Midwest Living Review
Manistee, Michigan’s Victorian Christmas weekend, now entering its 25th year, is an impressive display of community spirit. About 10,000 people participate in the annual festivities, nearly doubling the historical river town’s population over four days in early December. The largest draw is the Sleighbell Parade, a Saturday night event culminating with the lighting of two Christmas trees hauled down River Street by teams of draft horses, all to the delight of a roaring crowd. We didn’t find the parade particularly remarkable, but the crowd’s energy and enthusiasm definitely was. Thousands of people pack the streets, many sporting Victorian-Era hats, and more than a strong minority dressed in full head-to-toe period costume. These folks carry drinks, hoot and holler at one other, laugh, imbibe and celebrate. It’s not unlike Mardi Gras, only with far less debauchery and much colder.