Traverse City Events: They came from Traverse City and Petoskey, from Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau County. And Manistee, Benzie and Boyne City. They came, dressed in red and red hot tamale boxes and belly dancing outfits, from all corners of Northern Michigan to celebrate the Red Hot Best of Northern Michigan at the Red Hot Best Bash at Turtle Creek Casino near Traverse City.

Nearly 600 people packed the Third Level Lounge and Ballroom at Turtle Creek Casino to sample fabulous Northern Michigan wine, coffee, microbrew and food from 25 top Northern Michigan restaurants, wineries and breweries—and to congratulate the 300 winner in the Red Hot Best of Northern Michigan Contest. Each winner received a plaque personally signed by Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine, founder Deborah Fellows. Meanwhile, guests were entertained by singer/songwriter Drew Hale, two twirling talented belly dancers, and the Southern belle flirtations of blogger and comedian Anita Merlot. But wait, there’s more: Thanks to the generosity of sponsors the Griffin Beverage Company and Northern Natural Wines, there was more great Michigan beer and wine on the house in the Third Level lounge.

Each guest left with Red Hot gift bags brimming with samples and coupons from our vendors—including a $10 certificate for hitting the casino after the party, samples from Pavlova, a gorgeous Petoskey postcard from Grandpa Shorter’s, free appetizer certificate from Magnum Hospitality (Red Mesa Grill, Pearl’s, Cafe Sante) and more. Also in each gift bag? A copy of the Red Hot Best June 2011 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine, containing the winners in the 100 Best Of categories—held under wraps and top secret until the night of May 17! And the best part of it all … the very, very best part? It all benefited three worthy Northern Michigan causes: The Manna Project in the Petoskey area, Leelanau Conservancy and Traverse Health Clinic!

Want to see the winners for yourselves? Look for the Red Hot Best June 2011 issue on the newsstands now, or click to order a copy. Want to purchase A LOT of copies: Click here.