Tip-Up Town USA, an annual Northern Michigan event that draws thousands of people to Houghton Lake, kicked off last weekend with visitors coming from across the country to enjoy the festival on the ice. Don’t worry if you missed the first weekend, you can still come out this weekend for fun family events.

We talked with Kim Akin of the Houghton Lake Chamber of Commerce to get an idea of what to expect at this year’s Tip-Up Town.

To start, let’s recap the first weekend of this year’s Tip-Up Town events. How many people attended and who came from the farthest? 

“We sold about 9,000 badges which are required for entry. That’s not to say they all attended Tip-Up Town, but that is the only count we have. We had guests from Tennessee and Alabama. The Grand Parade, the legendary ice slide, and the antique snowmobile display were all big hits. There were lots of entries in the ice fishing contest.”

What’s making this year’s event stand out compared to past years’?

“This year we changed the site layout and we’ve heard lots of compliments about it being more open and easier to navigate. We added a Chili Cook-Off this year, have ‘tour guides’ on our shuttle buses, and we have a large bonfire pit area for guests to enjoy.”

For people who have never attended, what would you tell them to expect? 

“I would tell newbies to expect Michigan’s largest winter festival complete with carnival rides, fireworks, a petting zoo, an ice fishing contest, games on stage, a family fun tent, pony rides, reindeer exhibit, redneck horseshoes, an adult beverage tent, and MORE!!!”

Do you have a list of top 3 not-to-miss events this weekend?

“Top 4 not to miss for this weekend are (1.) Polar Bear Dip (2.) IWPA Sanctioned Dog Weight Pulls (3.) Spicer’s Boat City Poker Run, (4.) Mike Avery Outdoor Sports Program.”

Is there anything else you want our readers to know about? 

“I would like people to know that it takes over 200 volunteers, various community groups, and countless sponsors to organize this event. It is a true statement as to how a small community can pull together and do something this great for so many to enjoy.”

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Photo(s) by Houghton Lake Chamber of Commerce