Norman Rockwell would feel right at home in Manistee, Michigan December 4 – 8, 2013, with plenty of rosy-cheeked faces, costumes, and antics right off the cover of a vintage Saturday Evening Post.
The Annual Victorian Sleigh Bell Ride and Old Christmas Weekend in Manistee, Michigan is a winter festival that continues to grow, drawing more than 10,000 visitors in 2012. It’s no surprise, as the list of fun activities continues to expand, and the good cheer, costumes and activities of old-world Christmases gone by soaks into the very fiber of the town.
The Sleigh Parade itself, starting at 5:30pm on Saturday, continues to be the main draw, as crowds line the streets for the event, dressed-up postmen gather all the letters to Santa from local kids, and all culminating in the arrival (by horse-drawn sleigh, of course) of the official Manistee Christmas Tree. But there’s so much more to explore if you take the time, by getting to Manistee a few hours (or days!) early, and maybe stay just as long after. Catch live performances of It’s a Wonderful Life nightly, or at least enjoy some hot cider and roasted chestnuts.
Just a few highlights:
Wednesday, December 4
Sleighbell Princess and Prince Pageant
6:30pm, Ramsdell Theatre Ballroom
Thursday, December 5
Victorian Dessert Contest
7:00pm, Faith Covenant Church
Friday, December 6
In Vogue Brass Ensemble
6:00pn, under Vogue Marquee
Saturday, December 7
Jingle Bell Jog
10:00am, Kennedy School
Cookie Fun for Everyone
11:00am, Manistee Inn & Marina
Gaslight Guided Tour of Historical Lumberman’s Mansion
1:00pm, Babcock House, 420 Third Street
Sunday, December 8
Festival of Trees
10:00am, Ramsdell Theatre Ballroom
Full list of events and activities at the Manistee Visitors’ Bureau site.