Holiday events have returned with a bang. There’s a fun experience for anyone who needs some festive cheer.
Nov. 19: Battle Creek Christmas parade
It’s the first chance to see Santa. Find a spot near the intersection of Michigan Avenue and McCamly Street – the front of the parade should reach there by 6 p.m. While waiting, check out a small market and get free hot chocolate at 32 E. Michigan Ave. It’s also the first night the lights turn on for the International Festival of Lights.
Nov. 28: Marshall parade
Downtown Marshall’s quaint main street is perfect for an old-fashioned parade. They start at the fountain circle and head downtown at 7 p.m. While in Marshall that night, get a sneak peek of the Merry Mile at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds.
Dec. 2: Albion Aglow
There’s a reason Albion’s parade on Dec. 2 is called Albion Aglow: it begins with the ceremonial tree lighting in Bournelis Park at 6 p.m. Afterward, line up along downtown’s Superior Street to see the parade.
Dec. 2-3: Winter Wanderland
Two nights of holiday magic in downtown Battle Creek. There will be free carriage rides and a tree village in Festival Market Square. On Dec. 2 is the Night Bazaar from 4 to 8 p.m. at Kellogg Arena – it should be reminiscent of this summer’s successful markets. On Dec. 3 is a craft show with $3 admission from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Dec. 4: Tea with Mrs. Claus
Kids can enjoy high tea with Mrs. Claus at Kellogg Manor on Gull Lake. Travel back through time in this sumptuous historic building, where Mrs. Claus will tell stories and lead a singalong.
Dec. 10: 4 Elf Party
Dress up in your best elf gear for the release of Plead the 5th at Dark Horse Brewing Co. in Marshall. Besides the best craft beer that Dark Horse has to offer, there will also be food, live music and costume contests. It’s $5 if you’re an elf, $10 for those without costumes.
Nov. 25: W.K. Kellogg Manor Holiday Tours
Take a self-guided tour through the historic estate on Gull Lake and enjoy hot spiced tea. There will be docents on hand to ask questions (be sure to ask about the number seven). The Holiday Market will be open, too. Tour days are Nov. 25-26, Dec. 3, 10, 17.
Candles burning brightly in the windows of village buildings and lanterns light the path on this special day at Historic Adventist Village. Each building has a special storyteller to inspire the spirit of Christmas. After the tour, there will be a bonfire with hot chocolate and cookies served in one of the historic buildings.
The gardens are transformed by the magic of Christmas. Walk through lights outside and themed rooms inside the barn venue. This year’s themes include a scavenger hunt in the advent calendar room, a Victorian Christmas and Santa’s Cottage. There’s also a craft available, traditional treats and a gift shop. Meet with Santa on Dec. 17.
Dec. 10-11: Marshall Candlelight Tour
Tickets sell out fast for this Marshall Historical Society event, and it should be even more popular after a two-year hiatus due to COVID. A tour guide will lead groups through five different candlelit houses.
Nov. 19: International Festival of Lights
A long-standing Battle Creek tradition, downtown Battle Creek is festooned with strings of lights and decorations. Favorites include the synchronized light show at Mill Race Park, the 12 Days of Christmas at Kellogg House and Santa on the rooftop of Clara’s on the River. Make sure you stop by Cafe Rica for a hot chocolate. If you have a letter for Santa, drop it into the red mailbox outside of the Battle Creek Welcome Center with a return address and he’ll write back!
Nov. 25: Winter Wonderland
Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners is setting up a tunnel of lights for you to drive through. A ticket includes a tour through the festive grounds, a visit with Santa, a maze of holiday inflatables and a chance to see the museum’s world-class car collection. Tickets are available for 5 to 9 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays with additional dates in December.
Dec. 1: Merry Mile
The first day of December means Marshall gets merry with a mile of light displays at the fairgrounds. It’ll be open on the weekends for all of December (except for holiday days). Admission is $10 per car or $20 for a bus.
Dec. 3: Brass Band of Battle Creek
Lakeview grad and Broadway singer Doug LaBrecque is returning to Battle Creek for a concert with the Brass Band. Adding to the brassy Christmas sound will be internationally acclaimed trombonist Joseph Alessi.
Dec. 9: Christmas Cabaret
Barn Theatre opens up every December for carols, dessert and hot cocoa. Your favorite actors will be there for an evening of Christmas songs in the Rehearsal Shed.
Dec. 10: Big Band Christmas
Jazz up the holidays with the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra. Scott Cowan, guest director, will lead big band music, including Shorty Rogers’ “Swinging Nutcracker” and a clever twist to Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.”
Dec. 1: “Miracle on 34th Street”
If you haven’t been to a radio play at Great Escape Stage Company, it’s a great night out in Marshall. The theater is turned into an old-fashioned radio studio, complete with a sound effects booth and vintage costumes. Performers re-create a radio performance of classic movies. This year’s story is “Miracle on 34th Street,” on Dec. 1, 3-4, 8-11.
For an unusual twist on Christmas classics, FireKeepers Casino and Hotel is hosting a cirque-style show. There will be acrobats, aerialists and hijinks.
Nov. 5: Art Center Holly Mart
For unique handmade gifts, the Art Center is filled up with crafts and art from Michigan makers. This year’s theme is “Kaleidoscope,” reflecting all of the different genres of art. It will be open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and Saturdays until Dec. 23.
Dec. 10: Crafts for kids
This is a clever idea: Eastend Studio & Gallery in Marshall will keep your kids occupied with crafts while you take care of shopping at stores like Mole Hole, Grandma’s Toys & Treats or New Story Community Books. It’s $7 per craft.