West Michigan Tourist Association: Christmas Fun in Southern West Michigan

The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor is hosting the Mix & Mingle Holiday Party on Tuesday, Dec. 19, with food, beverages, and good times. A sumptuous buffet awaits guests, with featured selections including chef-carved ham and turkey, a deluxe salad bar, mashed potato station, side dishes, and dessert. Guests enjoy a full cash bar with a wide selection of Michigan wines, craft beers, and mixed drinks. Following dinner, guests can take the short walk inside The Mendel Center to the Mainstage where Bryan Lubeck is back to host “Rejoice 2017: A Tapestry of Holiday Music” at 7:30pm. Mix & Mingle Holiday Party tickets are $25 per person, while “Rejoice 2017: A Tapestry of Holiday Music” tickets start at $24, with discounts available for groups of 10 or more, as well as for seniors, veterans, students, and Mainstage Series members. Group dinner and show packages start at $43 per person.


Brass Rail Quintet at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute

Get into the holiday spirit with a toe-tapping Christmas concert, featuring the Brass Rail Quintet at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings Monday, Dec. 10. Playing a variety of musical styles are Roger Lynch and Mike McMinn on trumpets, Ken Cron on tuba, John Dickey on trombone, and Chris Garrett on French horn. After the concert, stop by to meet this quarter’s exhibiting artist, Brian Smith.


Celebrate the holiday season in a turn-of-the-century Victorian setting at Historic Charlton Park in Hastings. Tour over 15 historic buildings, while partaking in activities of yesteryear, including roasting chestnuts, drinking wassail, and taking wagon rides in the snow. Create your very own crafts, as you enjoy popcorn, fresh baked cookies, cinnamon and sugar apples, and plum pudding. These festivities are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 9 and 10, at the park.



International Festival of Lights

Battle Creek will look very festive all month long, as they hang the lights and run through the downtown area. Running through Dec. 31 is the International Festival of Lights. Walk through the glowing paths, enjoy fun family activities, and take a horse drawn carriage ride to see this annual light display. On Saturday, December 9th, don your best ugly sweater and partake in the Tinsel Toes 5K run and walk in downtown Battle Creek, weaving your way through the lights at night during this unique event.


Experience wintry evenings at Binder Park Zoo with Zoolights from Dec. 15 to 23 in Battle Creek. Stroll along lighted paths with nightly entertainment as you view some of the weather-hardy animals on exhibit enjoying the winter season. These special evenings will include unlimited free carousel rides, up-close animal meet and greets special holiday activities, time with Santa and his animal friends, and storytime with Mrs. Claus. There’s also Dinner with Santa each night.


Slow down from the hustle and bustle of the holidays with a visit to the Barn Theatre in Augusta! Celebrate the Christmas season with all of your favorite carols and holiday songs each weekend between now and Christmas. To add to the festivities, guests enjoy complimentary pie, coffee, and hot chocolate.


Holiday carolers are a holiday tradition that guests look forward to as much as the staff at Schuler’s Restaurant in Marshall. Enjoy the sounds of the season while dining with Schuler’s in the festive Centennial Room on Dec. 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, and 19. There will be a rotating pool of performers each evening. Schuler’s is also hosting its famous Holiday Sunday Brunch Buffet every Sunday through the end of the month.


Arcadia Brewing Company in Kalamazoo hosts an Ugly Sweater Party on Thursday, Dec. 21, giving you an excuse to bust out your favorite ugly holiday sweater.


Bell’s Eccentric Cafe in downtown Kalamazoo has a variety of events during the holiday season including Eccentric Day, which this year will be held on Friday, Dec. 8. Along with an impressive tap lineup, the debut of their latest version of Eccentric Ale, a Kalamazoo exclusive, and a free food buffet. Admission is free and the only requirement is that you come ready to have a good time. Just a few days later, on Sunday, Dec. 10, Tuba Christmas will return to the Cafe’s Back Room. Admission for this annual event is free. Local tubists will play some holiday classics starting at 3 p.m. for an all-ages show.


The Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn is hosting a Christmas lights show called Nite Lites for the first time this year. The show takes your through the grounds and has more than three miles of Christmas lights for visitors to enjoy.


The Boulevard Inn & Bistro in St. Joseph is hosting their Sundays with Santa on Dec. 10 and 17. Treat your children to a magical brunch, telling Santa their wishes, picking their favorite foods from the special buffet, and decorating their own cookies!


Michigan Flywheelers Museum

The Michigan Flywheelers Museum will hold Christmas at the Flywheelers on Dec. 8 and 15 at their museum in South Haven. The old-fashion holiday event features lighted outdoor displays, holiday music, kids’ craft workshops, and a visit with Santa. It’s been five years since the museum last held this event, and museum members have been busy since September decorating the grounds, expanding displays and adding more lighted exhibits.


The Ugly Sweater Party at Virtue Cider in Fennville is Saturday, Dec. 16. They’ll be giving away prizes for ugliest, most creative, most festive, and more. Of course, there will be plenty of ciders on draft, plus snacks and mulled cider to keep you toasty. Virtue Cider is also outfitting their outdoor spaces with additional fire pits, more seating, covered pergolas, and natural wood-stacked walls to build out some snugs spaces. Once the snow starts falling, they’ll have snowshoe trails cut out for those who would like to explore the orchard’s 48 acres.


This year’s Chef’s Holiday Pairing Dinner at Crane’s Pie Pantry, Restaurant & Winery in Fennville is Saturday, Dec. 9. This is an exquisite, eight-course pairing dinner, featuring local fare paired with Crane’s wine and hard cider. The evening includes food, drinks, music, and an education on the wonderful things produced at Crane’s.


Join the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven on Saturday, Dec. 16, for Christmas at the historic Keeper’s House. There will be children’s book readings of the Christmas Tree Ship every hour, hot cocoa, Christmas tree cookies, sledding, and a little nautical holiday shopping. The event is free to attend.