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12 Things to Do in Michigan in February

by Lisa Diggs

February may be a short month, but there’s no shortage of ways for Michiganders to experience winter fun. These are just a dozen of the many awesome entertainment options from which to choose throughout the state.

Jan 30-Feb 1 Ice Breakers 2015 – South Haven

The not-to-be-missed highlight of this annual event is the sculpting of more than 50 blocks of ice, weighing 300-600 pounds each, into incredible works of frozen art. Then, just when you think it’s gotten too cold, you can warm up at the Chili Cook-off. There’s also a Pub Slide, horse drawn wagon rides, kid crafts, and much more fun to be had among the glorious scenery that comes with South Haven. www.southhavenmi.com

Feb 2 National Day of Courage – Dearborn  

The National Day of Courage celebrates the memory of Rosa Parks, who helped spark the modern civil rights movement in 1955 when she refused to give up her seat on a city bus. It’s a moment that etched itself in America’s moral history. For many years Michigan was home to Mrs. Parks, and now it is home to the infamous bus upon which she took her stand. The bus is one of the most stirring attractions at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. On this day, The Henry Ford celebrates the life of Mrs. Parks and the rippling effect of her incredible stand through artifacts and speakers who attest to the courage she inspired. www.dayofcourage.org

Feb 4-7 Michigan Tech Winter Carnival - Houghton

Snowcarving has become its own winter sport around our state, and the Huskies take it to new heights each year. Featuring dozens of huge, intricate snow statues all around campus and the community, this event also brings together students to participate in broomball, comedy skits, sleigh rides, a queen coronation, and lots of winter fun. They should have plenty of snow to work with…averaging almost 200 inches every year, MTU is one of the snowiest colleges in the nation.  www.mtu.edu/carnival

Feb 5-8 Michigan International Auto Show – Grand Rapids

For those that may have missed last month’s auto show in Detroit, all is not lost. This month you can search for your next great vehicle in Grand Rapids. Car manufacturers from around the world bring their finest traveling displays showcasing: sedans, vans, SUV’s, trucks, hybrids and sports cars. It’s a spectacular opportunity to comparison shop, or just to enjoy this year’s new models. www.showspan.com/MAS

Feb 6-8 Michigan Pond Hockey Classic - Whitmore Lake

There is something very special about playing hockey outdoors. It brings out the kid in everyone. Thus, hockey in its purest form, is returning to the frozen waters of Whitmore Lake. This event promises three days of nonstop 4-on-4 hockey action. The games will take place on manicured 75’ x 150’ rinks and will be 30 minutes long with no off-sides, no icing calls, and no goalies. This is the largest 4-on-4 pond hockey tournament in Lower Michigan. Plus, all of the proceeds go directly to a fund that will be dispersed to local school districts and hockey associations. www.michiganpondhockey.com

Feb 7-8 47th Annual International 500 Snowmobile Race – Sault Ste Marie

Snowmobiling isn’t just a fun sport to do, it’s also a great one to watch. Head to Sault Ste. Marie for the 47th 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. When drivers accelerate to speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour on the straightaways, your heart will race too. www.saultstemarie.com

Feb 12-16 UP 200 Sled Dog Race - Marquette

If you’ve always dreamed of taking in the excitement of the Iditarod, but without the expensive Alaskan airfare, then this is the event for you. 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 course, but because of the cheering crowds and warm welcome they receive in the “Yoop.”. The UP 200 trail covers 240 miles from Marquette to Grand Marais, with a return to Marquette along the same trail. The terrain includes stretches of near-wilderness, creek crossings, hills and valleys, and heavily forested land. 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. Downtown Marquette is the place to be. www.up200.org 

Feb 13-15 Winter Comedy Festival – Traverse City

As winter dredges on, laughter may be what gets us through until grey skies again turn blue. Fortunately, the comedy fest in TC is starting to become as much of a staple in winter as the film fest is in summer. Some of America's best comedians, or at least the ones hearty enough to make the trek north, will be descending on Traverse City for the event this year. Performers include: Bill Maher, Judd Apatow, Sinbad, Natasha Leggero, Ben Bailey, Jeff Garlin, and many more. www.wintercomedy.org

Feb 20-22 Meijer State Games of Michigan -– Belmont

The Meijer State Games of Michigan is a multi-sport, Olympic-style event that welcomes all kinds of athletes. The games embody the values of participation, sportsmanship and healthy living among residents of the state. The philosophy is that everyone participates regardless of age or ability; everyone is welcome and everyone plays. The competition will be held at various venues throughout West Michigan. Opening Ceremonies for all participants will be held Friday, February 20, 2015 at Cannonsburg Ski Area. www.stategamesofmichigan.com

Feb 20-22 Pine Mountain Continental Cup Ski Jumping Tournament

Many people don’t realize that Pine Mountain is one of the premier “large hill” ski jumping venues in North America, along with the two US Olympic facilities in Lake Placid and Park City, and Canada’s two Olympic jumping venues in Calgary and Vancouver. That’s pretty elite company and one of the reasons why many of the top jumpers in the world partake in this classic event each year. Thousands of fans tailgate at the bottom of the hill during the tournament, and are thrilled as the spectacle unfolds before them. www.kiwanisskiclub.com

Feb 27-28 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 beer, featuring over 600 brews from more than 70 breweries. Dress for winter weather and let the hearty winter brews warm your soul. Like postal workers on their routes, neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, keeps the beer from flowing. The hours are: Friday 3pm-7pm and Saturday 1pm to 6pm. Tickets are $45, limited, and advance purchase is required. www.mibeer.com/winter-festival

Feb 28 Trenary Outhouse Classic - Trenary

This may be one of the month’s wackiest traditions by far. Homemade outhouses are made of wood, cardboard, plastic, tape, old foreign cars, grand piano crates–you name it. The outhouses are placed on skis and pushed by two "Racers," a very loosely used term. Organizers like to say, “Once you enjoy an outhouse race, you’ll have memories that you just can’t erase.” Yep, it’s cold up there. www.trenaryouthouseclassic.com


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