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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 1-18 LuminoCity – Detroit

You never know what new sight you’ll find in the Motor City these days, especially when it comes to artistic expression. This month, though, you can plan on something truly unique. From Now until February 18, experience sixteen outdoor art installations with LuminoCITY, a series of sculptures emitting light and sound, that are dotting downtown Detroit. These beautifully illuminated installations twist and flow to a curated light show at heights surpassing 100-feet.

Feb 1-28 Engines Exposed – Dearborn

This rare glimpse into the history of automotive technology could only be found at the newly renamed Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. The hoods of over fifty rare autos ranging from 1933’s Willy’s “Gasser” Drag Racer to 1965’s Goldenrod Land Speed Record Car, will be lifted for a closer look. The evolving story of automotive technology will come to life before your very eyes.  

Feb 2-5 Ice Breaker – South Haven 

Head to the brisk shore for one of the hottest winter festivals around. Watch professional, amateur, and student artists carve 300-pound blocks of ice into dazzling examples of craftsmanship and creativity. Warm up with free samples at the chili cook-off. Join in on some old fashioned family fun with ice skating, curling, and horse-drawn wagon rides. Be sure to add in some time for local shopping and pub and grub stops.

Feb 3-5 Made-in-Michigan Film Festival – Frankenmuth

With the advent of outlets like YouTube and low cost filming mechanisms like tablets and phones, a new world has opened up for emerging filmmakers. It’s no longer necessary to head to Hollywood to make a movie. Many are being made right here in Michigan, with its multitude of settings and vast scenery as a backdrop. This event features over 40 such films from university students to the state’s elite filmmakers. The flicks begin Friday at 6 pm with a horror extravaganza. Saturday contains a full day of unique short films beginning at 11am. The fest closes out on Sunday with two award-winning documentaries and another block of intriguing short films.  

Feb 3-12 Restaurant Week – Detroit

There are so many new and award-winning eateries popping up in Detroit it’s almost impossible to keep up. Your best chance to explore is coming up during Motown’s 10-day Restaurant Week celebration. Twenty-six of the city’s premiere dining destinations will be taking part ranging from newcomers like Grey Ghost to mainstays like Roma Café. The majority of participating restaurants will offer three-course dinners for just $39, while some will be as low as $29. Dazzle your taste buds and your friends.

Feb 8-11 Michigan Tech Winter Carnival - Houghton

Who says college students wait for spring break to have some crazy fun? Nothing heats up the MTU campus like Winter Carnival. This tradition since 1922 has grown to be one of the largest annual winter festivals in the nation. The primary attraction features dozens of huge, intricate, snow statues to check out all around campus and throughout the community. Additional wacky fun includes broomball, comedy skits, sleigh rides, a queen coronation, even a beard-growing competition that begins with clean-shaven faces two months prior and culminates during the fest.

Feb 10-12 Michigan Pond Hockey Classic - Whitmore Lake

There is something very special about hitting the ice outdoors. It’s hockey in its purest form, and even better when it supports a good cause. Proceeds from this event help support families in need of financial assistance for their children to participate in youth athletic programs. This tournament promises three days of nonstop 4-on-4 hockey action. The games take place on manicured 75’ x 150’ rinks amongst the serene beauty of Whitmore Lake. This is the largest 4-on-4 pond hockey tournament in Lower Michigan, and tons of fun whether you’re lacing up your skates or watching from a warming tent.

Feb 15-19 Winter Carnival – Petoskey

This month, Petoskey’s Winter Carnival will celebrate its 89th year. Stunning ice sculptures will take shape on downtown sidewalks and in Pennsylvania Park. The celebration kicks off with a Progressive Dinner highlighting local products on Thursday. Friday fun includes chocoholic giveaways around town, dueling street pianos, and a ghost tour. Sports take center state on Saturday with a 5k run and broomball tournament, followed by an ice bar and DJ. Be sure to bring the little ones out on Sunday for the Kids Carnival.

Feb 16-19 UP200 Sled Dog Races – Marquette

Sled dogs are incredible athletes, and there are few better than those you can bear witness to in this classic Upper Peninsula event. The race, which draws mushers from around the US and Canada, is an Iditarod qualifier. It covers approximately 250 miles through stretches of near-wilderness, creek crossings, hills and valleys, and heavily forested land. The course is 68 miles from Marquette to Wetmore and 57 miles from Wetmore to Grand Marais. Mushers say this is one of their favorite races due to the beautiful trail and cheering crowds at checkpoints along the way.  

Feb 24-25 12th Annual Winter Beer Festival – Comstock Park

During a chilly season, this is easily one of the hottest tickets in town. The Winter Beer Festival is an outdoor celebration of Michigan’s golden delight, featuring products from more than 100 breweries and brewpubs. Each guest ticket comes with 15 tasting tokens which can be exchanged for 3 oz. samples (note that some specialty beers will require 2 tokens per 3 oz. sample). Friday features music from The Concussions and Big Dudee Roo. Fauxgrass will take the stage on Saturday as will The Mainstays. Enjoy ice sculpture demonstrations and delectable food and then warm up by a fire.

Feb 25 Trenary Outhouse Classic – Trenary

One of the state’s most unique events takes place at the end of February. For the 24th time, Yoopers will build makeshift outhouses, mount them on skis, and push them down a snowy course about the length of a football field, hoping to earn a modest cash prize and serious bragging rights. If you happen to have a fur hat, bring it along to stay warm, and to enter the Best Fur Hat Contest. While in town, be sure to stop by Trenary Home Bakery for some of their famous cinnamon toast.

Feb 26-Mar 4 Restaurant Week – Traverse City

With chefs like Mario Batali singing its praises, Traverse City is increasingly becoming known as a foodie destination. Nearly 40 participating restaurants will offer three-course meals for $30 per person. For added enjoyment don’t forget to pair your meal with one of the region’s phenomenal local wines.


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