Northern Michigan Holiday Events 2016

‘Tis the season of Santa sightings, street carolers and twinkling parades, cheerful concerts, delectable restaurant specials and festive sales. Hit all the highlights this season with MyNorth’s (really, really long!) guide to Northern Michigan holiday events 2016.

Quick Look: Find Your Town

Harbor Springs | Petoskey | Charlevoix | Boyne City | Traverse City
Suttons Bay | Northport | Leland | Glen Arbor | Beulah | Frankfort | Manistee | Cadillac

Harbor Springs

November 15: Ladies Night, 6–9 p.m.
A night of shopping at more than 25 businesses. Check out the dinner and drink specials at local restaurants.

November 25: Open House and Tree Lighting in Cross Village, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
Open House with music, food and festivities at Three Pines Studio. Annual Community Tree Lighting at 5:30 p.m.

November 26: 101st Christmas Tree Lighting, 6:30 p.m.
Tree lighting in front of Holy Childhood Church on Main and State streets. Movies at 11 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. (White Christmas) at Harbor Springs Lyric Theatre. Santa will arrive by fire truck to start the festivities. Afterward, enjoy caroling, shopping and holiday entertainment.

December 3: Merchants Holiday Open House,  6-9 p.m.
Boutiques and galleries welcome you to an evening of shopping, entertainment by the Petoskey High School Steel Drum Band and refreshments.

December 17–18: CTAC School of Ballet Presents The Nutcracker
Enjoy a dynamic and beautifully choreographed show for all ages at the Harbor Springs Performing Arts Center. Tickets available on


November 26: Stafford’s Downtown Petoskey Holiday Parade, 10 a.m.–noon

November 26–December 17: Visits with Santa, noon–2 p.m.
Every Saturday meet Santa and see his workshop at Stafford’s Perry Hotel.

December 2: Downtown Petoskey Holiday Open House, 6–9 p.m.
Santa Claus lights the giant Christmas tree in Pennsylvania Park, followed by live music and caroling, a holiday window display contest, Merry Makers Marketplace at the Crooked Tree Arts Center and more.

December 2–3: Merry Makers Marketplace at Crooked Tree Arts Center
Art fair and holiday celebration all in one.

December 4: Holiday Madrigal Dinner & Performance
Petoskey High School’s award-winning show, complete with a four-course dinner at the Perry Hotel;  $45 per guest.

December 4: Sugar Plum Fairy Tea, 1–3 p.m.
For boys and girls of all ages, attendees will sip tea and cocoa with principal performers of Crooked Tree Arts Center School of Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” including: Clara, the Nutcracker, the Snow Queen, the Dew Drop Fairy, Mirliton, and of course, the Sugar Plum Fairy. At Stafford’s Perry Hotel.

December 15–16: Messiah Plus
Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra performs at St. Francis Xavier Church. Tickets range $25- $75, available on


November 25: Tree Lighting & Holiday Parade, 3–6 p.m.
Black Friday deals and restaurant specials. From 3– 5 p.m. children invited to make craft projects at Charlevoix Circle of Arts and sit on Santa’s lap (free photo) at Charlevoix State Bank. From 4–6 p.m. cookies and cocoa served at East Park. Holiday Parade comes down Bridge Street at 5:30 p.m. Lighting of the tree at 6 p.m.

December 1–23: Charlevoix Circle of Arts Snowman Shoppe
Old fashioned holiday shopping. Closed Sundays.

December 3: Holiday Merchant Open House, all day
Entertainment, samples, snacks, refreshments, special sales, raffles and more. Don’t miss a visit from Santa Claus, a free holiday movie or the hot cocoa contest. Lights of Love takes place at East Park, 5 p.m.

December 3: Happy Howlidays!, noon–4 p.m.
Charlevoix Public Library will have professional photographer Nate Abramowski capturing the cuteness of your favorite fur friend. Pick up a digital copy of your photo the following week.

December 3–4: Santa’s Train Wonderland, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Extravaganza of model and interactive train displays. Special Santa appearances. Check website for ticket prices and options.

December 6: Holiday Centerpiece Workshop, 6:30–8 p.m.
Make a centerpiece with Lori Mitchell from Charlevoix Floral at Charlevoix Public Library. Materials and instruction provided.

December 15: Artists in Action-Flipped Out Trees, 2–4 p.m.
Learn how to make a fun holiday decoration. Instruction and demonstration provided so you can make them at home, Charlevoix Public Library.

Boyne City

November 25: Open House and Santa Parade, 5–9 p.m.
Businesses offer refreshments and shopping. From 4–8 p.m., stop by the live nativity at 231 Water St. Tree lighting at 5 p.m. Santa Parade begins at 6 p.m.

Traverse City

November 5: Dickens’ Christmas Bazaar, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Holiday art and craft show at First Congregational Church.

November 12: Shop Your Community Day
Do your holiday shopping in advance and 15% of your purchase amount will be donated to the charity of your choice.

November 10-13: Elf, The Musical, Jr. 
Based on the beloved holiday film, Old Town Playhouse MainStage Theatre. Tickets available on

November 11–19: Celebrity Christmas Classic
Four local designers create individual Christmas dining room displays. The public is invited to come and vote for their favorite. Traditional wreaths, small trees and decorative accessories available for sale. Raffle items, live music, hors d’oeurves and beverages, visits and family photos with Santa.

November 16: Holiday Sip and Dab at Blue Tractor, 6:30–8:30
Drink Michigan craft beer while painting a snowman picture.

November 18–19: Crooked Tree Arts Center Merry Makers Marketplace
Holiday arts and crafts show

November 27: Irish Christmas in America, 7–9 p.m.
Features top Irish music, song and dance in an engaging performance rich in history and humor. Tickets available on

November 27: The Accidentals Christmas EP Release Concert
The Accidentals release their first Christmas EP at the Music House Museum, Williamsburg. Tickets available on

December 1–11: Parallel 45 Theatre’s A Christmas Carol In Prose
Experience Dickens’ holiday masterpiece like never before—at a party! Utilizing non-traditional seating, imaginative props, volunteer interaction and the entire City Opera House as the stage. Tickets cost $13.

December 2: Santa’s Arrival, Tree Lighting, Open House, 5–10 p.m.
Holiday music beginning at 5 p.m. Sales, specials and prizes offered. Antique fire engine rides, Santa’s arrival, caroling and live entertainment at the corner of Cass and Front streets throughout the evening.

Hint for parents: Santa is also available on other dates, in case the line on his first evening stretches beyond bedtime. Here are other dates to see the big guy:

  • Fridays: December 9 & 16, 5 to 8 pm
  • Saturdays: December 3 & 17, 11 am to 3 pm
  • Sundays: December 4, 11, & 18, Noon to 3 pm
  • Extended Hours: December 23 & 24: Noon to 3 pm

December 3: Make it-Take it Decorations, 9–11 a.m.
A demonstration followed by a make-your-own session. $35 class fee. Botanic Garden Visitor Center, Historic Barns Park.

December 3: Biggest Little Holiday Party, 5:30 p.m.
Hors’ d’ouvres, cash bar, buffet and dancing. $32 per person, Grand Traverse Resort

December 3: Winter Songs & Carols, 7:30–9 p.m.
Local chamber ensemble Manitou Winds will present their annual Winter Songs & Carols concert. Hosted by Grace Episcopal Church in Traverse City, admission is free.

December 3: Traverse City Shop & Sip
Annual event featuring over 60 local vendors, a full bar, free admission and parking at the Hagerty Center.

December 4: Home for the Holidays with Edgar Struble
Musician, director and composer Edgar Struble performs his favorite Christmas music at the First Congregational Church. Tickets available on   

December 8: Ladies’ Night, 5–9 p.m.
Enjoy food, refreshments, and shopping specials.

December 8: MyNorth Presents: a Whiskey Cheer Mixer
One-up your friends with tips and tricks for wow-worthy holiday craft cocktails at The Parlor.

December 10-11: Home for the Holidays with the TSO
Guest conductor, Octavio Más-Arocas returns to conduct the annual holiday celebration at Lars Hockstad Auditorium. Tickets available on

December 15: Men’s Night, 5–9 p.m.
Enjoy food, refreshments, and shopping specials. Check out the MyNorth Media video below for a taste of the event.

Suttons Bay

November 20: Holiday Open House, 12–4 p.m.
Storefront window contest, refreshments and great deals. Vote for your favorite window display and register to win a $150 shopping spree.

December 2–4: Holidays in the Village of Suttons Bay
December 2, 5-8 p.m.: Holiday Stroll with street carolers, decorated trees, restaurant specials, tastes of local wines, hors d’oeuvres.
December 3, 10 a.m.: Family Day at the library with cookies, crafts and help with letters to Santa; Noon: family movie at the Bay Theatre ($1 admission); 5 p.m.: Santa arrives by fire truck and lights the Village Christmas Tree, then meets kids at the VI Grill.
December 4, Noon to 3 p.m.: Visit with Santa’s elves and reindeer (Antlers & Elves) downtown at the shops Brainstorm! and Enerdyne.


December 11: Northport Community Band and Village Voices Christmas Concert, 3 p.m.
Seasonal classics from each group and a rousing sing-along, Northport Community Arts Center, $25 adult, $5 student.


November 25 & 26: Holly Pop, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
An artful holiday pop-up at the Old Art Building.

November 25: Leland’s PJ Party & Sale, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
Wear your jammies and shop for sales.

December 3: Merry Marketplace at the Old Art Building, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Annual arts & crafts show. Complimentary cookies and coffee available.

December 10: Leland’s Holiday Wonderland, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Santa visits, the Old Art Building offers crafts and a kids movie, shops offer up treats and more in this perfect little harbor town.

Glen Arbor

November 25: Glen Arbor Pajama Shopping, 5 a.m.–8 a.m
Roll out of bed and head to the boutiques and shops for great deals.

November 25: Christmas Tree Lighting & Caroling, 6:30–8 p.m.
In front of the Town Hall, off of M-22/Western Ave. Holiday Market “Preview Party” is located inside the Town Hall immediately following the tree lighting.

November 26: Glen Arbor Holiday Marketplace, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In the townhall: 30 local artisans display their wares and Santa visits from noon to 2:30 p.m.

December 9: Winter Songs & Carols, 7:30–9 p.m.
Five musicians, nine different instruments, two guest vocalists—Christy Burich and Emily Curtin Culler. Part of the Glen Arbor Art Association’s Manitou Music Festival. Held at The Leelanau School in Glen Arbor. Admission is free, and a freewill offering will be collected to benefit music and art programs at The Leelanau School.


December 10: Christmas Magic Downtown Beulah, 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
Kids activities, horse-drawn wagon rides, Christmas Magic Parade, carolers and of course, Santa.

Frankfort & Elberta

November 26: Holly Berry Art & Crafts Fair, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Find holiday gifts and decorations at Frankfort-Elberta High School.

November 26: Tree Lighting & Santa
Santa visits Hotel Frankfort from noon to 2 p.m. Free horse-drawn carriage rides all day. Tree lighting at 7 p.m. at Rotary Park.

November 27: Festival of Trees11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Silent auction of decorated trees, wreaths and table decorations at Benzie Area Historical Museum benefits Habitat for Humanity of Benzie County.

December 1–23: Holiday Market at Oliver Art Center
A wide variety of affordable, handmade gifts. 


November 19: Christmas in Onekama
Craft show, baked goods sale, auction of plantable Christmas trees, chili cook-off and more, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at Onekama Schools. Lighting of Community Tree and reading of memorial names, followed by caroling and refreshments at the Farr Center, 6–8 p.m.

November 26–December 31: Sparkle in the Park
Celebrate the Annual Sparkle in the Park holiday lighting showcase in Hopkins Park, Bear Lake. Over 50-lighted sites turn this summertime campground into a Celebration of Lights. Open nightly 5-10 p.m.

December 1–4: Victorian Sleighbell Parade & Old Christmas Weekend
Tour a lumberjack mansion, watch a performance of A Christmas Story at the Victorian-era Ramsdell Theater, eat roasted chestnuts from a street vendor, take a carriage ride and more. Don’t miss the Victorian Sleighbell Parade as it makes its way down River Street beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 3. The highlight is a team of draft horses pulling a 30-foot Christmas tree down the street while fireworks exploding in the wintery sky.

December 2–11: A Christmas Story, The Musical
See the beloved Christmas classic at Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts. Tickets available on

December 3: Jingle Bell Jog 5K Run/Walk
Support the Manistee cross-country team. Register here


November 26: Small Business Saturday
Refreshments, sales, ugly sweater contest and entertainment from the high school band. Santa is downtown from 11 a.m.–3 p.m.

December 3: Annual Holiday Home Tour, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Tour four area homes decorated with the holiday’s finest. Free refreshments, live music and a train display. Tickets available on

December 12: Rooftops Landing Reindeer, 4–7 p.m.
Pet them, snap a picture and then warm up in the community room with some hot chocolate; Cadillac Library.

More Northern Michigan Holiday Fun

Crazy Woman Cookies & Holiday Recipes

Northern Michigan Holiday Gift Guide: 2016

How To: MyNorth Holidays Michigan Gift Wrap

Video: Fancy Frosting Tips From Ruthann’s Gourmet Bakery

Let Your Friends Choose Their Present with MyNorthTickets Gift Certificates to Local Events

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