Pure Michigan February 2014 Events Roundup

Winter is in full swing and there are tons of fun upcoming events happening across the state! From sled dog races to outdoors expos and restaurant weeks, there’s something for everyone this February in Pure Michigan. Below are just some of the many events happening in February. Please visit michigan.org  for a complete listing of Michigan events.

Week of January 27th – February 2nd

Downtown Kalamazoo Restaurant Week
January 27, 2014 – February 2, 2014, Kalamazoo
Explore a variety of downtown Kalamazoo restaurants during Kalamazoo’s restaurant week. During this one special week, participating restaurants will create a dining deal – whether that’s a three-course meal, paired dinner or beyond. Times vary. Visit website link for participating restaurants.

Michigan Ice Fest
January 30, 2013 – February 2, 2014, Munising
Ice Fest takes place in Munising, Michigan on the shores of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Lake Superior. The Munising area is the host to one of the largest ice festivals in the country. The 2014 Michigan Ice Fest will be held January 30-February 2nd at the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising, Michigan. Headquarters can be found upstairs at Sydney’s Restaurant The Michigan Ice Fest is the perfect place to become familiar with the area and to meet other climbers from the Midwest. It happens in Munising on the first weekend in February every year.

Ice Breaker Festival
January 31, 2014 – February 2, 2014, South Haven
Now in its 21st year, Ice Breaker Festival will host winter fun for the whole family. West Michigan’s predominant and growing winter festival is showcasing dazzling ice sculptures, Chili Cook-off, Pub Slide, outdoor ice skating, curling, 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; make sure to enjoy the Pub Slide, with food drink & entertainment specials offered at participating bars and restaurants all weekend long. For additional information, contact (269) 637-5171.

International 500 Snowmobile Race
February 1, 2014, Sault Ste. Marie
Come join Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, for the 46th 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. 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. Mark your calendar for the weekend of February 1, 2014 and get ready for the thrill of a lifetime!

Michigan Winter Triathlon
February 2, 2014, Muskegon
This is your opportunity to try out three exciting Winter Olympic sports (luge, ice speedskating and cross country skiing) in a family-friendly competition smack in the heart of “Pure West Michigan.” The event is geared toward those that have never done at least one of these sports. There are no big awards. There is no pressure to win. We want you to simply have fun doing a sport you would not normally think about trying. It will be a fun competition. Serious competitors will also be welcome but our main focus is to introduce you to a new sport that you may never before have tried. We will teach you everything you need to know to get through this competition in continuous 20 minute clinics at each venue. Event held at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex which is within the Muskegon State Park. Family rate $50, 13 and over $25, and 12 and under $20. Visit the website link for registration and additional information.

Week of February 3rd – February 9th

Winter Carnival
February 5, 2014 – February 8, 2014, Michigan Technological University
During an all-night competition, Michigan Tech students carve larger-than-life sculptures from mountains of snow.

Detroit Camper & RV Show
February 5, 2014 – February 9, 2014, Novi
All types of new 2014 recreation vehicles will be on display including folding campers, motorhomes, travel trailers, truck campers and fifth wheel travel trailers. This show will include booths featuring parts and accessories, campground information and RV financing making this the complete RV Show experience. Parking and admission fee. For showtimes or more information, click on the website link or call (517) 349-8881.

Michigan International Auto Show
February 6, 2014 – February 9, 2014, Grand Rapids
Where the automotive world comes to you! This is the greatest annual opportunity to view your “next new car!” Car manufacturers from around the world will bring their finest traveling displays with 300 + new vehicles, including sedans, vans, SUVs, trucks, hybrids and sports cars. Not only is the Auto Show the best place to shop and compare options for every day vehicles, it is also the first opportunity for West Michigan residents to see many of the most recently released or “soon to be released” models! Admission fee.

Magical Ice Fest
February 7, 2014 – February 9, 2014, St. Joseph
Enjoy a weekend of winter fun in downtown St. Joseph. Weekend activities include individual and team ice carving competitions, the return of Ice Wars presented by the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council, and the SnowBiz Scavenger Hunt! This weekend has something for everyone to enjoy!

Independence Lake Ice Fishing Derby
February 8, 2014, Whitmore Lake
Join us for a fun-filled day of competition and prizes! Catch Northern pike, blue gill, bass and crappie. Bring your own bait. No alcohol, ATVs, or snowmobiles.

Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival
February 8, 2014, Traverse City
The annual Winter Microbrew & Music Festival is the perfect opportunity to warm up with some of the best craft beer, cider, and mead from around the area (and the Midwest). Pair that with local grub from some of Traverse City’s best, live entertainment, and more winter themed fun, and you have the perfect recipe for an afternoon of winter fun! Downtown Farmers Market area.

Week of February 10th – February 16th

UP200 Sled Dog Race
February 13, 2014 – February 17, 2014, Marquette
The UP 200 is one of America’s premier 12-dog, mid-distance sled dog races. 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. The mushers will leave Marquette Friday evening and arrive in Grand Marais sometime Saturday morning. After a layover to rest and eat, they’ll head back to Marquette late Saturday afternoon and evening. Come join in the excitement for the start of the race located in downtown Marquette, Michigan.  For more information on this event, visit the website or call (906) 228-3072.

Cupid’s Couple
February 14, 2014, Jones
Cupid’s Couple Course. Love skiing? Love snow? Love each other as connected couples make their way through
an obstacle course. Contest will take place Friday evening around 7pm on the flatland behind the Ski Rental building. Listen to live music in the chalet afterwards and make a date of it.

Midnight Run
February 14, 2014 – February 15, 2014, Marquette
The Midnight Run is an eight-dog, 90-mile race. This race is typically a faster race than the UP200. Midnight Run mushers will again start in downtown Marquette traveling to Chatham and then returning to Marquette for the finish. Midnight Run mushers start 30 minutes after the last UP200 team, but not before 8:30pm.

West Michigan Golf Show
February 14, 2014 – February 16, 2014, Grand Rapids
For over 20 years, West Michigan has started their golf season off right with the West Michigan Golf Show. 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. Admission fee.

Little Traverse Bay Snowshoe Dog Walk
February 15, 2014, Harbor Springs
This event is perfect for those looking to get out and enjoy the beauty of northern Michigan this winter. Participants are invited to bring their furry friend for a snowshoe walk through the woods (three trails ranging from beginner to expert) while exploring the beauty of a northern Michigan farm. Afterwards, enjoy a delicious lunch while your best buddy snacks on some tasty treats of their own. $30 in advance, $35 day of the event, and $5 for children 12 and under. Snowshoes will be available on-site at no charge. To reserve snowshoes, call (231) 347-2396. 11am to 2pm.

Detroit Boat Show
February 15, 2014 – February 23, 2014, Detroit
The Detroit Boat Show is the original, biggest and best boat show in the state of Michigan, featuring the premiere showing of hundreds of new 2014 and new non-current model boats, motors, trailers, accessories and more, ranging from 1- to potentially 50 feet in length, including: fishing boats, ski boats, pontoons, cruisers, inflatables, pontoon watercraft, kayaks, antique boats, race boats and much more. Saturdays, Friday & Monday 11am – 9pm; Sundays: 11am – 6pm; Tues, Wed, Thurs; 3pm – 9pm.  Admission for adults $12, children 12 and under are free with an adult, Seniors (62 and older) free on Monday. For more information cal (800) 932-2628 or visit our website.

Week of February 17th – February 23rd

Grand Rapids Boat Show
February 19, 2014 – February 23, 2014, Grand Rapids
A West Michigan tradition! In our 68th year, the Grand Rapids Boat Show is launching into an era where we will be showing our broadest array of power boats ever…especially for the Great Lakes! Besides Motor Yachts and Cruisers we have attracted Great Lakes Catamarans, Tugs, Trawlers, and even a new Australian marvel, Sealegs…for those that need to get their boat out of Lake Michigan and up onto the beach. Boaters, this is your Show!

Aqua Freeze Festival
February 21, 2014 – February 23, 2014, St. Clair Shores
Ice carvings, with activities for children and adults, food, fun, warming stations, ice skating, hockey shoot, and more.

February 22, 2014, Coopersville

The winter festival, which always kicks off with Thom Eno playing a tough tune on a sharp, cold, steel instrument (the saw), is scheduled for February 22nd and is designed to give families something to do on a cold winter Saturday in Michigan. Many of the events are held outside and the weather is always a challenge to stay ahead of. In the past, various groups have sponsored activities like the Polar Plunge Challenge, the 5K Chill, and of course the Decorated Toilet Seat Contest. The Outhouse races will run no matter what the weather! There is also plenty going on inside at the Coopersville Farm Museum & Event Center: the Chili Cook-off, live music, and kid’s crafts and activities. Most of the activities throughout the day and into the evening are free or low cost. This is an outing the whole family can enjoy–close to home, affordable, and fun.

Grand Haven Restaurant Week
February 21, 2014 – March 1, 2014, Grand Haven
Discover old and new favorites as you explore eateries in Grand Haven’s downtown and centertown districts! At participating eateries, you can check out their special Restaurant Week priced menus including $8 lunch and/or $15 dinner. For additional information, contact the Grand  Haven Main Street Downtown Development Authority at (616) 844-1188.

Experience Beer
February 25, 2014, Grand Rapids
“Michigan Beer Dude” Ben Darcie teaches you how to taste and talk about our nation’s favorite beverage, including its cultivation from field to glass, all while sampling Michigan brewed beer and appetizers specifically paired for the tasting. Stop drinking beer and start experiencing it! February 18 and 25. $50 per person. Reserve by calling (616) 975-3151.

Week of February 24th – March 2nd

Outdoorama
February 27, 2014 – March 2, 2014, Novi
Whether it’s hunting, fishing, boating, canoeing, hiking, mushroom hunting or bird watching, this show has plenty to offer. The Outfitter’s Expo area along with major feature attractions like “Big Buck Night,” “Wildlife Encounters” and the Trout Pond provide the best place to book the trip of a lifetime or entertain the family. In addition, with a huge display of boats, docks and lifts, and marine accessories, this show is the best place to shop for new boats and accessories. Outdoorama is a must-see for everyone who loves the outdoors. Phone (800) 328-6550.

The MARVAC Battle Creek Camper & RV Show
February 27, 2014 – March 2, 2014, Battle Creek
All types of new recreation vehicles with over 50 units and over 15 brands displayed from folding campers, motor homes, toy haulers, travel trailers and fifth wheel travel trailers. Booths featuring parts and accessories, campground information, RV financing and RV rentals. Weekdays 11am – 8pm, Saturday 10am – 8pm, and Sunday 11am – 5pm. Adult admission is $5, senior admission is $4 and children under 12 are free. For more information contact (517) 349-8881.

Women’s Lifestyle Expo
February 28, 2014 – March 1, 2014, Kalamazoo
An annual two day extravaganza created for women by women! Every minute is designed to be fun, educational and entertaining! Admission for adults $5, children 12 and up $2, children under 12 are free. Fri 12-6pm, Sat 9am-5pm. Held in Main Expo & Expo South.

The Great Lakes Comic-Con
February 28, 2014 – March 1, 2014, Warren
Over 100 vendors/dealers at our largest show yet! Friday night 7pm to 9pm and Saturday 10am to 6pm. Admission fee (children 10 and under free both days). Free parking. For more information, call (888) 497-3116.

Which February events do you plan to attend?

How To Ice Climb a Frozen Waterfall in Michigan

In advance of the Michigan Ice Fest in Munising this February 5th – 8th,  festival organizer and ice climbing enthusiast Bill Thompson lets us in on some of his tips for ice climbing a frozen waterfall in Pure Michigan. 

In casual conversation when it comes up that I enjoy the sport of ice climbing, the usual response is, “there’s ice to climb in Michigan?” followed closely by “you guys must be crazy”.  The fact of the matter is that Michigan has some of the highest concentration of ice climbs in the country, and no we are not crazy!

Ice Climbing in Michigan has changed a great deal over the years.  Back in the “olden days”, only a handful of climbers danced up routes that seldom saw two ascents in a single year.  Now with the popularity of ice climbing it is common to see climbers “up here” every weekend.

Nestled on the shores of Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore offers some of the country’s most outstanding ice climbing.  The area is predominately sandstone which rises magnificently up to 200 feet above the shores of Lake Superior which has been shaped over the decades by wind, ice and pounding waves. These cliffs, colored in shades of brown, tan, and green by the iron, manganese, limenite and copper in the water, give the area its name sake.   During the cold winter months, these sandstone cliffs seep water that forms spectacular ice curtains and pillars which ice climbers are drawn to.  Add dozens of true water falls to the mix and suitable climbing conditions December through April and Munising becomes an ice climber’s paradise!

For me the attraction of ice climbing is part location and part sounds.  Image being on the shores of one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world, snow lightly falling and not a sole around for miles.  The sound of your ice axe sinks into to the pillar with a confident “THUNK”.  Moving your feet slowly up, crampons biting into the ice, you ascend to a place where few people are privileged to visit.  The sounds, sites and movement are truly addicting.

Now ice climbing isn’t a sport where you run down to your local outdoor store, purchase the gear, and head on out to climb…….now that WOULD be crazy!  The best way to experience the sport to see if you like it is to head on out to the Michigan Ice Fest.  Traditionally held the first weekend in February in Munising Michigan, this grass roots event has been taking place since the early 1990’s, making it one of the oldest Ice Fests in the country.  During Ice Fest there are opportunities to try out the latest climbing gear and clothing, take instructional courses and clinics on a variety of ice climbing-related subjects, as well as interesting and inspiring slide shows from world-class climbers.  If you are an aspiring ice climber- the Michigan Ice Fest should be on your calendar!

With the right training, just about everybody can ice climb.  Many are driven by the challenge, others to the opportunity to experience the unique landscape and beauty of the Upper Peninsula in winter.  Whatever their reasons are, I can assure you that there are thousands of ice climbs in Michigan, a unique opportunity to learn how to do it, and you really don’t need to be crazy to try!

Have you tried ice climbing in Pure Michigan? Tell us about it! 

Bill Thompson is co-author of An Ice Climber’s Guide to Munising, Michigan. For the last 28 years, Bill has lived and climbed in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is co-owner of Down Wind Sports in Marquette and is also the organizer of the Michigan Ice Festival, which draws 400+ climbers to the region annually. Bill enjoys traveling to different climbing destinations nationally or internationally, but can be just as happy cragging locally with his son, Blake. 

3 Things to Know about Ann Arbor and the 2013 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

Are you heading to the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic in Ann Arbor on New Year’s Day? Laura Berarducci from Visit Ann Arbor brings us a few know-before-you-go tips for enjoying the event.

Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor is no stranger to thousands of sports fans converging at the corner of Stadium and Main Street to cheer as their team battles within The Big House.  However, New Year’s Day will bring a host of different fans — and a sea of red and white will be welcome in Wolverine territory as the Detroit Red Wings face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®.

Many are anticipating that the game will set a new world record for attendance at a hockey game. The previous record was set in 2010 between University of Michigan and Michigan State University at Michigan Stadium. There are also hopes of breaking the Big House attendance record of 115,109 set this year during the night game against Notre Dame.

For those coming to town, here are three key things you may want to know about Ann Arbor and the event to help make your visit as enjoyable as possible.

#1: More than Just Hockey

Coming to town early or staying an extra night? Perhaps you are accompanying a hockey fan to town but aren’t going to the game. Regardless, Ann Arbor has plenty to do leading up to, during, and after the game. A number of businesses are extending their hours and remaining open on New Year’s Day. Check back often as the list is updated weekly. Go to VisitAnnArbor.org for more information about the vibrant, walkable downtown area and a full listing of dining, shopping, and attractions.

#2: New Year’s Eve Ball Drop

The NHL is working closely with the City of Detroit and The Detroit Red Wings to offer an array of events in Detroit to help commemorate the occasion. However, those not heading east for New Year’s Eve should join the “The Puck Drops Here” street party taking place along Main Street in Downtown Ann Arbor from 8 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. Headlining the event is Michelle Chamuel, runner-up on NBC’s ‘The Voice’ last season. The grand finale will be the midnight countdown as we lower a 10-foot puck lit with 6,000 LED lights designed and fabricated by local artists. More information is available at VisitAnnArbor.org.

#3: Game Day Specifics

109,901 fans in a city with a population around 114,000? Even with a majority of the University of Michigan students heading home for the holidays, knowing how to get in and around the city is going to make the experience much smoother. Complete details including an area map, road closures, and fan guide are available at nhl.com/winterclassic.

  • Photo courtesy of the NHL

    Buses and Shuttles: The NHL is coordinating a school bus shuttle system from designated areas to the stadium from 9am-noon and then again after the game. On game day, Winter Classic Shuttle wristbands can be purchased at participating hotels and from attendants at designated parking lots. Click here for a complete list of routes and more information.

  • Parking: Check the Shuttle Routes to take advantage of the Park & Ride lots that will be operating on New Year’s Day. You may also park in any of the Downtown Ann Arbor parking garages for the set special event price of $5. Pioneer High School will be open for anyone tailgating before the game, but the golf courses will be closed. More parking details are available here.
  • The Big House: In order to ensure you make it into the game you must observe the strict no bag policy. This includes all bags, backpacks, purses, camera and binocular cases, etc. Click here for a complete list of prohibited items.

Laura Berarducci is the Director of Marketing for the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and has been an Ann Arbor resident for more than 30 years. She attended both record-setting games mentioned above and plans to keep her own record intact by cheering on the Detroit Red Wings at the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. It will be the only time she wears red in the Big House. For more information about Ann Arbor and the New Year’s Events, check out www.VisitAnnArbor.org