Michigan’s summer festivals are for ice cream, and its winter festivals are for ice—and screaming.

Plan now to get off your couch, get outside and get some Instagram-worthy moments by frozen turkey bowling, bumpjumping, schussing and outhouse sprinting. If we made up any of these winter antics, you can smack us with a frozen fish.

Houghton Lake Tip-Up Town, January 18-19 & 25

The 70th edition of this ice-fishing festival is so big it doesn’t fit into just one weekend. Lots to see and do, and, just the opposite of pulling fish out of the water, people jump in for the polar bear dip. houghtonlakechamber.net/event/tip-up-town-usa/2020-01-18

Shanty Creek Resort’s Sardine Special, January 20

Over the MLK holiday weekend, Shanty Creek Resort will let as many people as you can pack into your car to ski for $69. That covers skiing or riding for everyone. shantycreek.com/event/sardine-special-3

Traverse City Bigfoot Snowshoe Race, January 25

These shoes are made for laughing. The whole idea is to have people who have never snowshoed strap on a pair and race a course that’s “a super hilly off-trail run with plenty of logs to jump and branches to duck.” Oh, swell. runsnow.com

Michigan Tech Winter Carnival, February 5-8

One of the nation’s largest, oldest and coldest winter festivals, it has tremendous snow statues, sleigh rides, skits and broomball. mtu.edu/winter-carnival

Winterfest, Benzie County, February 8

Frozen turkey bowling, frozen fish toss, the outhouse sprint, dog weight-pulling contest, a chili cookoff and more in tiny Beulah. clcba.org/event/winterfest

Vasa Festival of Races, Traverse City, February 8-9

This began in 1977 as a dignified cross-country ski competition, but it has since jumped the tracks and now embraces fat-tire bike races named the Fat & Flurrious and the Fat Chance and a ski/fat-tire bike biathlon. vasa.org

Petoskey Winter Carnival, February 14-15

You must try or watch bumpjumping, which involves one ski, a seat, a hill and snow. There is also hockey, sledding and a U-build-it cardboard challenge. petoskeyarea.com/event-detail/petoskey-winter-carnival

Trenary Outhouse Classic, February 29

So, for the 27th year Yoopers will decorate and push outhouses on skis through town, and crowds will line up to watch the race? You betcha. trenaryouthouseclassic.com

Nub’s Nob Mardi Gras, March 21

Music, music, music, costumes on skis and a competition in which people ski onto water. The last one in wins the Soaker Cup. nubsnob.com/calendar

Top Photo: turkey bowling in Beulah, MI


Joe Grimm is co-author of “Coney Detroit” with Katherine Yung, which makes him one of the biggest hot dogs in Michigan. Grimm went to high school with Scott Lukas and prefers a coney dog made with a poppy seed bun. As a student, Joe Grimm biked from the Detroit area to Mackinac Island for more bicycling on one of the only places in the United States that does not allow cars. Today, one of his favorite overnight Mackinac resting places is the Island House Hotel.

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