Happy 2023! To celebrate, we’ve compiled a list of the biggest events in the central Michigan area. Whether looking to come now or plan your trip for the summer, there’s always something going on in the Mt. Pleasant area!

Chili Challenge 5k – February 4

Pack your gloves, a hat and a pair of running shoes – the annual Chili Challenge 5k is back for 2023! This fun race gives participants an added challenge of competing in the frigid elements of a Michigan winter. The unique course will take you along paved trails and terrain through the Mt. Pleasant’s scenic city park system and along the Chippewa River. Stick around afterwards for a chili bar at Mountain Town Station and a complimentary craft brew (21+) or beverage! This race is open to all participants ages 10 and up, and registration is open until January 25, 2023.

Runners during Chili Challenge 5k
Chili Challenger participant running over bridge.

Photos curtesy of the City of Mt. Pleasant Parks & Recreation Facebook Page. 

Not only has the Central Michigan International Film Festival (CMIFF) become one of the hottest winter attractions in Mt. Pleasant, but it will also be celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2023! Get a front row seat to Oscar nominated films, multiple genres, international cinema, as well as independent and student produced short films throughout the Mt. Pleasant community. The line-up includes some of the most highly talked about films of the past year including Spencer, Belfast, and Slalom, just to name a few! And the best part – tickets for each film are just $5!

Central Michigan International Film Festival 2023 Graphic

Join the Village of Shepherd, located just a few miles south of Mt. Pleasant, for their annual Maple Syrup Festival in late April. This family-friendly weekend is jam packed with sugary-sweet activities including a parade, classic car displays, fair rides, tractor and horse pulls, museum tours, a craft show, and scrumptious pancake meals complete with locally-made Shepherd maple syrup. There’s a reason Shepherd has coined the nickname “Sweetest Little Town Anywhere Around.”

Car Show in downtown Shepherd.
Fun House at the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival fair.

Photos curtesy of the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival Facebook Page. 

Celebrate the history of Scottish traditions in Alma, otherwise known as Scotland USA, at the 54th Annual Alma Highland Festival. This festival brings members of Scottish clans and interested onlookers together for a weekend of Highland dancing, bagpipes, kilts, and camaraderie. Highly anticipated events include Solo Piping and Drumming, a Highland Dance Competition, Great Lakes Scottish Heavyweight Athletics and so much more!

Alma Highland Festival performers.
Alma Highland Festival 5k runners.

Photos curtesy of the Alma Highland Festival Facebook Page. 

Every summer Central Michigan University hosts SOMI’s biggest event of the year at various sporting arenas around campus, the State Summer Games! Watch athletes participate in up to ten types of competition including bocce ball, bowling, gymnastics, horseshoes, powerlifting, volleyball and more.  Come cheer on the athletes at opening ceremonies and throughout the event!

SOMI athletes on the podium.
SOMI flags.
SOMI athletes playing bocce ball.

Calling all beer connoisseurs! Meet in Mt. Pleasant for the 9th Annual Mt. Pleasant Craft Beer Festival (MPCBF). Stroll the streets of downtown Mt. Pleasant as you sip on craft beer, chow down on food from local food trucks, enjoy live music and play street games! Step outside of your comfort zone and try something new, or stick to what you know – either way we’re certain you’ll have a “hoppy” time.

Beer being poured from tap into a sampling glass.

For over 35 years, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe has hosted their annual Powwow every summer on their tribal grounds in Mt. Pleasant. Visit the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Reservation to experience native traditions in a natural setting with authentic foods, arts and crafts, dancing and storytelling. Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy and learn about history and culture that is stored right here in the center of Michigan.

Powwow performers.
Powwow performer.

Photos curtesy of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. 

Art Walk Central – August 1-19

Art Reach of Mid Michigan invites you to wander the streets of downtown Mt. Pleasant and its surrounding areas during Art Walk Central. Watch as Mt. Pleasant becomes a canvas for both local and statewide artists to show off their skills and compete for prizes! See chalk art, sculptures and more from over 60 different artists of all ages. This annual event prides itself in keeping art alive and accessible to everyone in the community, and is looked forward to every summer by both visitors and community members.

Bee sculpture in downtown Mt. Pleasant.
Art Reach of Mid Michigan showroom.

Celebrate the most wonderful time of year at the Mt. Pleasant Christmas Celebration, held annually in historic downtown Mt. Pleasant. Enjoy the winter market where you can find an abundance of vendors and locally-made goods perfect for holiday gifts and stocking stuffers. Kick off the holiday season on the right foot at the Jingle all the Way 5k, enjoy breakfast with Santa, and stick around till dark for the highly anticipated Lighted Parade!

Winter Market at the Christmas Celebration.
Winter Market booth at Christmas Celebration.
Christmas Celebration parade.

Photo curtesy of City of Mt. Pleasant Parks & Recreation Facebook Page. 

Meet Mt. Pleasant

While having fun at these events, don’t forget to snap a photo and tag us at @mtpleasantcvb on Instagram and Facebook, and @meetmtpleasant on TikTok! Be sure to use #MeetMtP – we might even share your post. Looking for more events? Check out our full Calendar of Events in the Mt. Pleasant area.

Image Credits: City of Mt. Pleasant Parks & Recreation, Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival, Alma Highland Festival, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe