Arts & Entertainment, Lakeshore, and Sports Business

Party in Your Parka celebrates Michigan's 176th birthday

January 23, 2013
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Party in Your Parka celebrates Michigan's 176th birthday
The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex contains one of the four luge tracks in the U.S. Photo via

Michigan turns 176 this year, and – to celebrate – the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex and Watermark Live are throwing a party on Saturday.

Party in Your Parka will be held at the sports complex, 462 Scenic Drive in North Muskegon. The event is open to all ages, and entertainment will include a musical performance by The Crane Wives, the Made in the MItten arts and crafts fair, outdoor activities such as ice skating, luge runs, sledding, snow shoeing, and cross country skiing, and, for those trying to stay warm, there will be lounge areas set up around fire pits as well as a heated tent. Though admission is free, some of the activities are not, so check the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex website for costs.

The Made in the MItten arts and crafts fair will feature local artisans offering a wide variety of items for sale. All artists are based in Michigan.

“You can expect a unique display of art ranging within all categories such as visual art, clothing, jewelry and more,” said Jim Rudicil, executive director of MWSC. “It is important to support the artists and small business owners of our state because they are a big part of our culture, our economy and our uniqueness. Our main goal with the Made In The MItten art fair is to help Michigan artists grow through connecting with potential customers, other artists and the Michigan community.”

Party in Your Parka also is bringing back a Muskegon favorite for the celebration: the Snurfer Classic.

“In 1968, Muskegon hosted the first ever World Snurfer Classic at Block House Hill, a sport created by Muskegon native Sherman Poppen, and this year the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex will revive the honored event just as it was in the ’60s,” Rudicil said. “The Snurfer is widely considered the original snowboard. The competition will take place at the Block House Hill in the Muskegon State Park. Snurfer Awards will be held at the Block House following the competition at 3 p.m.”

Shuttles will be available to transport people between sites. The locations are about a quarter a mile apart so are also easily walkable.

Food and beverages can be purchased at the event from the concession stand, and local businesses Drip Drop Drink and Fatty Lumpkins will set up shop at the event as well. There also will be a beer garden featuring a variety of beers and wines, including craft beers from local microbreweries. The Shoreline Inn is offering special rates for the evening for visitors looking to stay the night.

“In short, the Party in Your Parka exemplifies what it means to be a resident of the MItten,” Rudicil said.


10 a.m.: Complex grounds/activities open.

11 a.m.: Made in the MItten tent opens.

1 p.m.: World Snurfer Classic

3-4 p.m.: Snurfer awards offsite and moving people back to the complex from Block House.

4 p.m.: Lounge area opens at luge site with Modern Entertainment performance. Fatty Lumpkin's sandwiches and hot beverages from Drip Drop Drink will be available.

6 p.m.: Celebrity luge race and Michigan birthday ceremony. Made In The MItten art fair closes.

7-10 p.m.: The Crane Wives performance

Visitors can park downtown at the Shoreline Inn and ride the shuttle out and back for $5. The shuttle pass is good for the entire day. State Park recreation passports will be available at the park entrance. A motor vehicle permit/recreation passport is required to enter the park and can be purchased upon arrival. The cost is $11 per year for Michigan residents and is available at Secretary of State offices during license plate renewal. For out-of-state vehicles, the cost is $8.40 for a day pass or $30.50 for an annual pass.

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