Holiday preparations in the region start in autumn when local churches, clubs, and artists' cooperatives begin staging their arts and crafts fairs. This year's events may look a little different, but the spirit of the season lives on.
In Downtown Traverse City, November is a busy month for holiday happenings. Give back to Traverse City Community organizations while purchasing your gifts during Shop Your Community Days. Don't miss the annual Light Parade, Santa's Arrival, & Tree Lighting (at the end of November) and shop small during Black Friday & Small Business Saturday. And that's not all...December takes on a whole new holiday meaning in our downtown! Bundle up and take a stroll for Walking in a Winter Wonderland and the Downtown Cocoa Crawl. Just a few days later, grab your girl or guy pals and shop during Ladies' or Mens' Night.
Outside of the downtown area, but nearby, a festive holiday tradition takes place each December in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, a unique retail/residential district. “Tis the season for joy at “Holiday in the Village”. This weekend-long celebration is filled with music, carriage rides, Santa Claus and shopping specials.
Nearby villages are also bursting with holiday spirit in December. Head north into Leelanau County and check out Fishtown during Light Up Leland for the Holidays. Activities include a tree lighting and a parade with Santa. Celebrate in Suttons Bay during Holiday in the Village where you'll find evening festivities including a nighttime stroll down luminaria-lined streets.
Holiday events are also happening in the small towns around our regions. In Antrim county, there's Light Up the Night & Soup Cook-Off, and Skiing with Santa at Shanty Creek Resorts -- both events are in Bellaire. And over in Benzie county you'll find Christmas Dinners at Crystal Mountain and holiday shopping fun in Downtown Frankfort.
New Year’s Eve isn’t forgotten here, either. For the past five years, hundreds of people have gathered for the annual “CherryT Ball Drop”, a three-hour “street party for charity” that culminates with the lowering of a large illuminated cherry over downtown Traverse City. It’s a family-friendly event where attendees pay their admission by bringing donated items for local food banks.