Naturally November makes our mouths water with anticipation of a Thanksgiving feast, but there are many other events that can be equally tantalizing throughout the month.
The wineries of Leelanau continue to collaborate to make sampling and enjoying their offerings a delight. The Toast the Season events include local wine and fresh fare at each of the 23 participating wineries. The tasting and touring sessions run from 11am to 5pm Saturday or 12pm to 5pm Sunday during two consecutive weekends. Tickets include a featured wine and food pairing at participating wineries, a souvenir wine glass, and what we hear is a wildly popular holiday gift bag. Tickets are $75 for a pair or $50 for a single. www.lpwines.com/toast
While many people think of T.C. more for wine than beer, it’s actually home to a bustling craft beer industry. The city’s Beer Week will showcase a series of events hosted by your favorite Traverse City establishments. Local breweries, restaurants and bars will offer unique events featuring brewers and brewery representatives from around the Great Beer State and beyond. www.traversecity.com/beerweek-515
When it comes to the best of both beverage worlds, timing couldn’t be better for the third year of this new Flint tradition. You can check out more than 100 Michigan beers and 60 Michigan wines to determine what to serve during the holiday season. There will also be premiere area food vendors, seminars and demonstrations, a free photo booth, strolling magicians, and live music in an indoor park-like setting at the new and improved Flint Farmers Market. Tickets are $20 in advance or $24 at the door and include a commemorative sample glass as well as 10 beer or wine sample tickets. Additional sample tickets will be sold for just $1. www.flintfarmersmarket.com
Many communities around the state will be hosting special shopping events geared toward keeping people out of national chains at malls, and instead spending money in local downtowns. We encourage you to seek these events out in your own community and explore neighboring communities as well. One such example is this annual event which brings together participating family-owned businesses in North Muskegon. They coordinate their Holiday Open Houses during this unique weekend to offer special events, discounts, refreshments, and chances to win cool giveaways. www.michigan.org/property/muskegon-county-convention-and-visitors-bureau
Another similar opportunity will be taking place on the opposite side of the state in Blissfield near the Ohio border. The Historic Village of Blissfield invites visitors to shop in a small-town, family-friendly atmosphere that will help bring the holiday season to life. From the Christmas Tree Lighting on Friday, November 14 until a Grand Give-Away Drawing on Sunday, November 16, Blissfield offers three fun-filled days of activities. www.blissfieldmainstreet.com/events/yuletide.html
For a truly unique twist on kicking off the holiday season, the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce presents more than 50 homes and businesses that are unique and magical. Over 300 artists and crafters will showcase their gifts and creations all weekend. As you journey through Lowell, you’ll find hand-made treasures, jewelry, holiday decorations, folk art, fine art, antiques, beeswax and home-made candles, crocheted and knitted crafts, home-made rugs and quilts, and more. www.christmasthroughlowell.org
If you’re looking for a tree-lighting unlike any other in the state then consider a trip to Lansing. The entire city will glow with millions of lights for the 30th Annual Silver Bells in the City, bringing together family and friends from all over Michigan to celebrate the holiday season. Immediately following the parade, the steps of the State Capitol will sparkle as the State Christmas tree is lit, followed by a spectacular fireworks display cascading right over the capitol dome. www.silverbellsinthecity.org
Way back in 1968, a group of eighteen weavers who were interested in sharing and expanding their knowledge of hand-weaving joined together to form the Weavers Guild of Kalamazoo. Since then the organization has grown to not only include weavers, but spinners and other fiber artists. Once a year they come together to sell their works and share their passion for increasingly rare forms of art. You’ll find hand-woven items, handspun yarn, gifts and ornaments for sale, and weaving and spinning demonstrations as well as children's activities to make it fun for the whole family. www.weaversguildofkalamazoo.org
Stretching for four miles along picturesque Hines Drive, this lighting spectacle has become an annual tradition for many families. Driving together throughout the event makes it an intimate holiday celebration, even though thousands of others will take part. With more than 47 giant animated themed displays and more than one million lights, it is the Midwest’s largest and longest light show. The route is open from 7pm until 10pm daily from November 20 until December 31(except for Christmas Day). The fee is only $5 fee per vehicle and you can enter at 7651 Merriman Road in Westland. www.waynecounty.com/news/2889.htm
It’s hard to find a more delightful town in which to take a stroll than Frankenmuth. Step back in time for wholesome family fun with a Bavarian twist. Walkers can partake in hot cocoa and cookies at 6pm at River Place and then join the candlewalk to Chamber Platz for the lighting of the Tannenbaum. Good old St. Nick will be in the Pavilion from 6:30-8:30pm as well. www.frankenmuth.org
Take your loved ones to the beautiful Detroit Opera House for Tchaikovsky’s magical holiday classic, and they may indeed find themselves with visions of sugar plums dancing though their heads. This BalletMet Columbus' production features a talented cast of more than 100 professional company dancers as well as local children. The narration is by Sir Roger Moore, and Tchaikovsky's enchanting score will be played by the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Peter Stafford Wilson, Associate Conductor for the Columbus Symphony. www.michiganopera.org
By and large kids LOVE trains, almost as much as they love Mr. Claus. Just imagine the excitement when they hop aboard these vintage passenger cars and discover that a special seat has been reserved just for the big guy and his friends. Elves will escort the children to sit with Santa. All the kids will get a present, even the shy ones, and be treated to a reading from The Polar Express, which was written by Grand Rapids native, Chris Van Allsburg. The Santa Train will operate November 29 & 30, and Saturdays & Sundays in December through December 21. www.mitrain.net/SantaNew.html
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