Top 10 February Festivals in Michigan to Shake Off the Winter Blues

Michigan Ice Fest / Source: Blue Harbor View

February in Michigan can feel like the longest month of endless winter. But don’t despair! There are plenty of fun and lively festivals happening around the state this month to get you out of the house and shake off the winter blues.

From Mardi Gras celebrations to cozy winter carnivals, here are my picks for the top 10 February festivals in Michigan worth braving the cold for.

1. Rochester On Tap

Rochester On Tap / Source: Rochester On Tap

Rochester On Tap is a beer lover’s paradise, featuring unlimited samples from over 100 Michigan craft beers. The festival takes place in downtown Rochester, with two Saturday afternoon tasting sessions.

Sample beers from sought-after breweries like Founders, Odd Side Ales, Griffin Claw and more. Chat with brewmasters, enjoy pub fare from local restaurants, and listen to live music.

The lively atmosphere and camaraderie among fellow craft beer enthusiasts make this a must-do event. Just be sure to plan for safe transportation after sampling brews for hours!

2. Michigan Nordic Fire Festival

Michigan Nordic Fire Festival / Source: WOODTV

Embrace the Nordic spirit of winter in charming downtown Oxford during the lively Michigan Nordic Fire Festival. Watch in awe as ice artists use chainsaws and torches to craft enormous glowing ice sculptures illuminated by bonfires.

Enjoy free activities like sledding, ice skating, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. Sip local craft brews, signature cocktails, and fine wines inside one of the many warming tents.

I had so much fun exploring this magical winter wonderland. The ice and fire elements create a cozy and otherworldly atmosphere like no other Michigan festival.

3. Michigan Winter Dog Classic

Michigan Winter Dog Classic / Source: The Detroit News

If you’re an animal lover, don’t miss the Michigan Winter Dog Classic up north in Harbor Springs. This three day canine extravaganza includes dog sledding, skijoring races, and other dog powered winter sports.

Marvel at the athleticism and determination of the dogs as they race through the snow. In between races, enjoy dog dock diving, frisbee and agility demonstrations.

Kids can meet adorable puppies, watch doggy demonstrations, and make dog themed crafts. Food vendors will be on site to fuel all the fun. I’ve been going to this event for years now and am constantly impressed by the amazing dogs and their close bonds with their humans. It’s so heartwarming.

4. Midland Annual Chili Cook Off

Midland Annual Chili Cook Off / Source: Midland Daily News

When the temperatures drop below freezing, nothing warms you up like a steaming bowl of chili. Head to Dow Diamond baseball stadium in Midland for their annual chili cook off competition.

Professional and amateur chefs compete to see who makes the best chili in ten categories including vegetarian, spiciest, most unique and more.

Not feeling competitive? No problem! Tasting kits let you sample unlimited chili and vote for your favorite. Enjoy live music, cornhole, a beer tent, and other activities to work up your appetite.

5. Snowfest

Snowfest / Source: Everfest

The small town of Boyne City has hosted Snowfest for over 35 years now as a true community winter carnival. Enjoy three days jam packed with activities like outhouse races, downhill ice bowling, snow soccer, broomball, polar plunging, and more wacky competitions.

Watch brave athletes show off their winter skills in human dog sled races, skijoring, ice skating, and cross country skiing. After working up an appetite, refuel with hot soups and stews from local vendors.

At night, warm up around the giant bonfires with hot cocoa in hand. I had a blast competing in Snowfest activities and then cheering on the amazing athletes. The welcoming small town vibe makes this a must-do festival.

6. Michigan Ice Fest

Michigan Ice Fest / Source: mlive

Head to the stunning shores of Lake Superior for the Michigan Ice Fest in Munising. This scenic waterfront park is transformed into an icy playground, with professional ice carvers creating works of art.

Strap on some crampons and explore the frozen waterfalls with a guided hike through picturesque Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Watch ice climbing demos or test your skills on the frozen walls.

Go dogsledding or fat biking, or play hockey and broomball on the rink. Kids will love building snow sculptures, sledding, and meeting sled dog puppies. The natural frozen beauty of Munising is on full display during this breathtaking winter festival. Don’t forget your camera!

7. Crystal Mountain Winter Carnival

Crystal Mountain Winter Carnival / Source: Crystal Mountain

Nestled in the woods of Northern Michigan, Crystal Mountain Resort puts on an epic winter carnival each February.

Ski or snowboard the magnificent slopes during the day, then head to the village for lively evening events like ice skating, bonfires, a chili cook-off, craft beer tastings, a Mardi Gras parade, and an impressive Saturday night fireworks display.

Have the kiddos dress up for the kids carnival and movie night while the adults enjoy some well-deserved Apres-Ski activities. No matter your age or winter sport of choice, Crystal Mountain’s carnival has something for everyone. I had an absolute blast there last year and can’t wait to return.

8. Detroit Winter Blast Weekends

Winter Blast Weekend / Source: The Detroit News

Winter Blast returns to downtown Detroit’s Campus Martius Park throughout weekends in February. This free urban winter festival includes fun activities like ice skating, zip lining down the park’s ice slide, and marshmallow roasting.

Browse local vendors in the indoor marketplace and chow down on food from Detroit eateries in the food truck rally. Enjoy live music on multiple stages, along with some Motown inspired entertainment and dancing.

Kids will love the carnival rides, arts and crafts, and free hot chocolate. I try to catch at least a few days of Winter Blast every year to experience some quintessential Detroit winter fun with friends. Don’t miss the nightly fireworks over the park!

9. Michigan Knights of Winter

Medieval knights / Source: Sky HISTORY

Travel back in time to medieval days at the whimsical Michigan Knights of Winter festival. Hosted at the expansive K of C grounds, you’ll find a medieval village with food, crafts, activities and attractions.

Watch knights battle with swords on horseback in the arena or compete on the jousting field. Enjoy falconry demonstrations, turkey leg feasts, mead tastings, axe throwing, live music and more.

Kids will love getting their faces painted, dancing with fairies and checking out the adorable baby goats. Costumes are highly encouraged! I attended last year dressed as a maiden and had an absolute blast. This magical winter festival transports you to medieval times like no other. Huzzah!

10. Ice Fest

Ice Fest / Source: WOODTV

Each winter Holland dazzles with stunning ice sculptures at their annual Ice Fest. Daytime activities include watching ice carvers create intricate sculptures, then touring the chilly creations throughout the downtown area.

Kids can go sledding, meet frozen princesses, and participate in hands-on activities. Fuel up with tasty food from local restaurants and food trucks. When evening falls, downtown glows during the illuminated ice sculpture walk.

Live music, roaring bonfires in the park, and an electrifying fireworks show cap off the festivities on Saturday night. I’m blown away each year by the artistry and imagination behind these breathtaking frozen sculptures. Holland’s Ice Fest is the perfect cure for those February winter blues.

And there you have it – 10 of the liveliest, most fun festivals happening around Michigan in February to get you out of hibernation mode.

From beer and chili cook-offs to medieval role playing, winter sports, and magical illuminated ice carvings, you’re guaranteed to shake off those winter blues at any of these festive events.

Bundle up, grab some friends, and make a day or weekend out of checking out these awesome February Michigan festivals.

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