Winterfest in Mackinaw City January 17-18, 2020

Come celebrate winter in Mackinaw City during this year’s 27th annual Winterfest hosted by the Mackinaw Area Visitors Bureau. A majority of the events in this much anticipated community-wide winter event are scheduled for the 3rd weekend in January: Friday the 17th and Saturday the 18th. Participants this year will find an ice fishing tournament, Poker Walk, the Escape Room at the Mackinaw City Public Library, a chili cook-off, hot cocoa, Mackinaw City Area Arts Council Art Exhibit, and the culminating event, the International Outhouse Races, hosted by the Dixie Saloon and friends. There’s something for everyone at Winterfest!  

The details:
Friday afternoon enjoy a free hot cocoa at Audie’s Restaurant (available all day Friday or Saturday with purchase) and head down for the Artists Reception at The Mackinaw City Art Exhibit. This annual exhibit features area artists displayed at Mackinaw Clothing sponsored by the Mackinaw City Area Arts Council. A wide variety of media will be displayed including: watercolors, oil paintings, woodcarvings, photography, jewelry and more. An opening reception and meet the Artists will take place from 3:00 pm-4:30 pm on Friday, January 18th. The exhibit will continue Saturday from 10:00 am-5:00 pm.

Saturday’s events in Mackinaw City begin at 10:00 am. Win great prizes from area businesses by picking up a game sheet and participating in the Poker Walk, which begins at BC Pizza. Forms can be picked up at 10 am and must be back by 1:15 pm. Winning hands and prizes are announced at 1:30 pm.

View a display of art from local painters, photographers, wood carvers, potters, jewelry artists, and more at Mackinaw Clothing (319 E. Central Ave.) at the Mackinaw City Area Arts Council annual Winterfest Art Exhibit.

Challenge your mind and have a blast with friends at the Grandma’s Attic Escape Room hosted by the Mackinaw Area Public Library from 10:00 am-2:00 pm. Call (231)436-5451 for Friday appointments (drop-ins during library hours okay, but reservations recommended to avoid a wait).

Sleigh/Wagon Rides sponsored by Marshall’s Fudge and Mackinaw Clothing will be boarding just outside Marshall’s Fudge on Central Avenue from 11:30 am-2:00 pm. Various restaurants and bars are offering Winterfest specials and/or entertainment through the weekend.

Frozen themed Winter Games with Elsa! A fun tradition at the Marina Lawn (adjacent to Shepler’s). Games available from 12:00 pm-2:00 pm. Co-hosted by Mackinaw City Chamber of Commerce and Straits Area Resort Ministry. The Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors’ Famous Chili Cook-Off competition begins at 11:00 am and runs until 1:00 pm at Mama Mia’s Pizza on Central Ave. Come early to taste and vote for your favorite recipe. Donations of cash or food to the Straits Area Food Pantry are appreciated!

Weather and snow permitting the Mackinaw City 4th Grade Snow Sculptures will be on display Saturday, January 18th on the marina lawn to enjoy throughout the festivities.

Saturday, January 18, from 8:00 am – 2:00 pm is the annual ice fishing contest on Paradise Lake. Contest headquarters will be at the Paradise Lake Marina. Registration is $20.00 and contestants can register at the marina from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm January 17th and 6:30 am – 8:00 am the morning of the contest. Cash prizes will be awarded for the heaviest fish in walleye, pike, and pan fish category with runner up prizes available. Information available at

Racers Wanted!! Join in the fun and possibly take home a $500.00 grand prize! The Mackinaw International Outhouse Race is Saturday January 18th. The event, hosted by the Dixie Saloon and Friends takes place next to the Dixie Saloon in the Shepler’s Ferry Lot along Lake Huron. Races start at 2:00 pm with a parade of outhouses preceding the competition. G-man Entertainment will be on location with commentary and music. The event is free to the public and is comical entertainment for the whole family. Teams compete for $500 cash as well as “bragging rights”. Outhouse themes vary encouraging teams, companies, groups or families to be creative. Rules are as follows: The Outhouse must be approximately 4 x 4 x 6 and on skis. It must have a five person team, one inside and four outside to push or pull. It must have a toilet seat and material to wipe with. Entry must have a name. Entrants under 18 must have a parent’s signature and all teams/participants must sign a waiver. For more information on this event or to enter a team, visit

No Winterfest button will be required for entry at the 2020 Winterfest (all events are free this year), but you can still support the fun with the purchase of a limited-edition button if you choose. Collector buttons will be sold at the Chili Cook-Off location on the day of the event.

For more information and a complete schedule of Mackinaw City Winterfest events, visit:,, or