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12 Things to Do in a Michigan November

by Lisa Diggs

The holiday season seems to come earlier and earlier, doesn’t it? The good news is, there are a lot of fun events and shopping opportunities that now come in November, which previously would have been December. We’ve picked out some fun ones.

Nov 5 All Things Detroit Holiday Edition – Detroit

Already known for a wide variety of homegrown buying opportunities, this month Eastern Market is host to a shopper’s frenzy that emphasizes the region’s small businesses. Dine on Detroit delectable, sample savory sweet treats, talk to a wide array of local entrepreneurs, and acquire acclaimed products and services from in and around Detroit. General admission tickets are $5 and doors open at 11AM. Beat the crowd tickets include advance shopping opportunities at 9:30AM, complimentary food truck voucher, complimentary Faygo beverage voucher, and a tote bag.  

Nov 5 Vets Fest – Detroit

During the 1950s and ‘60s, a parade was held every year on Woodward Avenue to salute veterans. Then the tradition went away, and it took veterans to bring it back. Still, each year, a surprisingly low amount of people turn out to show their appreciation to these brave men and women. Mark your calendar and come out to show your support. The 12th Annual Detroit Veterans Day Parade kicks off at the intersection of Jefferson and Shane at Noon. It will go along West Jefferson, and then end at Hart Plaza. This year’s event will be honoring Grand Marshall, and Medal of Honor recipient, Jim McCloughan.


Nov 7 Making It in Michigan Marketplace – Lansing

Entering its tenth year, the MSU Product Center brings together a wide variety of agriculturally-based businesses to learn and to showcase and sell products. The conference is a ticketed event. Admission to the trade show marketplace is gree. There you have the opportunity to sample a wide range of Michigan-made foods and beverages. Discover unique products to serve during the holidays and maybe even a gift or two.


Nov 9-18 Traverse City Beer Week – Traverse City

The Traverse City area may be better known for its wine than beer, but it’s actually home to a bustling craft brew industry. The city’s Beer Week is designed to showcase that through a series of events hosted by your favorite T.C. establishments. Special events include tastings, tours, a pub crawl, a Flapjack and Flannel Festival, and even the Great Beerd Run. Visit the website for a full list of available events.

Nov 16-18 International Wine, Beer & Food Festival – Grand Rapids

In Grand Rapids they’ll be combining beer, wine, ciders, and spirits for this annual libation celebration. This culinary fest, featuring over 1,800 beverages from around the world, along with creations from the area's finest restaurants. Whether you are an experienced taster looking for the latest and greatest palette-pleasing sensation, or a novice hoping to gain a little expertise, this fest will serve up some delights. It offers a vast array of extraordinary tastings, cooking demonstrations, wine and beer seminars, mixology, gourmet foods, specialty items and accessories.  

Nov 17 Silver Bells in the City – Lansing

The Capitol Building is always majestic, but there is something truly special about it at this magical time of year. Be there, when the lights begin to twinkle. The entire city of Lansing will be aglow, including the electric Light Parade. After which, the steps of the capitol will sparkle as the official State Christmas Tree is lit, followed by a spectacular fireworks display cascading right over the capitol dome. Downtown cultural institutions and venues will also be open and free to the public featuring nearly 50 arts and cultural entertainers, and free cookies and cider will be available at five locations throughout the city.

Nov 17 Luminary Festival – St. Joseph

St. Joseph is one of Michigan’s most delightful coastal towns. It takes on an extra charm during this lovely time of year. Downtown shops offer refreshments and special sales to get your holiday shopping off to a good start. Best of all, you can simply stroll the beautiful candlelit streets, as 1,000 luminaries light your way.

Nov 17-Dec 17 The North Pole Express – Owosso

Gather the family and hope aboard the Pere Marquette 1225 for an incredibly adventure. This glorious locomotive, built in 1941, was the inspiration for the train depicted in the 2004 Christmas movie classic, The Polar Express. Passengers will board the train at the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso and journey back in time to the Village of Ashley's Country Christmas. The 4-hour magical experience includes a train ride that will last approximately an hour each way, and two hours for passengers to participate in the activities in Ashley.  

Nov 18-Dec 31 International Festival of Lights – Battle Creek

Battle Creek is all aglow for the holidays with colorful displays sparkling along the Battle Creek River and State Street every night throughout this festive event. One of the most popular displays that attracts viewers year after year is the Twelve Days of Christmas located on the back lawn of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Aside from the beautiful lights, downtown games, music, horse-drawn wagon rides, crafts, bike races, and even singing competitions add to the fun.

Nov 23 America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – Detroit

Downtown Detroit is vibrant every day of the year nowadays, but never quite as magical as Thanksgiving Day. Broadcast all over the country, this holiday tradition has been taking place on historic Woodward Avenue since 1924. Look for the trademark “big heads” of famous Michiganders, remarkably detailed floats, and hilarious giant balloons. It takes place before the Lions take to the gridiron at nearby Ford Field, so plan to come down early to find a place to park, and a good viewing spot!

Nov 24-Dec 10 Dickens Festival – Holly

Thanks to a certain Ebenezer Scrooge, Charles Dickens has long been associated with the Christmas season. In Holly, that has been true for 44 years, since the advent of the Holly Dickens Festival. It’s actually the longest running Dickens-themed event in the United States. Set in historic downtown Holly, the annual festival spans three weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It begins with a lighted parade, the arrival of Santa, and a tree-lighting ceremony on November 24.

Nov 25 Holiday in the City – Musekgon

Shop local downtowns throughout the holiday season, and especially on Saturday, November 25. Widely known as Small Business Saturday, many towns are filled with local merchants creating unique experiences that day, and Muskegon is no exception. You’ll find discounts, giveaways, historic holiday tours, carriage rides, and the holiday lighting of Hackley Park. Santa will also make an appearance. If you’re feeling lucky, be sure to get your card stamped for an opportunity to win a beautiful basket of goodies from local merchants.  


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