Top Five Michigan Winter Festivals [Video]
Sure, it's not officially winter yet, but take a look outside. Wind chills below zero and blowing snow do not a fall day make.
But here in the Mitten State, we take cold weather in stride. In fact, we get out and party in it. Here are the top five winter festivals in Michigan. Now get a warm parka on and get out there and get frozen!!
Join over 500 others on the trails as you race in your snowshoes across 5k and 10k courses through the woods of Northern Michigan. If you're really good at it, you could qualify for the National Snowshoe Championships in Bend, Oregon in March. If not, just come for the party that follows the morning races. BONUS: The trophies are modeled after Sasquatch.
Snow Sculpting and Ice Carving are the highlight of this festival, which winds through the scenic Saginaw County town of Frankenmuth. The festival hosts not one, but six separate snow sculpting or ice carving competitions, which means unbelievable sculptures you can actually watch getting built piece by piece. There's live music, fireworks, and children's activities. Plus, if you love chicken dinners, Frankenmuth never disppoints.
The Vasa is a two-day series of ski races in both freestyle and classic techniques held on a series of looped trails (12K, 27K and 50 miles) through the Pere Marquette State Forest, just east of Traverse City. They've recently added a Fat Tire Bike race and a Collegiate Challenge for student racers. Entering its 41st year, it is one of America's longest running citizen races. Hot soup and Short's Beer await the racers at the end.
Ice fishing is often thought of as a solitary sport, where a man goes off and sits alone in his shanty until the fish bite. Not at Tip Up Town. A city of ice fishers sets up on one of Michigan's largest inland lakes and the party is so big, it rages for two back-to-back weekends. It is one of the oldest and largest winter festivals in the nation with over 14,000 expected to partake in the snowmobile drag races, polar bear plunges, ice slide and fishing competitions.
1. Michigan Tech Winter Carnival, February 8-11, Houghton
The granddaddy of all winter carnivals, it celebrates its 94th year in 2017. Organized by students to aid in getting through the Keweenaw Peninsula's long, grueling winters, the Carnival is known for its off beat events like human sled dog races, ice bowling, snow volleyball and the Yooper sprint, which has racers try and navigate a course wearing a snowshoe on one foot and a cross country ski on the other. The carnival features a student snow statue building competition with both a long form contest, and one where the statues are built overnight.