The “Most Beautiful Place in America” along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has more to offer visitors during the fall season.
Fall festivals within Benzie County’s quaint towns feature giant size carved pumpkins created by master carver Ed Moody, wild gourds carved by “Lord of the Gourd” Pat Harrison, festivals, a parade, children’s events and gorgeous scenic fall color.
Sporting events include a ½ marathon, 5K & 10K running event, as well as, a mountain bike classic. The Frankfort Film Festival captures the attention of film lovers with leading edge independent films from prestigious film festivals throughout the world.
October 5 – 7, 2012Friday & Saturday, October 5 & 6, 2012, the village of Honor will feature Haunted History Hay Rides – with two trips each night, guides will entertain riders with the history of Honor (fee and weather permitting).
Saturday, October 6, 2012, the villages of Beulah and Benzonia will celebrate with a Fall Festival offering craft activities for kids include pumpkin and gourd decorating. Meet the “Lord of the Gourd”, Pat Harrison, gourd carver and see his many wild gourd creations. There will also be other activities for kids including a sidewalk chalk art contest with artwork judged and prizes awarded by age, face painting, petting zoo, hula-hoop contest with prizes awarded, a bounce house and 32 ft. climbing wall, and visit by Smokey the Bear who will teach about fire safety. Adults can enjoy the Myers Granary Antique Market, a historic grain mill and warehouse filled with quality antiques and cool collectibles, and also offering fine wine tasting and food sampling. Along the shore of Crystal Lake in Beulah, a car, truck and motorcycle classic vehicle show called Park & Shine will take place.
Sunday October 7, 2012, Crystal Mountain will hold the Betsie Valley Run featuring a half marathon, 10K run/walk, 5Krun/walk and child’s mile sponsored by the Friends of Betsie Valley District Library. (Fee to enter the race); and the Honor Lions Club Hillbilly Breakfast will take place in Honor from 9 – 12 noon. Free with a donation.
Other fall weekend activities for adults and children include: Scenic Chair Lift Rides at Crystal Mountain – 4 to 6 p.m. (fee); Point Betsie Lighthouse Tours (fee) Myers’ Granary Antique Market, Benzie Area Historical Museum, and Mills Community House – Benzonia Public Library Open House. See visitbenzie.com for more information.
October 12 – 14, 2012Friday & Saturday, October 12 & 13, 2012, the village of Honor will feature Haunted History Hay Rides – with two trips each night, guides will entertain riders with the history of Honor (fee and weather permitting).
Saturday, October 13 the city of Frankfort will host their Fall Festival that kicks off with a Fall Fest parade featuring the famous Scottville Clown Band, floats, and a pet parade. A juried mutt march follows with prizes for best “look alike” between owners and pets, best dressed and more. Activities during the day include a silent auction; horse drawn wagon rides through downtown Frankfort; free movie at the Garden Theater; “Win a Bike!” contest for kids – where kids guess the weight of a giant pumpkin and one girl’s bike and one boy’s bike will be awarded; a pumpkin chucking contest; giant pumpkin carving demonstrations by famous master carver Ed Moody; a dunk tank; kids Halloween maze; and a 900+ lb pumpkin drop onto a car from over 100 feet in the air. Visitors will enjoy seeing multiple 500 lb or more pumpkins along the shore of Betsie Bay in Mineral Springs Park, some being carved by master carver Ed Moody.
Saturday, October 13 Crystal Mountain will also host the Peak 2 Peak Mountain Bike Classic. Endoman Promotions and Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, Michigan will hold the Seventh Annual Peak2Peak Mountain Bike Classic, presented by Right Brain Brewery. This epic event is held in and around the beautiful and gently rolling terrain that surrounds Crystal Mountain and will start and finish at Crystal Mountain.
Other fall weekend activities for adults and children include: Scenic Chair Lift Rides at Crystal Mountain – 4 to 6 p.m. (fee); The Haunted Forest at Crystal Mountain; Point Betsie Lighthouse Tours (fee) Myers’ Granary Antique Market, Benzie Area Historical Museum. See visitbenzie.com for more information, hours and times.
October 18 – 21, 2012Friday & Saturday, October 19 & 20, 2012, the village of Honor will feature Haunted History Hay Rides – with two trips each night, guides will entertain riders with the history of Honor (fee and weather permitting).
Thursday – Sunday, October 18 – 21, 2012 the Frankfort Film Festival takes place at the Garden Theater in Frankfort. The newly restored Garden Theater in Frankfort is the place to be on the third weekend of October. This film-lovers festival features leading edge independent films from prestigious film festivals throughout the world. Visits by film directors and screenwriters and other surprises will be part of the four-day event.
Other fall weekend activities for adults and children include: Scenic Chair Lift Rides at Crystal Mountain – 4 to 6 p.m. (fee); The Haunted Forest at Crystal Mountain; Point Betsie Lighthouse Tours (fee) Myers’ Granary Antique Market.
October 27 & 28Friday & Saturday, October 27 & 28, 2012, enjoy the fall color that remains in Benzie County and take in the giant pumpkins in Frankfort at Master Pumpkin Carver Ed Moody’s home. At Crystal Mountain enjoy the Haunted Forest where chills and surprises are at every turn through Saturday, October 27. (fee) Enjoy a movie at the historic Garden Theater in Frankfort.
For more information on Benzie County weekend activities throughout October, lodging, restaurants, outdoor recreation and events contact Benzie County Visitors Bureau at 800-882-5801 or see visitbenzie.com.
Benzie County’s Getaway Package
The Benzie County Visitors Bureau will continue their popular fun vacation getaway package through October 31, 2012 called “Passport to Fun. The “Passport to Fun” package includes up to $175.00 worth of free activities, food and gift items from various restaurants and businesses throughout the county for visitors who stay 2 or more consecutive nights at one of the 26 participating Benzie County lodging locations. Visitors coming for a getaway to Benzie County are invited to view www.visitbenzie.com to sign up for the promotion online (Visitors need to sign up online in order to receive the “Passport to Fun” Vacation form).
To Visit Benzie County in the fall
There are numerous choices for lodging in Benzie County from resorts to cabins on the lake. Search for lodging at www.visitbenzie.com for more information about hotels, b&b’s and inns available for overnight stays during the fall.
Information About Benzie County
Benzie County is known as the gateway to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which was recently voted the “Most Beautiful Place in America” by ABC’s Good Morning America fans. Benzie County is filled with millions of trees. This makes it one of the most beautiful locations in the United States to enjoy the changing fall color and to view forests of oak, maple, cherry, chestnut, birch, hickory, ash, and beech trees. The tapestry of colors of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and surrounding protected forests change from lush greens to bright orange, yellow, gold, red, burgundy and color in-between on the roads that traverse the county. This includes M-22, which runs along the coast in Benzie County through the Leelanau Peninsula where wineries are plentiful and are an easy day trip from Benzie County resorts, inns, cottages, and cabins.
Originally Benzie County was the hub of the lumbering industry in Northwest Michigan. Now it’s known for its natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Lakes and rivers – such as Crystal Lake, Big Platte Lake, Betsie River and Platte River and 54 other lakes. Hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, fall fishing on Lake Michigan charters or on rivers and lakes of Benzie County add to the fall color activities. Salmon running on the Platte River, the first river in Michigan to be planted with salmon in 1966, draws thousands of fishing enthusiasts and tourists to watch the salmon make their way up the river to spawn.
Fall is also a great season for surfing and paddle boarding along the Lake Michigan Shore. Scores of surfers can be seen along the Frankfort pier and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore if the winds are right and the waves are strong.