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12 Things To Do in a Michigan February

by Lisa Diggs

The arrival of February makes us realize spring will eventually come, but not until we have some more winter fun.

Feb 1-28 The Science Behind Pixar – Dearborn

The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation takes guests behind the animated curtains of Pixar this month. This interactive exhibition showcases the science, technology, engineering, and math concepts used by artists and computer scientists to bring Pixar’s award-winning films like Toy Story, Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo to life. With more than 40 interactive elements, the exhibition’s eight sections each focus on a step in the filmmaking process. While at the museum you can also check out Engines Exposed, a rare look under the hoods of over fifty of the museum’s unique autos ranging from a 1904 Packard Model L to a 1987 Ford Thunderbird Stock Car. www.thehenryford.org 

Feb 1-15 Light Up the Bluff – St Joseph

Missing the magic of holiday lights? Head to lovely St. Joseph, where the lights along the bluff are still all aglow. Gather the family or that special someone and take a stroll beneath the arches atop the bluff. Weekends are especially magical since you can pop down to the beach and enjoy a ride on the Silver Beach Carousel. While there, marvel at the ice and snow along the shore, a show that changes daily, and then go up for the lights and warm up over a delicious meal in one of the many local eateries. www.stjoetoday.com   

Feb 9 Midwest Telefest – Ontonagon

Attention telemark skiers, the Porkies are calling you! The Winter Sports Complex at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is hosting a for a weekend of weekend just for you. Saturday's activities include afternoon races, the big Tele-Turn group ski and a potluck dinner. Sunday features guided backcountry tours, with locations dependent upon snow conditions. www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,,7-153--458917--evt,00.html

Feb 8-17 NMU Fringe Festival – Marquette

The roots of this unique event can be traced back to Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1947, when eight theatre groups were shunned from the Edinburgh International Festival. The snubbed actors decided to stage their productions anyway on the “fringe” of the official festival. The Fringe Festival at the Forest Roberts Theatre was inspired by this idea. It was created to allow Northern Michigan University’s graduating seniors to showcase their capstone projects. Three different theatrical pieces are performed, produced, and directed by the students of the theatre and entertainment arts program each evening. www.nmu.edu/forestrobertstheatre/fringe-festival-0

Feb 9-10 Curling Fest - Chelsea

Yes, there’s a sport that involves brooms on ice. Perhaps you’ve only seen these unusual competitions during the Winter Olympics, or come across them on the CBC while flipping channels. This month in Chelsea, you get a chance to experience it live. Curling Fest is a 2-day event featuring learn-to-curl lessons for novices on Friday, February 9 and a tournament on Saturday, February 10. Spectators are welcome to come and watch the bonspiel (the term for curling tournament) free of charge and enjoy music, beer, food, hot cocoa, and more in a heated tent. www.chelseamich.com/event/curling-fest-2018

Feb 9-11 Michigan Pond Hockey Classic - Whitmore Lake

Enjoy hockey in its purest form—on makeshift rinks across a frozen lake. Snow outlines each manicured surface, and the familiar sounds of blades scraping ice and pucks bounding off sticks are ever-present. Two countries, including seven states, are represented as one hundred teams gather annually for three days of nonstop hockey action, and of course mingling under a big beer tent. This is the largest 4-on-4 pond hockey tournament in Lower Michigan, and all the proceeds go directly to a fund that will be dispersed to local school districts and hockey associations. www.michiganpondhockey.com

Feb 16-25 Restaurant Week – Detroit

There are so many new and award-winning eateries popping up in Detroit it’s almost impossible to keep up, but one week out of the year provides an excellent opportunity for culinary exploration. During the Motor City’s Restaurant Week, an impressive array of eateries will showcase locally-sourced, specially-crafted three-course meals for just $39 per person. Others are even offering exciting menu options for just $29 per person. No tickets are required, but reservations are recommended. www.detroitrestaurantweek.com

Feb 17-25 Restaurant Week – Grand Haven

If you’re on the west side of the state and craving new dining opportunities, check out Grand Haven’s Restaurant Week. Eateries in the Downtown District will be offering Prix Fixe menus or featured selections at bargain rates. You will find $8 lunch and $15 dinner options. Some businesses are said to be offering kids’ specials as well. www.visitgrandhaven.com/event/grand-haven-restaurant-week/2018-02-17

Feb 16-18 Winter Games 2018 – Primarily Grand Rapids

Watching the Olympics often inspires people to dream of what it would be like to compete in those sports or witness them live. Now comes your chance, albeit on a much smaller scale. The Meijer State Games of Michigan is a multi-sport, Olympic-style event that welcomes athletes regardless of age or ability. Any Michigan resident is welcome and everyone plays. Be an athlete, a volunteer, or a spectator. www.stategamesofmichigan.com/home

Feb 23-24 13th Annual Winter Beer Festival – Comstock Park

The 2018 Winter Beer Festival will feature more than 125 Michigan breweries and brewpubs. Each guest ticket comes with 15 tasting tokens which guests can exchange for 3 oz. samples from around 1000 different craft beers (note that some specialty beers will require 2 tokens per 3 oz. sample). Guests will also enjoy fine music from local bands, other entertainment, ice sculpture demonstrations, and fire pits to warm up by. A selection of tasty food will be available for purchase at the festival. www.mibeer.com/winter-festival

Feb 24 Trenary Outhouse Classic – Trenary

Who would think a goofy event like this could be entering its 25th year, and yet here it is! About 3,000 spectators gather each February for this Yooper tradition that features makeshift outhouses, mounted on skis, being pushed down a snowy course by brave souls donning wacky attire. They do it for a love of sport, and serious bragging rights. Fur hats are encouraged too, not only for warmth, but as entries in the Best Fur Hat Contest. Who knows? You could leave town a winner, with or without an outhouse.  www.trenaryouthouseclassic.com

Feb 24 Michigan Snowmobile Festival – Gaylord

It’s hard to find a better area for snowmobiling than Gaylord. There you’ll even find a recently improved trail that runs sixty miles to Mackinaw City. It’s scenic and fast with particularly gorgeous vistas on the way to Vanderbilt. The snowmobile fest features five different stops: Treetops Resort, Beaver Creek Resort, Paul’s Pub, Porter Haus and the Keg Bar. Participants can visit as many or as few of the stops as they choose, and in any order they choose. Turn in a slip (available at registration) at each stop to be entered to win prizes. Spend the day snowmobiling or spectating as others roar by then gather at the Pavilion downtown starting at 3:30 for music, a heated beverage tent, food, and drawings for gift certificates and even a $1,000 cash prize! www.gaylordmichigan.net 


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