeo, MI to experience Terror on Tillson, one of Michigan’s largest neighborhood funded Halloween attractions!  Today, guest blogger Vicki Lee, a 34-year resident of Tillson Street shares a behind the scenes look at what goes into creating this undeniably unique All Hallow’s Eve experience. 

Photo by KDMac Photography

Photo by KDMac Photography

It’s that time of the year again. A quaint street in the middle of the Historic Village of Romeo, Michigan, transforms from a street lined with majestic maple trees and Historic homes, dating back to the late 1800’s, into a haunted habitat. Once a typical Halloween, with a few scarecrows and some pumpkins and 350 trick-or-treaters, has now evolved into a Halloween Extravaganza!

Trick-or-treat numbers have risen to about 2,000. Tens of thousands of visitors wander down the street during the last two weeks of October just to get a sight of all the hard work these neighbors put in to make this a memorable experience. Terror on Tillson Street provides a safe, family oriented Halloween experience at zero cost to visitors. The elaborate displays will be mostly completed the weekend of October 24th, although everyone decorates right up until Halloween. Trick or treating is only on October 31st from 6-8pm, but visitors are welcome to stop by and take a gander at the devilish displays beforehand.

Photo by Heather Monaghan

Photo by Heather Monaghan

Tillson Street is a little more than two blocks long. Most people decorate in some form or another, but it is not a requirement when you move on the street (although many visitors think it is). Most of the time there are about 32 house that do some type of display. This is a neighborhood that plays together, works together and watches out for each other…that’s how it all works. Some of my favorite memories from Halloween on Tillson Street are the times that the neighbors spend time together like one big family. We wind down at the end of the evening and chat about the friendly visitors who strolled through and highlights from the night’s events.

Throughout each weekend in October, you will see many neighbors walking from house to house, as help is always needed for some props that are too hard to put up yourself. It is an ongoing preparation for the big finale on Halloween. The neighbors work at their own speed. As most Michiganders know, unpredictable weather always has a way of interfering with our set ups! Most of us have “real” jobs, so you hope you have good weather on the weekends to accomplish everything that needs to happen.  Some tweaking is always going on right up to the time Trick-or-treaters start to arrive.

Photo courtesy of Catherine Povinelli

Photo courtesy of Catherine Povinelli

We always include family and friends in the festivities, which they all look forward to each year. Their help is always much appreciated! At my house, we now have the 4th generation of helpers. My mom, who is 81, pretty much does the supervision role these days, but in a way she started this with me, I was born on Halloween and she always puts a little more effort in the decorations for my sake.

I continued this with my own children and it has just grown from there. As younger families moved on the street, the bigger our Halloween has become. The creativity of this neighborhood is amazing with the majority of decorations being handmade. Many residents work on their decorations throughout the year, hoping to finish before the next Halloween.

Photo courtesy of Catherine Povinelli

Photo courtesy of Catherine Povinelli

Everything is done by the residents of the street, their timeless hours and their enjoyment to do something very special for a free night out for the families is how this event has become what it is. We all hope everyone enjoys their visit to this one-of-a-kind neighborhood.

As my sons grew older and still wanted to be involved with the festivities, they created what is known as the “Bulldog Security” after Romeo High School’s mascot. Bulldog Security is a group of athletes from the high school that patrols the streets on Halloween night keeping an eye for trouble makers (not many to speak of) and lost children (maybe I should say lost parents). At one point these were just young teens wanting to be involved, now we have a few generations of athletes that help us out. Some of these young people come home from college just to be involved! The Village of Romeo has allowed Tillson Street to be blocked off on Halloween night for safety purposes during the 2 hour trick-or-treating time.

Photo courtesy of Catherine Povinelli

Photo courtesy of Catherine Povinelli

This year, Tillson Street has 3 special events that are included in our Halloween. One is the “Buzz Lee Memorial Scholarship Fund.” This was a fund that was started by my late husband with a golf outing to provide a vocational scholarship. When Buzz passed away from a brain tumor, my family and I decided to honor him in this wonderful scholarship that now provides not only a vocational scholarship, but also a pay-to-play scholarship and donations to the Wounded Warrior Project (Buzz was a Vietnam Veteran). We sell a limited edition “TILLSON STREET” Halloween shirt, hot cocoa and cider, can koozies and our very own Tillson Street Cookbook, put together by all the neighbors and friends. ALL proceeds go directly to the Scholarship Fund.

We also provide a special event for KKC, “Kids Kicking Cancer.” This will be our 5th year giving kids an afternoon of no worries and a huge amount of fun. We close the street for a couple of hours and the kids and their families come down the street to trick-or-treat. I’m really not sure who has more fun, my neighbors or the kids! This is an event that makes it all worth the hard we put in to the decorations! It has at times been a very emotional day for the neighborhood, but so, so rewarding!

Photo courtesy of Heather Monaghan

Photo courtesy of Heather Monaghan

If you’re planning to visit Tillson Street on Halloween this year, use these tips and information to make the most of your experience: 

-It’s best to walk and see everything, there will be bumper to bumper traffic, so it is very hard to see the displays in your vehicle.

-You never  have to wait in any line, although a line does seem to form during the evening, but that is not planned by anyone!

-Expect the walk to take you at least an hour to get through. There is parking on the street, but this usually hard to find.

-There are parking lots all around Tillson Street for a small donation, but are by no means associated with Tillson Street.

-Tillson Street is free of charge. The only things you might want to purchase are in the tent at 171 Tillson Street with all proceeds going to the scholarship fund.

Have you ever been to Halloween on Tillson Street? What did you think? 

A Ghoul’s Guide to Halloween 2014 in Pure Michigan

Halloween is nearly here! Whether you’re lost in a maze or getting scared at a haunt, there is plenty of Halloween fun happening across the state.  Here’s your guide to some ghoulishly fun (and family friendly!) Halloween events and attractions in Pure Michigan. Visit michigan.org full a full listing of Halloween events happening in October!

Corn Mazes are a fall staple in Michigan. Throughout the state, there’s winding paths with twists and turns that will test and confuse you as try to find the end. See below for some mazes to visit throughout the month of October!

BestMazeBestmaze Corn Maze– Williamston 
Every year, Bestmaze attempts to live up to its name. This year’s maze has a Castle & Dragon theme.  If you find your way out, there is a dragon you must defeat to exit the maze. (Remember there are towers so all you have to do is raise your hand if you need help!) Don’t let the theme fool you; this is a large maze designed for adults as well.

Amazing Acres Corn Maze – Edwardsburg
If you’re looking for fall family fun, make plans to visit the Amazing Acres Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch! The farm is over 90 acres and is packed with events for every member of the family, young or old. Explore the 14 acre corn maze with over 3.5 miles of paths. In addition to the corn maze itself, there are many other fun activities for the entire family at Amazing Acres that includes hayrides with horse-drawn and tractor-pulled, pumpkin patch, child-sized hay bale maze and more!

Houpt’s Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch – Dundee
Houpt’s offers a two acre corn maze, haunted corn maze, ten acres of U-Pick pumpkins, a Gourd Slinger, Craft Barn, and fresh cider & donuts! Don’t miss the weekend hayrides and the popular our “Kid’s Weekend” held the third weekend of October every year.

corn-maze-at-bestmazeJacob’s Corn Maze – Traverse City 
Life sized corn mazes are fun for everyone, young and old alike. Experience a world class computer-designed 10 acre Corn Maze creation, unlike any other in Northern Michigan. Jacob’s Secret Agent Adventure is an exciting and fully interactive farm experience. It will captivate and entertain you and your family for hours with its twists and turns. Jacob’s Corn Maze is larger than 10 high school football fields with over five miles of trails!

Lewis Farm Market & Petting Farm – New Era
There’s something for everyone at the Lewis Farm Market & Petting Farm! Visit the largest petting farm in west Michigan with over 60 animals including some exotics. Outdoor family entertainment: jumping pillows, climbing toys, corn maze, wagon rides, pedal carts, barrel train, fruit cannons, pumpkin chucker, animated chicken show and even a bee observatory.

Westview Orchards & Adventure Farm – Washington Township
Head to Washington Township to experience a 188-acre award-winning sesquicentennial family farm and orchard. Westview offers a five acre corn maze, cider mill, petting barns, wagon rides and more!

Gull Meadow Farms – Richland
Stop at Gull Meadow for fall fun with a corn maze, apple orchard, pumpkin patch and wagon rides! When you find your way out of the maze, take a wagon ride to the U-pick apple orchard to find that perfect and healthy treat!

Haunted Houses have one purpose – to scare you! Although some haunted houses are more tailored to be family friendly, Michigan boasts some of the most terrifying haunts around. Read below for some hellacious haunted houses to visit this fall.

ErebusDinosaurErebus Haunted Attraction – Pontiac 
Erebus, the four-story Haunted House located in Pontiac, was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Largest Walk-through Haunted Attraction from Aug. 2005 – Sept. 2009. Erebus leads it’s victims through four stories of unique and terrifying paths with fear so intense some call it PAIN! Check out our Erebus blog to learn more – if you dare.

Niles Haunted House – Niles
The Niles Haunted House Scream Park has 44 acres of multiple haunted attractions, hayrides, games and concessions. It’s guaranteed to scare the YELL out of you. Check out their YouTube page for some extra frights!

Slaughtered at Sundown – Romeo 
This haunted house, located off a dirt road outside of society, adjacent to a corn field, is the perfect location for a haunted attraction. Enter a dark, winding illusion of decaying zombies, evil carnage, a spine chilling cemetery full of agony and torture.

Photo by Michelle Andonian Photography

Photo by Michelle Andonian Photography

Night Terrors – Ypsilanti
Beware! This is not your average haunted house! The acres of Wiard’s Orchards south of Ypsilanti Township are truly haunted. The history of these lands has lived in haunted houses of Michigan lore for centuries. Courageous souls who have dared to set foot on the haunted grounds of this old orchard say they can still hear the howling sounds of the night.

The Bone Yard – Stockbridge
Extreme haunted house, haunted woods, haunted corn maze, and haunted hayride. This attraction takes over an hour to enjoy and have the fear put into you. You’ll be led through twists and turns, terrified of what will come next. The Bone Yard is an indoor and outdoor event.

The Realm of Darkness – Pontiac
Realm of Darkness Haunted house is one of the scariest you can find! Manage your way through the horrors inside this house in an attempt to make your way out. Face the Wizard and get back double your admission price!

The Haunt

The Haunt – Grand Rapids
Welcome to your nightmare. The Haunt waits for you with a host of terror-filled experience in one 20,000 square-foot compound of fear. Chances are you’ll find your way out, but you won’t be the same. Holler your way through a half-mile of heart-pounding haunted hallways. Cringe through one horrifying theme after another. Stumble through Ghost Town, an outdoor maze in which your only guide is the moonlight. Dare to explore the shriek-inducing side attraction, “3-D Turmoil”. Not afraid of clowns? You will be.

Tee Lake Halloween – Lewiston
A Northern Michigan Haunted House & Halloween Attraction, Tee Lake Halloween offers three unique treats for Halloween fans & families. First, the Drive-Thru Haunt is a FREE, family friendly, self-guided tour through haunted displays. Tune your car radio to our spooky station to hear creepy music. No monsters will jump out at you. Second, Terror at Tee Lake is a terrifying walk-through haunted house open Oct. 25 and Nov. 1.Third, stay over in a haunted cabin – The Witch’s Cottage or Igor’s Hideaway.

For more Halloween-related events happening in Michigan, visit michigan.org. What are your favorite Halloween attractions? Share with us below!