Traverse City Events: February in Northern Michigan will be funny once again when Michael Moore and Jeff Garlin ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") host the Traverse City Winter Comedy Festival in downtown Traverse City, headlined by a slate of popular, edgy comedians February 14-17, 2013 in historic venues of the frozen North.

The expanded comedy festival, which will make use of the Winter Wonderland we call Northern Michigan, will be presented and run by the Traverse City Film Festival, in partnership with the National Cherry Festival. "It will run pretty much the same way as the summer festival," said Moore, "except for the tire chains."

Operating under the slogan of "two dozen comedians, a bunch of movies, thousands of laughs — and 200 inches of snow," the festival will feature top nationally-renowned comedians in concert each night, the best up-and-coming comics in the U. S., an improv group or two, comedy films, open mic comedy, family comedy, and comedy filmmakers — including Mike Birbiglia, who is returning to Traverse City with his film "Sleepwalk With Me."

Front Street will also be the site of a free ice skating rink, an awesome ferris wheel, a big sledding hill, ice sculptures, a hot chocolate contest, outdoor light shows after dark, the return of the Williams Bros. and lots more family events produced by the National Cherry Festival, including a sports arena and the most popular events from past Winter WOW!Fests in Traverse City.

"We're going to need a lot more electricity on Front Street," said Garlin.

Venues for the festival include the State Theatre, the City Opera House, the Old Town Playhouse and InsideOut Gallery. Events will be priced so that all people will be able to attend — and some of the events will be free.

Sunday morning’s pancake breakfast will benefit the area’s food pantries, and it is hoped that the festival will pump revenue into the entire local economy. "In five years," said Moore, "planeloads of people, fruitlessly trying to escape global warming, will come to Traverse City, Michigan to enjoy comedy in the freezin' cold."

Trevor Tkach, executive director of the National Cherry Festival, said, "For all the right reasons, we're taking our wintertime efforts that went into producing the Winter WOW!Fest over the past six years, and this year we're putting them to great use by working together with the Traverse City Film Festival to make a world-class event that will benefit the entire community. Plus, we've learned that we just really like moving snow."

The full comedian line up will be announced in the coming months, and tickets will go on sale in January.

Find more Traverse City events on our event calendar!