The holidays are getting into full swing in the Petoskey Area. Our communities are decked out in their winter finery and we’re hoping for some more gently falling snow to add a layer of festivity.

If you’re looking to get away this month, whether it be to do some holiday shopping, relax or find some winter fun, I invite you to come visit Petoskey, Alanson, Boyne City, Bay Harbor and Harbor Springs. Smiles are everywhere and the spirit of the season is contagious.

Parades and Open Houses:

Boyne City – This cute little town on the shores of Lake Charlevoix kicks off the season with their Santa Parade and Holiday Open House on Friday, November 29. The tree will be lit, Santa makes an appearance and fun runs up and down the main street.

Petoskey – Stafford’s Downtown Petoskey Holiday Parade, “Light Up the North,” moves to 6pm on Saturday, November 30. Then on Friday, December 6, downtown closes the streets for the Holiday Open House and it’s like one big reunion where even people you haven’t met welcome you home.

Harbor Springs – Like the final scene in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” the Saturday, November 30 Tree Lighting includes singing around the town’s centerpiece – a huge evergreen that will be lit for the first time this season on that night. Music, treats and more frivolity happen later at the Harbor Springs Merchants’ Open House on Saturday, December 7.

Alanson – Tiny yet mighty, the Village of Alanson will host its Holiday Open House on Friday, December 13. Like their bigger neighbors, the community brings in the wildly popular Petoskey Steel Drum Band to entertain and Santa will drop by, too.

Boyne Mountain – From movies to sleigh rides to bonfire and s’mores, Boyne Mountain pulls out all the stops for their fun-filled Holiday Open House evening with snow-covered slopes as the backdrop on December 14.


Madrigals Performance – The Petoskey High School Madrigals sing of peace on earth while dressed in their best Old English attire. The combination of classic music and fine dining is nothing short of spectacular. At Stafford’s Perry Hotel in Petoskey, December 8, 15 & 16.

Miracle on 34th Street – And when the cane appears, it can make a staunch supporter out of the biggest non-believer when it comes to Santa. Whether you understand what I meant or not, this show has endured for more than 70 years with good reason. Presented on stage by the Little Traverse Civic Theatre in Petoskey, December 12-15 and December 19-21.

Handel’s Messiah – Moving and beautifully orchestrated, this is a “can’t miss” performance by the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, at the Great Lakes Center for the Arts in Bay Harbor, December 19 & 20.

Christkindlmarkt in the Village – A festive weekend with German food, spirits and handmade gifts in the Village at Bay Harbor. The community’s official tree lighting happens on December 13 and kids will love Santa’s Workshop on the 14th. This pairs nicely with The Nutcracker ballet going on at the adjacent Great Lakes Center for the Arts on December 14 & 15.

Picture this – Your kids with Santa! Bring your cell phone and capture the moment each Saturday in December at Stafford’s Perry Hotel in Petoskey. Catch the big guy at breakfast at the Perry, Crooked River Lodge and Bay View Inn.

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day – See what places are open and ready to make your holiday meals bright.

Come and experience small town holidays the way they were meant to be – filled with love, laughter and lots of good cheer. It’s all here in the Petoskey Area.

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About the author

Diane Dakins is passionate about all the lakeside communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of northern Michigan: Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor and Boyne City. As assistant director of the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, she has “been there – seen that” when it comes to virtually every area attraction. Her blogs give potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.