The Beulah Winterfest in Benzie County has been an annual tradition for over 30 years. Locals and visitors come together for a day of winter fun and family events. This year, the downtown Beulah event is set for Saturday, February 13 and will start with breakfast at 8:00 a.m. and end with fireworks over Crystal Lake at 7:15 p.m.

We talked with Vicki Carpenter, an organizer of the event and a member of the Crystal Lake Community Business Association, about the Northern Michigan event.

For someone who has never attended, what are the top 3 “not to miss events” over the weekend?

“It’s hard to keep it to 3. The chili contest is open to businesses and individuals and voted by the ‘tasters.’ The games, such as frozen fish toss and turkey bowling are popular.  We are in our 6th year of our Outhouse Races. Individuals and groups in adult and youth categories run two 90-foot sprints and the best times win, in both categories. There is also a best in show category that wins a traveling trophy, an oak toilet seat with their name added to the plaque on the lid and a picture of their entry inside when you lift the lid. It’s a thing of beauty. There’ve been very creative entries over the years.”

The late freeze on Crystal Lake has canceled the Sheriff’s Dive Team event for safety reasons. Other activities, including a cookie sale and horse-drawn wagon rides, are listed on

You don’t often see “frozen turkey bowling” listed as an event. Tell us more about it.

“Our ‘frozen’ events fit the winter theme. Frozen turkey bowling involves frozen 2-liter bottles as the pins. The turkey is indeed frozen, and for women and children, we have a frozen chicken and a frozen game hen. The kids have fewer ‘pins’ to hit. The frozen fish toss is by distance, and the size of the fish varies based on the participant. Winners get to keep their turkey and the fish along with a plaque and a Winterfest T-shirt.”

What else can visitors do in Beulah during the weekend?

“The Benzie County Players have a performance of ‘Love Letters’ on Saturday and Sunday at the Mills Community House in Benzonia. The Oliver Art Center in Frankfort has a free exhibit: Furniture, Fiber, Photography and Sculpture, which will appeal to all ages. They are open on Saturday and Sunday. The Garden Theatre has family matinees on Saturday afternoons this winter.”

Is there anything you’d like to add?

“We have a bonfire on the beach all day, and the chili contest is in the pavilion, which has side panels, and we have heaters inside that area as well. We want people to have fun and be able to come in and warm up too. The Crystal Lake Community Business Association (CLCBA) is an all volunteer group and promotes the Beulah and Benzonia area of Benzie County. The CLCBA sponsors events all year.”

For more information about the Beulah Winterfest, visit the Crystal Lake Community Business Association’s website

More Northern Michigan Winter Events

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