It’s a weekend of family fun in Michigan’s Great Southwest! The first weekend of December brings lights on bluffs and lights on trains, Santa in many, many places, mannequins, and music. Check out all the family holiday happenings, starting Friday, December 2nd through Sunday, December 4th!
Light Up The Bluff- 6:00-7:00 pm
Year-round, the bluff in St. Joseph is a sight to behold. For the holiday times, the landmark is lit with thousands of lights, wrapped around trees and sculptures. Stroll through the arches of snowflakes to the illuminated “Maids of the Mist” fountain as you listen to the St. Joseph choir, and find plenty of familiar wintery friends (there’s a really big Frosty the Snowman!). The tree at Broad Street and Lake Boulevard is lit with a ceremony at 6:30pm. The event is free; if you can’t catch it live, follow us on Facebook where we’ll be live-streaming from a drone!
Live Mannequins – 7:00-8:30pm
After you stroll the bluff, head to State Street for the 5th Annual Live Mannequins! Created by Square Peg Events, this annual spectacle brings community members inside the store windows to pose as mannequins for a judged competition. This year, the theme is Holiday Music- come check out what our downtown stores and partners have come up with, from traditional Nutcracker songs to Elvis’ Blue Christmas. We want to know what your favorite was; check out http://www.stjoetoday.com/vote that evening to cast your vote! The event is free, and the fun doesn’t stop there.
After Party and Awards – 8:30-10:00pm
Hop on the Sunset Coast Trolley at Jimmy John’s or the Welcome Center for a ride to the Box Factory for the Arts! The Deep Fried Pickle Project is playing awesome tunes with a cash bar (including coffee and hot chocolate), with the winners announced at 9:30pm. The Sunset Coast Trolley is running from 8:00-10:30pm for free, thanks to a generous donation from them, so mannequins and fans can transport easily.
Pro tip- there’s lots of free parking at the Box Factory! If you park there and walk to the bluff, it’s easy to hop the trolley back to the party and your vehicle.
Breakfast with Santa at Shu’s – 9:00-11:00am
Santa has arrived at Shu’s! Two kids eat free with an adult breakfast; they’ll also have the chance to visit with Santa and decorate cookies. Call for reservations at 269.983.7248; he’ll be there Sunday too.
Morton House Museum Holiday Open House – 11:00am-3:00pm
“Here we come a-wassailing!”- what a theme for an open house! At the Morton House Museum, they are kicking off their 2017 project, Benton Harbor's Best Stories, with speakers during the day sharing their memories of Benton Harbor and holiday season memories. There’s plenty of cookies and wassail; the cost is $7 per adult and $3 per child (ages 6-12). If you’re around for Live Mannequins, stop by their window at Days of Yore at 215 State Street to pick up a coupon for $2 off an adult fee!
Sippin’ With Santa – 1:00pm-4:00pm
Santa is turning up in Baroda, too, at Round Barn Winery’s Sippin’ with Santa event! Donate a new, unwrapped toy (or $5 suggested donation) for a visit with Santa, in partnership with Toys for Tots in New Buffalo. Kids can also participate in ornament making and cookie decorating, while the 21+ crowd is invited for seasonal cheer Round Barn style!
Reindog Parade – 4:00pm
For all your furry friends, the Reindog Parade has returned to downtown St. Joseph! At 4:00pm, “Santa Bernards” and “Reindeer Rottweilers” and more will parade down State Street (beginning at Elm). Sponsored by FuzzyButz, this annual event promises a great time for two-and-four legged friends. Registration is required; you can register in advance at the Welcome Center, or day-of registration begins at 2:30pm in the Welcome Center.
Eden Springs Train Rides – 4:00-9:00pm
After dark, Eden Springs Park comes alive with Christmas lights illuminating the miniature train ride through the grounds of the historic park. It’s just $3 for a ride on one of the oldest miniature trains in the country; bundle up and head over for a new look at the Benton Harbor landmark. The trains also run on Sunday!
Grand Mustachio Bashio- 6:00pm
North Pier Brewing is hosting their first Grand Mustachio Bashio on December 3rd! With proceeds benefitting the Humane Society of Southwest Michigan, the event promises a good time...and a twist on holiday fashion.
Breakfast with Santa at the Bistro – 11:30am-2:00pm
Santa’s a busy guy! He’s having breakfast at the Bistro on the Boulevard on Sunday from 11:30-2:00pm. It’s a brunch buffet, with cookie decorating for kids. Call for reservations at 269.983.3882; if you miss this week, they’ll also offer a breakfast with Santa on December 11th and 18th.
Santa’s House – 12:00-3:00pm
Sponsored by the Herald Palladium, Santa’s House is moved from the North Pole each year to right outside the Welcome Center! Santa arrives in style during the Reindog Parade (Saturday at 4:00pm) and holds various hours here throughout the holiday season.
Monday Musical Club Vespers Service – 3:45pm
For a quiet end to an awesome weekend, head over to the First Congregational Church in St. Joseph for the Monday Musical Club’s 85th Annual Vespers Service. There will be performances by the Monday Musical Club Chorus, Julia Lindsey (Director), Esther Shoemaker (Accompanist), Frederick Hohman (Organist), and Nathanael Mitchell (soloist). This is the eighth decade for this event; admission is free, though donations to the Benton Harbor and St. Joseph area Good Fellow Fund are gratefully appreciated.
We're also excited about the music offered at St. Joe First UMC! Their Chancel Choir will be joining the Citadel Symphony Chorus and Southwestern Michigan College Chorale in presenting selections from Handel’s "Messiah". There will be 75 singers and 20 musicians performing this beautiful rite of the holiday season that still awes listeners over 270 years after it debuted.