By Kristi Kates
It all started because our marketing consultant told us we were doing
well in the summer, but that we needed to get more people here in the
winter, explains Petoskey Downtown Director Becky Goodman, there had
been nothing in the past here in the winter, or for the locals.
Theres definitely something here now, given the great reception that
the annual Petoskey Winter Blues Festival has been getting. Set to kick
off on February 21, this years fest has plenty of new events right
alongside the old favorites, making a great mix of activities to beat the
winter blues, the main aim of the festival.
BEATING THE BLUES
Our committee looked at different winter festival concepts, and we
selected this one despite the fact that we dont actually have a dedicated
venue for blues music, Goodman laughs. It seemed like you could pull a
lot of double entendre with the name - blues music, blue plate specials,
blue light specials - and if you do get the winter blues, this event
will help chase them away.
At the very least, this event will definitely keep you so busy you wont
be thinking about your winter blues. A full week - and a full schedule -
covers everything from snowman building to trunk fashion shows, story
hours to guessing games, indoor sidewalk sales to special restaurant
menu offerings, and a whole lot more, including some test runs of new
HOT DISHES TO CHOCOHOLICS
Several favorite events will be returning again this year, among them the
Hot Dish Cookoff thats unique to the Upper Midwest and thats now
offering both amateur cook and pro chef divisions; restaurants will
participate in the professional category, and amateur cooks are invited to
submit a great family hot dish, or casserole recipe.
The public samples all of the hot dishes, and votes on which one they
like best, Goodman says, its a good way to just showcase your skills if
youre a good cook, or to promote your restaurant. People went home last
year without eating dinner, there were so many dishes to sample.
Other foodstuffs will be offered throughout the week, too, including
tasting events at American Spoon Foods, and lunch and dinner Cajun Style
menu specials at Whitecaps Grille to chase away the chill. Goodman says
that one of the events shes looking forward to the most involves
chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate.
Its called Chocoholic Frolic, she says, its kind of like our Gallery
Walk - you pick up a card, and go to the stores offering samples of
chocolate. There are so many more stores in town than you would expect who
offer chocolate! You turn your card in at the end of the day (Thursday,
February 24), and you can win a huge chocolate lovers basket.
INDOORS AND OUT
Other events have nothing to do with food - other than the fact that
youll probably want to fuel up with some great beverages or meals before
you embark upon them.
Some of the events will take extra brain power, like Jigsaws and Java (a
jigsaw puzzle contest) at Grand Traverse Pie Company, or the Scrabble
Tournament at Horizon Books.
Others will suit more of the outdoorsy types, such as the Snow Croquet
Tournament, the Chase The Blues 5K Fun Run/Walk, the Blues
Snowman-Building Contest, and the Petoskey Ghost Walk.
And dont worry, shoppers - theres plenty of that to be found, as well,
with special Winter Blues Festival deals being made available at a
plethora of locales from Meyer ACE Hardware to Northern Sole to Linda
Michaels Jewelers - and local fashionistas will enjoy trunk fashion shows
at Toad Hall and Grandpa Shorters.
LISTEN TO THE BLUES
And if all you want to do is lose yourself in the actual blues - or some
other genres of music - the festival can oblige that, as well.
Another of our new events is the Petoskeys Got Talent show, which is
being sponsored by TV 7 and 4, Goodman says, its modeled on the
Americas Got Talent show, and we already have a lot of talented people
McLean and Eakin Booksellers will host some acoustic music, the Crooked
Tree Arts Centers Powers Wind Quartet event will coincide with the
festival, and several other shops and restaurants will be featuring live
And the entire Petoskey Winter Blues Festival will focus in on real
blues music on Saturday night from 6:30 to 11:00 p.m. at Staffords Perry
Hotels Rose Room, with Kalamazoo Avenues Rock Rhythm and Blues Review
Band, a Blues Brothers tribute band that is sure to fit right in with the
Plenty of other sales, treats, surprises, and events will be held
throughout the week, too, as the festival organizers work to get the best
mix of happenings to make the event the best it can be.
We keep switching the events out to keep it fresh, Goodman says, so we
can see what really works.
The 2011 Petoskey Winter Blues Festival will take place February 21-27 in
downtown Petoskey. A full schedule of events and more info may be found at