PETOSKEY: One of the oldest traditions in Petoskey, the Winter Carnival, established in 1928, is getting a breath of fresh life starting this year. Once it was a week-long celebration with a fox chase, skating championships, a Queen of Winter, ice thrones, a grand ball, toboggan runs, parade, and masked carnival, among many other festivities. The Winter Sports Park, managed by the City of Petoskey, has kept the tradition alive with figure skating competitions, sledding and the cardboard challenge sled race, bump jumping, and hockey events during a one-day event that draws hundreds—locals and visitors alike.

The Downtown Management Board Events Committee has hosted a separate Winter Festival since 2008 with events designed to lift winter spirits and encourage circulation through the Downtown stores. It has always fallen on the weekend following the City’s Winter Carnival, and by merging the two weekends, there can only be strength in numbers.

Downtown Promotions Coordinator, Kate Manthei, said, “One of the best aspects of certain Petoskey events is how rooted they are in the past. The Winter Carnival is so special because it was the first winter event of its kind in all of Michigan. Petoskey was once known as the Winter Capital of the State, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t reclaim that title. We’re obviously blessed with the large ski hills in the area, but the Winter Sports Park and our Downtown are a huge point of pride as well. We’re so thrilled the City welcomed the idea of combining our winter events, and I have not a doubt that in the next few years you’ll see the Winter Carnival come alive in a really exciting way.”

This year’s 87th Annual Winter Carnival will be held February 12th through the 15th. With downtown events such as a progressive dinner, chocoholic frolic, and carnival day, along with the Winter Sports Park outdoor competitions and activities, there is guaranteed fun for everyone this President’s Day Weekend!

Event details can be found at