2017-02-09 / Columns

Winter activities heat up around Leelanau Peninsula

Phone/fax 386-5686

Just because it’s the middle of winter in northern Michigan doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do in and around Omena.

Make your plans now for a full day and evening on Saturday, Feb. 18. The Annual Northport-Omena Chamber of Commerce Winter Carnival is on an earlier weekend this year. After years of fingernail biting and teeth-gnashing over whether winter weather will hold on until the end of the February, organizers have moved the event. There will be lots to do for everyone.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Braman Hill in Northport. Festivities include, sleigh rides, broomball and milk jug curling tournaments, the Northport Public School (NPS) cardboard sled race, a beard contest, the Northport Promise chili cook-off, and more.

Get a broomball or milk jug curling team together and go for the trophy – or just come cheer the participants on. The NPS cardboard sled race is always fun to watch. Every class at NPS – kindergarten through high school – creates and constructs a cardboard sled. One class member is chosen to be the pilot and they all compete in heats at the Carnival. The cardboard sleds are unpredictable enough to make it a level playing ground regardless of age. One year the kindergarten sled almost beat the seniors.

Get your favorite chili recipe out for the Northport Promise Chili Cook- Off. There are four categories this year – classic, white, 5 alarm, and “offbeat.” Entrants need to drop off six quarts of chili at 11:30 am. The fee to enter is $10, and there are cash prizes. Tasting runs from noon to 2:30 p.m., with winners being announced at 3 p.m.

Visit your participating retailers to buy raffle tickets. Raffle proceeds will support the Chamber and the Winter Carnival. The winner gets the contents of a Mystery Treasure Chest. Rumor has it that the contents this year will be “amazing.”

Feb. 18 is also the Snow Shoe Adventure sponsored by the Grand Traverse Lighthouse and the Leelanau State Park. The hike takes place at the Densmore Road Trail Head at 10 a.m. Speaking of the State Park, the Michigan DNR has partnered with Espresso Royale to help support Michigan State Parks. Beginning this month, Espresso Royale will be producing five different kinds of coffees for sale statewide. Grand Traverse Lighthouse is on one of the label, and lighthouse staff will be selling all five coffee options through the gift shop. A portion from the sale of each bag will be donated to support Michigan State Parks. While you’re picking up coffee, you can check out the new 2017 gift shop clothing items, which have just arrived.

The evening of Feb. 18 presents the annual Blues at the Bluebird fundraiser for the Leelanau Conservancy at the Bluebird in Leland at 6 p.m. This year’s entertainment is Thornetta Davis, the soulful Queen of Detroit Blues. Tickets are $40 and include a delicious buffet dinner that begins at 6 p.m. Music runs from 7:30 -10:30 p.m. Call Gayle to reserve tickets at 256-9665.

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This weekend, there are two Conservancy docent-guided hikes. Saturday at 1:00 p.m., join docents Dave Amos and Sharon Oriel offer a snow shoe hike around the DeYoung Farm. If you don’t have snow shoes, boots will probably suffice this weekend. It is about an hour trek with some hills.

Sunday, also at 1 p.m., join docents Peter Wolcott and Karl Hausler for a cross-country ski adventure at Palmer Woods Forest Reserve. Expect a moderately difficult ski on the groomed trail that will last about 1 1/2 hours. Visit the Conservancy website for reservations.

For your evening entertainment, don’t miss the second weekend of “Boeing, Boeing”, the NCAC’s dinner theater production at Tucker’s in Northport. Tickets are going fast for the final performances on Friday and Saturday nights, with seating at 5:30 p.m., and the Sunday matinee with seating at 3:30 p.m.

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This past weekend, Greg and Marcia McMorrow hosted their children and grandchildren on a trip to Boyne Mountain. Their daughter Shannon and her husband Noah and their 5-year-old daughter Zalina were there from Grand Rapids. McMorrow’s son Ryan, his wife Anne, and their 7-year-old son George and 8-month-old son Gavin were there from Leland. They enjoyed skiing, snow tubing, the water park and swimming in the outdoor pool. A good time was had by all.

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Happy Birthday to Ken Wylie, Nonie Steele, Richard Colling, Helen Putnam Bradley, Ed Woessner, and Dave Waskiewicz. Happy Anniversary to Marlin and Pat Bussey.

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Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone. Feb. 14 is also National Donor Day. Make a date to donate blood, or become an organ donor. I owe my life to a bone marrow donor eleven years ago.

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