1625 W. Houghton Lake Dr., Houghton Lake, MI 48629
Even though I’ve known about this event for a long time now, I really thought it was just about ice fishing. Boy, was I wrong. What was totally under my radar is that the vast majority of people who come to this festival don’t fish at all. They come to have a blast at one of the biggest and best winter festivals you’ll find anywhere. I was going to try ice fishing, but I figured I’d have better luck catching a corndog over at the fair.
When I got to the main festival, the scene was almost surreal. In the middle of winter, the lake often freezes to more than two feet thick and turns into a giant playground for literally thousands of snowmobilers. There were thousands of them for as far as the eye could see, and they even had helicopter rides taking off on the ice.
The main Tip-up Town carnival takes place right on the shores of Houghton Lake and has everything a family needs to have fun in, on and over the snow. There are rides, games, shows, great food, ice slides, play areas for the kids and a warm and family friendly atmosphere that makes you totally forget the cold.
If regular family fun isn’t quite satisfying enough for you and you’re feeling a little adventurous (even a little nutty in the head) you can also try the Polar Bear Dip. People actually line up for hours in the freezing cold just to say they were tough, brave and crazy enough to jump into the freezing water. Call me a coward, but this is one stunt I’ll try in my next life… maybe.