Activities And Events
Dempsey Manor has partnered with the Manistee County Visitors Bureau to guarantee you full access to all activities and events the area has to offer. Not only exciting and worthwhile, but Manistee is blessed with year-round attractions that make a stay in any season a time of discovery.
The Visitors Bureau website is:
and you will enjoy their complete area brochure detailing the dates and venues for all the special events for this year located here:
A scrolling day-by-day Calendar with each and every event for the area not only gives you insight on all the opportunities for fun and enjoyment the area has to offer...it is the easiest and quickest way to make sure that you don't miss a thing!
Here is the site:
Hour by Hour and Day by day!
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Special mention must be made of some unique local events:
in January and February, Big M Moonlight Cross-country Skiing every full moon in January and February;
in May, the town draws folks from everywhere to honor our men in uniform who are feted with a feast and a day's deep-water fishing in the annual Tight Lines for Troops and Fishing Tournament;
in June, the Spirit of the Woods Folk Music Festival;
in July, the Manistee National Forest Festival during the area's Fourth of July Independence Weekend Celebration and also the fireworks spectacle and parade during the mid-July Bear Lake Days celebration;
in August, the Onekama Days festival and the Manistee County Fair;
in September, enjoy lake boating and tasting great craft beers during the annual Hops and Props celebration in Manistee;
in December, no one should miss all the great holiday food and goings-on during Manistee's famous Sleighbell Parade and Old Christmas Weekend. (Watch the short Video about Sleighbell Weekend...nothing in the country touches this Christmas kick-off celebration!
Discover Manistee...Discover Michigan...in short snapshot videos...
Spend a minute in Manistee itself!
(1) Experience the Midwest's Premiere Christmas Festival -- Manistee's Sleighbell Parade and Old Christmas Weekend -- always the First Weekend (Thursday - Sunday) in December.
(2) Take a second for an aerial as well as eye-level tour of this Storybook Village called Manistee,
(3) want a glimpse of what's soon to come?...spend a half minute inside the colors of Manistee's Michigan Autumn,
(4) never been to Michigan?...here's what you're missing!
Four Seasons to Enjoy, to Explore, to Stay at The Dempsey
Manor Victorian House Museum!
...More Than Just A Place To Stay!
The Dempsey Manor is open all-year-round to give you overnight access to every holiday, festival, event or celebration regardless of the Season!
Need a few days for a scenic [M22?] road trip, or a golf tour, or a family reunion? The Manor is your HUB and your nightly refuge.
Want to enjoy one of the many local events and multiple-day regional festivals like The Manistee National Forest Festival, the Sleighbell Parade and Old Christmas Weekend, or the Spirit of the Woods Festival? The Manor is in the thick of them all.
Free Fishing Weekends
The State of Michigan offers two Free Fishing Weekends per year as a way to raise awareness of Michigan's vast aquatic resources and fishing opportunities. There are over 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 11,000 inland lakes and uncounted miles of rivers and streams. According to the Michigan Fisheries Department (517) 373-1280, the February date is always the weekend before President's Day, and the June date is the weekend following the first full week of June.
Lake Bluff Audubon Bird Sanctuary
This 72-acre site sets upon high, sandy bluffs that overlook Lake Michigan. Here you can view over 150 different varieties of shrubs and trees--not all of which are native to Michigan. Lake Bluff Center is open daily from dawn to dusk, and offers maintained trails, beach access, restrooms and facility rentals.
Bear Lake Sparkle in the Park
Sparkle in the Park Opening Night Festivities (November 30) include world famous tailgate chili, cornbread, coffee, hot chocolate and cookies; served free to all visitors. At 6:30pm Santa and his helpers visit the boys and girls at Toyland Bear Lake with treats for the kids.
Sparkle in the Park is open nightly through Jan. 1, 5-10pm. Admission is free. (Donations accepted.)
Tight Lines for Troops
The community honors its Veterans each year when all the charter boat operators take former servicemen out into Lake Michigan for a day of deep water fishing. They return in the afternoon as a colorful flotilla sailing up Manistee River. Crowds from all over gather along the banks to display flags in thanks, as the boats sail into Lake Manistee to disembark with their catch and enjoy a well-deserved community sponsored feast.
Tight Lines for Troops Flag Welcome
All along the banks of the Manistee River people from all parts come to honor the Veterans returning from their deep water fishing day in Lake Michigan.
Manistee National Forest Festival
This is your best bet for a true Summer Event! The whole County gets into this Festival big time. Concerts, Indian Pow-wow & Culture Exhibit, Carnival, Historic Home Tours, Trolley-rides, Art Shows, World of Arts & Craft Fair, Roots on the River Bluegrass, Choo-choo Train Rides, a Musical at the Ramsdell Playhouse, 4th of July Day Parade, Hayride, the famous Bed Race!, Farmers' Market, Spectacular Fireworks, Whispering Pines Zoo, Wine Tasting, Classic Car Cruise Night, Forest Bus Tours...& more!
Beaches of Manistee County
The finest, cleanest, purist sand spreads along the Coastline of Manistee County's famous beaches. 25 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline feature nine public beaches, three Great Lakes harbors, nine inland lakes and 73,000 acres of wetlands. Manistee County proudly claims to be where “life meets water.”
Canoeing and River Fishing
When it comes to either, Manistee County can brag about our five Nationally Designated Wild and Scenic Rivers. Fisherman ply their craft throughout all the seasons - including lake ice-fishing in the dead of Winter. The routes available for canoeing and kayaking are endless.
Spirit of the Woods Music Festival
Held at the Dickson Township Park in Brethren, Michigan, the third Saturday in June. The festival features a day full of music on two stages, arts and crafts vendors, children's activities, great food, and a closing dance. Spirit of the Woods also presents concerts, dances, open mics, and special events during the fall and winter months.
Manistee's North Pierhead Lighthouse
Built in 1869 at a cost of $10K, it was rebuilt after a disastrous fire in 1872. During the year ending June 30, 1877, 1,585 vessels had cleared the harbor at Manistee carrying over 470,000 tons of merchandise. Most of this was wood products, including over 225 million board-feet of lumber and more than 280 million shingles. An elevated catwalk was built for easier access to the lighthouse during bad weather. Visitors walk the pier for the encompassing view of Lake Michigan at its point.
Historical Museum on River Street
Housed in the A.H. Lyman Drug Co. established in the 1880s, the building remains as it was in 1905. Museum displays include the Lyman Drug Store, period rooms, and one of the most extensive collections of Victorian antiques and photographs in the state.
The Historic Ramsdell Playhouse
The luxurious 1904 opera and vaudeville theater, The Ramsdell, is now Manistee's number 3 most popular spot. Take a tour of the recently restored theater. View the painstakingly gilded and painted dome and 470-seat house. Today the venue for contemporary plays and musicals, the Ramsdell's calendar also includes performances by other artists -- as well as high-definition live screening of opera from the New York Metropolitan Opera Company.
Interior Historic Ramsdell Playhouse
Tours of this amazing theater's interiors awe and inspire. Saved by the generosity of the people of Manistee, it has become the town's premiere cultural site for drama, comedy, musicals, art exhibits, concerts, social and charity affairs, and opera.
Historic Buildings Tour
Visitors are invited to view some of Historic Manistee's most beautiful homes, in. cluding historic civic and downtown historical sites: The City of Manistee Old Fire Station; the 1904 Ramsdell Theatre and Opera House; the old Ramsdell Inn on River Street; and Trinity Lutheran Church Museum, the oldest existing Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, housing an original elaborate hand carved altar.
Historic Downtown Manistee Shopping
Manistee is famous for its Victorian era storefronts and quaint shops along River Street. The street parallels the Manistee River and the Manistee Riverwalk.
SS City of Milwaukee
The great railroad-car ferry, the City of Milwaulkee, is now permanently anchored on the shores of Lake Manistee as a public Museum of a sailing era long past. It is magically converted each October into the fantastical Ghost Ship -- to the delight of every age!
Moonlit XC Skiing at Big M Rec Area
During every full moon in January and February visitors come to enjoy moonlit cross-country skiing from the trailhead at Big M Recreation area.
Sleighbell Parade & Old Christmas
Manistee's Sleighbell Parade and Old Christmas Celebration has become a festival drawing visitors from many states. During the days of the festival, held the first week in December, the community turns out in Victorian attire for street concerts, Christmas caroling, special art and museum events, and of course the Sleighbell Parade featuring Santa Claus himself!
Manistee's Historic Trolley Tours
The easiest way to see and experience much of the romance of Manistee is from the free Historic Trolley Car tours offered by the city for all its visitors. The tour conductors point out and detail for guests all the stories associated with the sights along the route.
Anyone for Golf?
This is a golfer's Paradise. Championship golfing surrounds us in Manistee County, at all price points and all difficultly levels. You can spend a week here and never golf the same course twice. Great stay-and-play packages are available through Dempsey Manor B&B. Nine courses are only a few minutes away.
Historic Downtown Manistee offers a variety of great festivities year-round.