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Northern Michigan Winter Festivals: The Super Guide


We’re not surprised one of Michigan’s northernmost cities has given rise to ... for one of the most coveted prizes in amateur hockey, you’ll need the extra real estate afforded by a Great Lake. Take it all in February 15–18. If there’s a winter ...


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ADTECH.enqueueAd(82766); ShareTweetSharePinEmailPrintdiscussvar switchTo5x=true;stLight.options({publisher:"0cce5f5c-75fd-4d39-b062-1249f9967d65",doNotHash:true,doNotCopy:true,hashAddressBar:false}); Northern Michigan Winter Festivals: The Super Guide By Lou Blouin on December 15, 2017 Tagged Events, Festivals, Bellaire, Boyne City, Cadillac, Gaylord, Glen Arbor, Harbor Springs, Leelanau County, Petoskey, Traverse City, Upper Peninsula Photo by Angela BrownMardi Gras at Nub's Nob Find the snow and dive into these Northern Michigan winter festivals! Northern Michigan Town Festivals Tip-Up Town This two-weekend-long festival in Houghton Lake is proof we Michiganders don’t let winter slow us downIn fact, the event’s lineup gives you most of what you’d expect at a summer celebration, including carnival rides, outdoor concerts, and a petting zooOf course, you can also partake in some cold-weather staples like an ice fishing competition and—if you really want to prove your northern mettle—the Polar Bear DipJanuary 19–21 and January 26–28. Michigan Tech Winter Carnival We’re not surprised one of Michigan’s northernmost cities has given rise to one of the country’s largest and longest-running winter festivalsThe annual Winter Carnival in Houghton includes elaborate and massive snow sculptures, sleigh rides, a winter queen pageant, a beard-growing contest, a broomball tournament, and plenty of other antidotes to cabin feverFebruary 7–10. Petoskey Winter Carnival This year marks the 90th year for the annual celebration, which has one of the most packed lineups of any winterfest in the North—including a full day of carnival activities just for the kidsOutside, you can enjoy sledding, curling, figure skating, several hockey games, and a broomball tournamentOr if you’d rather stay toasty inside, check out the wine tasting events and progressive dinner at several downtown establishmentsFebruary 16–19. Glen Lake Winterfest This small-town festival keeps it earnest and low-key with an all-ages perch-fishing contest on Big and Little Glen Lakes, a chili cook-off, and an outdoor party on the deck at BoonedocksAll proceeds benefit the Glen Lake Schools Scholarship FundFebruary 18. Northern Michigan Ski Resort Festivals Shanty Creek’s Ski FREE With Santa on Christmas Day Once the kids have torn through the presents, pack them in the car and head to Schuss Mountain for a full day of free skiing alongside Santa himselfThe event also doubles as a chance to give back—so bring your donations of nonperishable foods or gently used household items and winter clothingDecember 25. Boyne Country Sports Manufacturers Demo Day If you’re thinking this year’s the year for that new snowboard or pair of skis, this free event at Boyne Mountain Resort will let you shop gear from a dozen major brands all under one roofPlus, the demo area lets you try before you buyDecember 27. World Snow Day at Crystal Mountain First-time skiers and snowboarders are front and center at this internationally celebrated event designed to introduce youngsters and newbies to the world of winter sportsBest of all, Crystal Mountain’s full-day local festivities are completely freeJanuary 21. Boyne Highlands Homecoming Reconnect with some familiar faces or make new friends at this weekend party that’s rich in old-school, family-friendly charmWarm up at the community bonfire before heading out for a night cross-country ski, a torch-lit snowshoe walk, or some cardboard sleddingThen head back in for drinks, dinner, live music, dancing, and end the night with fireworksJanuary 26–27. Mardi Gras at Nub’s Nob The flagship event of this Mardi Gras celebration is no doubt the Soaker Cup—a downhill ski run where thrill seekers attempt to coast across an unfrozen section of Lake NubsFor those who prefer to not risk taking an unplanned dip, there’s also a full day of games, ski races, and music from the Petoskey Steel Drum BandMarch 17. Spring Carnival at Caberfae Peaks The ski and snowboard events at this annual winter party are geared toward the brave, with a big air contest and “rail jam” at Jibber’s terrain parkBut if you’re favoring a lower-key weekend, head straight to the bottom of the hill to enjoy food, drinks, and live music at the outdoor bar and grillOr try to snag a prize for best-dressed at the “Halloween in the Spring” costume paradeMarch 17. Northern Michigan Food and Wine Festivals Traverse City Restaurant Week With a focus on locally sourced foods, Traverse City’s dining scene has emerged as one of the most dynamic in the state—so much so that it can be hard to keep up with all the inventive menu changes and recent restaurant openingsCatch up on everything you’ve been missing with a $25 ticket that gets you a three-course meal at one of dozens of participating downtown restaurantsFebruary 26–March 4. Romancing the Riesling Sample all the incarnations of the grape that’s become one of the all-stars of the Northern Michigan wine scene, while touring the rolling wine country of Old Mission PeninsulaTickets earn you samples at multiple tasting rooms, a souvenir glass—plus the good cheer of other riesling fanaticsDesignated driver tickets availableFebruary 17. Taste the Passion Not to be outdone, this two-day annual winter tour of the Leelanau Peninsula’s celebrated wine trail pairs local wines with sweet and savory small-platesGet in on the “Snow Fun” photo contest and you’ll put yourself in the running for event swag, which includes a complimentary souvenir glassGrab a lodging package and make a weekend out of itFebruary 10–11. Harbor Springs Restaurant Week This annual late-winter event has gotten so big, it’s actually busted out of the date confines implied by its nameFor the last few years, area foodies have enjoyed a full 10 days of lunch and dinner specials at a wide variety of Harbor’s best restaurantsBecause of the high demand, reservations are recommendedDates TBA. Suds & Snow Now a dozen years old, this annual party at Timber Ridge bills itself as TC’s “original winter microbrew event.” Enjoy craft brews, wine, and cider from more than 20 local breweries; food from local vendors; plus live entertainment at two hike-in music stages in the middle of the woodsMarch 3. Northern Michigan Winter Races Bigfoot Snowshoe Race This feel-good winter event is about as straight up as it gets: simply show up, rent a pair of snowshoes if you don’t have your own, then hit the trail for a lighthearted 5K or 10K through the hilly terrain of TC’s Timber Ridge ResortMany participants are first-timers, so don’t be shyThough if you want to learn a thing or two about good form, watch for the handful of serious snowshoe racers who use the Bigfoot as a qualifier for February’s U.SNational ChampionshipsJanuary 20. Grass River Shiver Proceeds from this 5k/10K race support conservation and education work at the wooded wetlands of the Grass River Natural AreaThe $20 registration also gets you a meal at the after-race chili cook-off, plus a ticket to a soup lunch at Short’s Brewery in nearby BellaireJanuary 13 (date changed from the usual weekend). White Pine Stampede One longtime organizer calls this premier cross-country ski event “the biggest family reunion on the planet,” and with more than 40 years of history, we don’t doubt it lives up to its billingTest your endurance on either the 20K or 50K courseOr if you prefer to focus on the scenic Antrim County surrounds, try the non-competitive 10K eventProceeds benefit the Children’s Hospital of Michigan FoundationFebruary 3. VASA Festival of Races Organizers’ decision last year to reverse the usual direction of the cross-country course was such a hit, they’ve kept the “VASA vice versa” for this year’s raceShort’s Brewery is also back as an event sponsor, so expect a full lineup of their creative craft beers at the post-race event tentAnd don’t miss Saturday’s fat bike races—plus the return of the “Skifatalon,” a combined ski/fat-bike competition on a 27-kilometer courseFebruary 10–11. Women’s Winter Tour Tackle the snowy winery trails at 45North on your choice of skis, snowshoes, or fat bikes at this share-the-trail event, which also features deluxe treats, sandwiches, soups, coffee, and sparkling wineProceeds benefit the nonprofit Active Women Now, dedicated to supporting healthy lifestyles for womenSuperbowl Sunday (February 4). UP200 Sled Dog Race Even if you don’t know much about sled-dog culture, every Michigander owes it to herself/himself the experience of taking in at least one running of the UP200The 230-mile contest—the state’s flagship sled-dog event—is actually just one of three races that take place over four days, meaning you’ll have multiple opportunities to take part in the cacophonous start-and finish-line festivities—and all the celebrating that happens in Marquette in betweenFebruary 15–19. Labatt Blue U.PPond Hockey Championships “Pond” might not be the most accurate term when describing the setting for this annual outdoor hockey tournament in StIgnaceThe games, after all, are played on a frozen coastal stretch of Lake HuronBut when you have more than 200 teams battling it out across 75 rinks for one of the most coveted prizes in amateur hockey, you’ll need the extra real estate afforded by a Great LakeTake it all in February 15–18. Tahquamenon Snowshoe Race If there’s a winter sports event with a more scenic setting, we’re not aware of itThis annual snowshoe race starts at the Upper Tahquamenon Falls and winds its way through majestic stands of Upper Peninsula pines, cedars and hardwoodsChoose from either a 5K or 10K on the groomed courseFebruary 17. Michigan Snowmobile Festival Unseasonably warm winter temps forced the cancellation of this Gaylord event last year, but with the almanac calling for a cold, snowy winter, snowmobilers have their fingers crossed for a big 2018Check out the beer tent with live music, snowmobile races, sled rides for the kids, and a slice of snowmobile history at the vintage sled showFebruary 23–24. Subscribe to the free Getting Up North newsletter for more travel ideas! More Winter Vacation Ideas Northern Michigan Hotels Your Guide to Traverse City Restaurants 9 Gorgeous Northern Michigan Winter Vacation Ideas Explore Pictured Rocks Winter Ice Caves in the Upper Peninsula   Cornerstone: Northern Michigan Winter Festivals Article Comments ADTECH.enqueueAd(82716); ADTECH.enqueueAd(82767); ADTECH.enqueueAd(2221404); ADTECH.enqueueAd(82699); ADTECH.enqueueAd(3068651); ADTECH.enqueueAd(3068650); ADTECH.enqueueAd(82686); ADTECH.enqueueAd(82757); ADTECH.enqueueAd(82679); ADTECH.enqueueAd(82705); ADTECH.enqueueAd(82644); ADTECH.enqueueAd(82780); ADTECH.enqueueAd(82725); ADTECH.enqueueAd(82762); ADTECH.enqueueAd(82783); ADTECH.enqueueAd(82648); ADTECH.enqueueAd(82646); ADTECH.enqueueAd(82810); Facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram 125 Park Street, Suite 155, Traverse City, MI 49684(231) 941-8174  ·  Fax: (231) 941-8391

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