March to These Pure Michigan Events in Early Spring

March is almost here and the third month of 2016 will continue to bring exciting events throughout Pure Michigan. From state park visits to sugar festivals, you’re sure to find something you and your family will enjoy.  For a full list of events in Michigan, visit michigan.org/events.

March 1-8

Science Talks: The Nature of Cities
March 3, 2016, Bloomfield Hills

Join experts from The Nature Conservancy at the Cranbrook Institute of Science for a series of evening lectures on conservation challenges and solutions facing the Great Lakes region and beyond. Each lecture begins with a Meet the Scientist mixer with refreshments and appetizers to enjoy (cash bar) as you learn more about the evening’s topic.

This topic for this particular evening is “The Nature of Cities”, presented by Dr. Patrick Doran, associate state director. “By 2050, it is estimated that 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. How can nature help build resilient urban communities around the world, including in Detroit?” Come learn about this exciting topic that will prove to be incredibly informative.

lifestyle expo

Women’s Lifestyle Expo
March 4-5, Kalamazoo

Come to this annual two day extravaganza created for women by women! Every minute is designed to be fun, educational and entertaining! There will be a ton of information you won’t want to miss out on!

Straits State Park -Winter Family Fun Day
March 5, St. Ignace

Spend the afternoon at Straits State Park to enjoy some winter family fun. There will be cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, Frisbee golf, volleyball, and some fires to warm up near. Please bring your own shoes, skis, and sleds if you want to engage in the activities! This day is sure to make the family happy.

fat bike blog

Beard of Zeus Fat Bike Race
March 5, Traverse City

The course this year will be a welcome reprisal of last year’s Fat Camp! Race: a fast, fun circuit with one cruel climb each lap that gives way to a flowing, wide open and spectator-filled loop that winds through the Suds’n'Snow festivities all over Timber Ridge. There’s no better atmosphere than sprinting along a corridor lined with fans cheering on every race on the course! Come be a viewer to one of the coolest races if you’re looking for something fun and new to do.

March 9-15

Gilda’s Laughfest
March 10-20, Grand Rapids

LaughFest is a festival of comedy, performance and very funny stuff. This 10-day event draws thousands to the Grand Rapids area for riotous A-List comedy acts, clean comedy showcases, improv and sketch comedy and stand up competitions. The best part? The vast majority of the events and shows are free.

This year’s headliners include Seth Myers, Chris D’Elia, Kathy Griffin, Anjelah Johnson, Sebastian Maniscalco, Jim Norton, Marlon Wayans, David Cross, Hasan Minhaj and Miranda Sings.   For those with a competitive streak, be sure and catch the Best of the Midwest Competition with some of the hottest Midwest comedians competing for a $2,500 cash prize. While you’re in town, make sure to explore Grand Rapids! It has a fantastic beer and food scene, as well as numerous family attractions so there is something for everyone.

Van Riper State Park – Lantern Lit Snowshoe
March 11, Champion

Join the Michigan DNR for an enchanted evening of fun in the snow on Friday and experience the beautiful 1.25 mile lantern lit snowshoe trail at Van Riper State Park. The trail begins 7/10th of a mile west of the main campground entrance at the rustic Peshekee Cabin. The lantern lit trail will take place that evening. In addition, there will be a cozy fire to warm up by inside the cabin along with some snacks, coffee, and hot cocoa.

maple sugar blog

Maple Sugar Festival
March 12-13, Kalamazoo

Come experience the 51st Annual Maple Sugar Festival. Start your day with delicious pancakes smothered in real Michigan maple syrup! Walk along a wooded trail with a naturalist for a maple sugar tour. Experience some amazing Birds of Prey up close! The whole family will enjoy this sweet experience. Don’t miss a visit to the DeLano Homestead during the festival to experience maple sugaring and life in the 1800s. Horse-drawn wagon rides and demonstrations by blacksmiths and fiber artists will round out the activities.

7th Annual Brew-Ski Festival
March 12, Harbor Springs

Suds and snow – is there a better combination? This is the seventh annual Brew-Ski Festival at Boyne Highlands Resort which brings together snow, craft brews, entertainment, and fun on tap. Hit the slopes, share laughter with friends, and visit the snow bars where brewery representatives will share their enthusiasm and serve up more than 220 varieties of brews from around the world. While satisfying your thirst, listen to the live music and eat some tasty food. This ritual spring celebration is a must-attend event.

leprechaun

 

Leapin’ Leprechaun 5K
March 12, Traverse City

Put on your green race gear and get ready for this annual fun run that meanders throughout downtown Traverse City. Celebrate your finish and get an early start to your St. Patty’s celebration at the post-race party tent.

 


Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra: The Magical Music of Disney
March 13, Ann Arbor

True enjoyment for your entire family! Savor the original music from some of your favorite Disney movies played by the A2SO enhanced by projections of the animation from those classics. Come dressed in your favorite costume.

March 16-22

LEGO Exhibition
March 15 – April 12, Flint

An exhibition of original Lego scultpures created by members from the Michigan Lego Users Group and the Therapeutic Lego User Group in the Art School’s Bishop Gallery. This exhibit is featured at the Flint Institute of Arts.

Krazy Daze
March 18-19, Harbor Springs

Krazy Daze has a little bit of something for everyone from live bands and wild costumes to events for the kids and adults, making it perfect for a family trip! On-snow race events include The Krazy Cup, Silly Slalom, Jump Competition and NASTAR Race. In addition, Krazy Daze features a Ski Over The Pond event for all ages, and face painting and inflatables for the kids. Come make fun family memories.

Kalamazoo World Languages Film Festival
March 18-20, Kalamazoo

This March, the second edition of the Kalamazoo World Languages Film Festival will present films from around the globe. Enjoy a diverse cinematic experience with films in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Japanese, and Latin. All films will be presented with English subtitles. If you can’t make this timeframe, there is a second weekend for the film festival from March 25-27th. Come on the opening night to meet the French film director, Maxime Giroux, for a Q&A!

Carnival Weekend
March 18-20, Boyne Falls

Carnival Weekend is nothing short of a major holiday at Boyne Mountain. Schedules are rearranged, elaborate plans formed, and the stops are all pulled out to avoid missing a moment of the fun. Like every other year’s celebration, this Carnival Weekend promises to be even bigger and better than the one before. The weekend gets started with the Carnival Kick-off Party in the Snowflake Lounge Friday night. On Saturday, the infamous On-Hill Party takes place, along with the Adult Costume Contest, and a Village Party in the afternoon. Saturday night features music to dance the night away. Sunday’s main event is the Slush Cup on Lower McLouth where you can skim or be soaked.

ballet blogBallet 5:8 Out of the Dust
March 19. Jackson

Ballet 5:8′s spring program is an incredible compilation of Ballet 5:8′s reflective, contemporary works. The program’s first work is a Ballet 5:8 commission created by New York choreographer and Chicago native Preston Miller. And Mercy explores concepts of judgment, grace and mercy in an athletic, contemporary style that engages the eye in continuous, connected movement emerging seamlessly from the music. Be sure to come and enjoy this program for a cultural excursion you won’t soon forget.

Sugarbush Festival
March 19, Grand Rapids

Celebrate the sweet arrival of spring at the 46th Annual Sugarbush Festival! This year’s festival theme is “The Best of Sugarbush!” Learn the process of maple sugaring through Sugarbush demonstrations: identifying what characteristics make up a maple tree, hands-on tree tapping, explore historic pioneer and Native American sugaring techniques and end it all with a taste test in Blandford’s Sugarhouse. Make it an all-day event with wagon rides, maple cotton candy, games, wildlife encounters and lots more family fun! It’s sure to be educational for everyone.

Montreal Symphony Orchestra
March 19, Ann Arbor

The Montreal Symphony returns to Ann Arbor for the first time since 1989, with both American conductor Kent Nagano and pianist Daniil Trifonov making their UMS debuts. “Hearing Trifonov is like having a deep-tissue massage: you keep wanting to pull away from the sheer intensity of it, and you come out feeling as if your reality had been slightly altered…a knockout.”(Washington Post)

March 23-31

March Magic Hoopfest
March 24-26, East Lansing

The March Magic Hoopfest is an interactive basketball playground for children of all ages at MSU’s Jenison Field House during the MHSAA Boys’ Basketball Semi-Finals and Finals. This event includes a variety of basketball skill games, displays and educational activities and is located adjacent to the Jack Breslin Student Events Center where the tournament games are played. It’s sire to be fun for the whole family.

easter egg huntEaster Egg Hunt
March 26, Charlevoix

Charlevoix State Bank and the Charlevoix Area Chamber of Commerce are teaming up to host the 24th Annual Easter Egg Hunt downtown Charlevoix in East Park.

As always, the event is free for children up to 10 years old. There will be different ages grouped together for the hunt.. The hunt will include 3000 prize filled eggs and some special golden eggs. So bring your Easter basket and be ready at 2:00 p.m. sharp so you don’t miss out!

There will also be face painting, a luncheon and story time if you need even more fun!

Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo
March 26, Kalamazoo

Have you ever wanted to own a reptile? Now is your chance! Come to the Reptile and Exotic Pet Expo to learn more about owning one of these creatures as well as buy, sell or trade a variety of reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and other exotic pets, supplies & food.

sleeping beauty blog

American Ballet Theatre: The Sleeping Beauty
March 31-April 4, Detroit

UMS and Michigan Opera Theatre are joining forces to bring American Ballet Theatre’s new production of The Sleeping Beauty to the Detroit Opera House. Choreographed by Marius Petipa with staging and additional choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, this classic story ballet premiered 125 years ago at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. The story is one of the most familiar and enchanting of all fairy tales: the beautiful princess Aurora is cursed by the evil sorceress Carabosse to sleep for 100 years, until she is awakened by the kiss of a handsome prince. It’s ballet on the grandest possible scale, with superstar dancers, opulent sets and costumes, and Tchaikovsky’s ravishing score performed live by the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra.

Do you know of any other cool Michigan events happening in March? Let us know!

Snowshoe Your Way Through a Pure Michigan Snow Day

Tahquamenon Falls State Park is an ideal destination to snowshoe, whether you are trying it for the first time or are looking for someplace new to explore. Theresa Neal with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, sells readers on why snowshoeing is a great way to get outside this winter season.

Winter can be a tough time for people to stay active. It’s cold outside, it gets dark early, and curling up in a blanket with a tablet or book sounds SO good! But if you are feeling a bit dreary, maybe gained a few pounds over the holidays, or find yourself in a routine that is getting a bit old, I would suggest giving snowshoeing a try. Many people are intimidated to strap giant paddles to their feet and try walking around, understandably so. I find that once people are outfitted correctly, and given a few pointers, the majority are amazed at how easy it is to snowshoe.

Photo Courtesy of D. Kenyon

Photo Courtesy of D. Kenyon

Snowshoeing Tips:

  1. If you can walk, you can snowshoe! You may need to adjust your stride slightly, and many people find poles helpful in the beginning.
  2. Aluminum snowshoes are best for icy or hard-packed snow conditions. The crampons (pokey-grips on the bottom) will give you traction, but can trip you up if you drag your feet.
  3. Traditional wooden snowshoes are great for deep, fluffy snow conditions. They are very quiet (no squeaky noises) compared to aluminum, and they leave beautiful tracks in the snow where you have walked!
  4. Used cross-country ski poles from a second-hand store or garage sale work great for snowshoeing.
  5. Expect to sweat! Avoid cotton base layers, as they soak up moisture and can make you cold. Fleece, polyester and wool are good options. Dress in thin layers so you can easily adjust your body temperature while snowshoeing.
Photo Courtesy of T. Neal

Photo Courtesy of T. Neal

Benefits of snowshoeing:

  1. You burn twice as many calories snowshoeing versus walking!
  2. You can be outside WITHOUT getting cold!
  3. After the initial investment of purchasing snowshoes, it’s free! Many state parks offer free snowshoe rental, including Tahquamenon Falls, Ludington, Hartwick Pines and Porcupine Mountains.
  4. You can explore places that are inaccessible during the summer. At Tahquamenon we hike ‘off-trail’, across marshes and through forests that are usually too wet or thick with vegetation to get through.
Bonfire

Photo Courtesy of Michigan DNR

My favorite part of winter is snowshoeing at night. The cold, crisp air seems so clean and refreshing, forcing the fog from my head and waking up my senses. The light from my headlamp glistens off the snow, and I enjoy scanning the trail for animal tracks to see who has been out since my last hike. Red fox, coyote, snowshoe hare, ruffed grouse and deer mouse tracks are most common. The best nights are those without cloud cover, when the moon is shining and the sky is filled with stars, lighting my path without needing a headlamp.

With an average annual snowfall of over 15 feet, Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a great place to explore winter on snowshoes. The park is open year-round, with two main destinations for snowshoeing (Upper Falls and Lower Falls). Check our website to print winter maps and join us on Facebook or Twitter to stay up to date on current conditions and events.

Have you ever been snowshoeing? Comment on your experience below!

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Theresa has served as the park interpreter at Tahquamenon Falls since 2005. She began her career as a naturalist with the DNR at Holland State Park as an Adventure Ranger, delivering nature programs and leading hikes for park visitors. She was then hired as a naturalist for DeGraaf Nature Center in Holland, designing and presenting programs for children and school groups. During the summer of 2005, she again worked for the DNR Explorer Program as a mentor for the Explorer Guides in southeast Michigan. Theresa is a proud graduate of Michigan State University.

Spring Skiing, Punxsutawney Phil and Misplaced Enthusiasm

Winter in Michigan is unlike anything else. Between the trails, hills and snow-covered landscape, it truly is an outdoor-enthusiast’s dream destination. One of the many great things to take advantage of during a Pure Michigan Snow Day is the beautiful ski and snowboard hills at Shanty Creek Resorts. Guest Blogger Chris Hale from Shanty Creek shares more on the iconic Pure Michigan destination, and some things you can do as the weather gets warmer.

For many years I’ve struggled with what I call “misplaced enthusiasm.” You see, it won’t be long until spring is in the air. And for many, the first hint of warmer, spring-like temps elicits throngs of skiers to pack up their winter gear. The pursuit of golf clubs, mountain bikes, and unwrapping winterized boats begins. And this is where misplaced enthusiasm lives.

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek

Think back to November. Social media pages light up like Christmas trees with questions about “When are you opening?” “How much snow do you have?” “Are the snow guns on?” and on and on. Winter can’t start soon enough, and regardless of when that opening day is, diehards willingly spend a day skiing even if that’s only on a few runs. And while that’s great, like clockwork their enthusiasm wanes by mid-March.

Sure, on some level it makes sense. Everyone loves the anticipation of what’s next. And after a long, cold winter, spring offers the promise of rebirth and blooming flowers, and blah, blah, blah. But let me be the loudest to say it: Spring skiing in Northern Michigan is simply brilliant!

The snow-pack is deep. Temps are warmer. There’s sunshine, and the slopes are 100% open. For skiers and boarders, it is nothing short of amazing!  Plus we, the industry people who live it day-in and day-out, are ready to have some fun too. That’s why all ski resorts throw our Krazy festivals this time of year!

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek

Here at Shanty Creek, the first weekend of March is our annual Slush Cup at Schuss Mountain. 46 years and counting! The day is filled with family-fun including a Seal Slide, a Frozen Fish Toss, and Shovel Racing before the big finale, and après-ski entertainment. There are s’mores around fire pits and drinks flowing at ice bars. The energy is rocking and contagious.

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek

The following weekend is our Cardboard Classic where guests bring sleds made from nothing more than cardboard, tape and glue. We race and have prizes for best design and best use of the Shanty Creek logo/brand. Then there’s Canadian March Break, St. Patty’s, the Blarney Stone slope style jam, a lot of basketball Madness on the big screen, and finally our Last Weekend Luau to close the month.  (Not to mention some incredible deals on lodging and lift tickets. Trust me. Call our reservations department or check us out online. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!)

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Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek

So grab your sticks, some shades and sunscreen, and enjoy what I consider to be the most wonderful time of the year at Shanty Creek Resorts.

Chris Hale

Chris Hale has been vice president of sales and marketing for Shanty Creek Resorts for the past 6+ years where he manages all aspects of the Shanty Creek brand. His career includes various advertising and marketing gigs and has taken him from St. Louis, MO to Boulder, CO to Atlanta, GA before making the move “up north.” He now resides in Traverse City where he is proud to call Pure Michigan “home.” Check out Shanty Creek’s Facebook and Instagram for fun updates and great pictures!