From The Nutcracker at Interlochen Center for the Arts to Brunch with Santa at Black Star Farms, here are 18 events to make your December and holiday season in Northern Michigan even more festive.

Victorian Sleighbell Parade & Old Christmas Weekend // December 2–5

Go back in time at this Manistee festival. The weekend is filled with a Festival of Trees, Craft Show, Jingle Bell Jog, fireworks and so much more. The best part? The parade with turn-of-the-century characters, elves on stilts and, the star of the show, Belgian draft horses that pull a 30-foot Christmas tree down River Street.

Learn more about this Manistee holiday event.

Christmas by Candlelight Concert // December 4

The Erickson Center for the Arts invites you to enjoy candle-lit Christmas classics by master violinist Paul Lundin of the True North Quartet and pianist Robert Conway. The concert will take place at the Pine Performance Center.

Winter Jazz Ensemble Showcase // December 4

Winter is the perfect time to take in the sounds of the season! Join the NMC Jazz Bands for their Jazz Ensemble Showcase at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City.

Farmland 5K // December 4

Join the Farmland 5K for a European-style run and bike race, featuring dirt trails, rolling hills, turfgrass and optional knee-high barriers such as straw bales, fallen logs and fences.

Learn more about this event on the official Farmland 5k website.

The Jeff Haas Trio featuring Artist Michael Novak // December 6

Higher Art Gallery is excited to welcome the energy of live music back into their space again with a regular first of every month concert, featuring The Jeff Haas Trio. The trio will perform favorites from the Great American Songbook as well as original music exploring avenues for cross-cultural collaboration.

Cookbook Dinner Series // December 6

Amical’s Cookbook Dinner Series features “The Spirit of Alsace” by Gabriel Kreuther. The James Beard award-winning chef showcases his refind global style, embracing the French, Swiss and German influence from his homeland, Alsace, and his adopted home, New York City.

Learn more about this event on the Amical website.

Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” // December 9 – 12

The timeless story of Clara and her enchanted Nutcracker comes to life once again on Interlochen’s stage. Audiences are delighted by exceptional dancing, breathtaking costumes, dazzling scenic design and live accompaniment by the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet.

Learn more about this event on the Interlochen Center for the Arts website.

Black Star Farms Brunch with Santa // December 11

It’s that time of the year again! Get into the holiday spirit and bring the family to Black Star Farms Suttons Bay for a special Brunch with Santa. Enjoy a family-friendly meal, including menu options that will surely delight your little ones. Don’t forget to get a photo with Santa!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year // December 14

The NMC Concert Band will play all of the holiday classics at their upcoming show. Come celebrate “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and hear all of your favorite Christmas and Hanukkah tunes.

City Park Grill Spanish Wine Dinner // December 17

Indulge in this five-course Spanish wine dinner. Feast on Spanish dishes like orecchiette pasta and harissa roasted salmon perfectly paired. Special guest, Scott Stubbs, will guide guests through a sampling of Spanish wine features. Early reservations are suggested for this popular food and wine favorite.

Messiah by the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra // December 16-17

Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra is bringing you a special performance featuring “Messiah,” written by German composer George Frideric Handeland in 1741 as well as other popular selections from Johann Sebastian Bach.

Wild Game Dinner // December 17

Enjoy a memorable evening at the Otsego Resort with a private chef-prepared wild game dinner in the Pontresina, while you take in the view over the Sturgeon River Valley.

Winter Wine Walk // December 18

Grab your skis or snowshoes and get ready to take a beautiful winter stroll. The Winter Wine Walk at Otsego Resort is coming up—attendees will surely warm up along the way while enjoying sips of delicious wine, and a roaring bonfire will greet you at the finish line.

Traverse City Track Club’s Jingle Bell Run // December 19

Join the Jingle Bell Run, which tours neighborhood streets bordering downtown Traverse City decked out in holiday lights and decorations. The event, highlighted by runners of all ages and abilities donned in festive costumes, is non-timed and followed by cookies and hot chocolate.

Learn more about this event on the Traverse City Track Club website.

Family Movie Matinee // December 19

The Pine Performance Center presents Family Movie Matinee @ The Pine!, featuring the popular winter film, “The Polar Express.” Perfect for the entire family!

Italian Christmas Wine Dinner // December 23

Celebrate the holiday season with scrumptious Italian dishes including beef carpaccio, cioppino, sausage and mushroom ragu, porchetta, and panettone. This five-course feast is paired with delicious Italian wines presented by special guest Michael Heintz of Enotec.

Comedy Night at Otsego Resort // December 28th

Enjoy dinner and a show at Otsego Resort featuring Electric Eel Comedians Ken Evans, Cam Rowe, and Harry Artin. Dinner includes a caesar salad, choice entree, and chef’s choice dessert.

New Year’s Eve Wine Dinner // December 31

Get ready to kick off the New Year with Black Star Farms! The talented culinary team will present a special multi-course, wine-paired dinner at their luxurious Up North Inn. Celebrate in style (black tie optional) and bring your friends and family.

17th Annual Sparkle in the Park // Now–December 31

Each year, the Village of Bear Lake hosts Sparkle in the Park, a free drive-through light display in Hopkins Park featuring thousands of lights—90,000 just in the park, with more along US-31 and at local businesses and homes.

For more information visit the Sparkle in the Park Facebook page.

Photo(s) by Interlochen Center for the Arts