• Finding Wintertime Fun

    POSTED December 23, 2016

If you, like me, are greeting the onset of winter with a grumpy attitude, it can help to have more than a far-off spring to look forward to. Fortunately, metro Detroit is home to plenty of wintertime fun.

Let’s start with a few of my favorite festivals. The Plymouth Ice Festival will be held in charming downtown Plymouth Jan. 6–8. Something about beautifully carved ice makes braving the cold worthwhile. And downtown’s restaurants and shops are ready when you want to warm up.  

A winter bar crawl works when the bars are near each other and town is Ferndale. The annual Ferndale Blues & Music Festival, scheduled for Jan. 27–Feb. 4, features plenty of barbecue, beer and live music. Most importantly, the proceeds go to charity.  

Campus Martius is hopping year-round—a far cry from when I slogged there in winter months to eat at Au Bon Pain (RIP) during my days as a Detroit News reporter. The annual Meridian Winter Blast, scheduled for Feb. 10–12, makes the most of the winter weather without outdoor games, ice skating and 50 live music acts brave enough to play outdoors.

For car lovers, it’s not just about the auto show. Autorama brings customized hot rods to Cobo Center Feb. 24–26. Prizes are awarded for the most tricked out of the lot.

Bitter about the cold? Find something to laugh about during the Michigan Comedyfest, which showcases LGBT comedians, at the Theater at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn in March.

My favorite activity, cold weather or not, is probably trying new restaurants. The Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau maintains a handy list of of the latest openings.

And if you really want to stay food-focused, head to the Detroit Institute of Arts for “The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals.” The exhibit celebrates the monuments and sculptures - made of food - that were an integral part of European street festivals in the 16th to 19th centuries.  

Happy winter!

Karen Totaro returns to the Midwest to run Detroit’s Huntington Place.


Options for unconventional seasonal gatherings abound across the state. 

From cities teeming with bright lights to snowy small towns, Michigan is a winter wonderland. If you’re looking for a way to make your event or post-event outing more festive, consider these unique holiday offerings. 

Peacock Road Family Farm 



After 36 years as director of the CVB, Peter Fitzsimons is retiring. By Shelley Levitt

In 1985, Peter Fitzsimons, a former hotel general manager, became the executive director of the newly formed Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau. He never left. In June, the 73-year-old Detroit native announced that he’d be stepping down from the role at the end of the year. 

MIM+E: When did you begin your career in hospitality?