Mark your calendars – we have the largest and best annual events in the Mt. Pleasant area listed below. From cultural celebrations to major sporting tournaments, check out the Mt. Pleasant area’s can’t miss events!

Chili Challenge 5k (Formerly known as Man vs. Mountain) – February

The Chili Challenge 5K is a fun race that gives participants an added challenge of completing in the frigid elements of a Michigan winter! This unique course takes you through the City on paved trails and terrain through the scenic city park system along the Chippewa River. Chili Challenge 5K is a timed event and open to all participants ages 10 and up. There will be awards for top male and female finishers in their age divisions.

Central Michigan International Film Festival – February

One of the hottest attractions in Mt. Pleasant this winter involves buttery popcorn, Oscar-worthy performances and independent films. The Central Michigan International Film Festival brings Oscar nominated films, multiple genres, international cinema, as well as independent and student produced short films throughout the Mt. Pleasant, Michigan community! This five-day festival gives moviegoers a front row seat to this year’s biggest films and a chance to screen the work of tomorrow’s filmmakers. Special events include a Filmmakers Meet & Greet Party and a Filmmakers workshop for High School Students.

“Celebrating Life” Pow Wow – March

This cultural event boasts a variety of traditional Native American practices and spiritual activities at the John G. Kulhavi Events Center on Central Michigan University’s campus. The  annual “Celebrating Life” Pow Wow invites attendees to come together to dance, sing, visit, share handmade crafts, make new friendships and renew old ones.

Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival – April

The annual Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival is a three-day event that celebrates the beloved breakfast sweetener. Held in Shepherd, Michigan the festival offers a variety of activities; these include: 10K & 5K Run/Walk, craft shows, three museums, tractor pulls, classic car display, two parades, quilt show, petting zoo, amusement, syrup and maple product sales. The Village of Shepherd invites you to witness hometown hospitality at its best.

Alma Highland Festival and Games – May

Alma’s claim to fame includes the annual Highland Festival, which brings members of Scottish clans and interested onlookers together for a weekend of Highland dancing, bagpipes, kilts, and camaraderie. The festival is located on the Alma College campus in Alma, Michigan. Each year the festival brings thousands of visitors to the area and let’s them experience the very best of Scottish tradition. The festival combines great competition with Scottish hospitality.

Special Olympics Michigan State Summer Games –  June

Prepare to hear the roar of a crowd across the city of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan during the Special Olympics Michigan (SOMI) State Summer Games held at Central Michigan University. The State Summer Games is the largest SOMI event with 2,900 SOMI athletes along with an additional 3,400 coaches, volunteers, chaperones, family members and spectators. In addition to the ten competitions offered to athletes, game goers will enjoy opening and closing ceremonies which include a parade of athletes and victory dance at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Pow Wow – July

For over 20 years, the annual Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Pow Wow has offered visitors the opportunity to observe and experience traditional Native American dress, dance, drumming, chanting, cuisine and crafts. Visit the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Reservation to experience native traditions in a natural setting with authentic foods, arts and crafts, dancing and story-telling.

Art Walk Central – August

Art Walk Central (AWC) is a three-week celebration dedicated to the arts and cultural scene in mid-Michigan. The city-wide art exhibition is held each August at various galleries, storefronts and other venues throughout the city of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. Don’t miss the FREE competition, Artist Battle, the first week of AWC in Downtown Mt. Pleasant. Art Reach of Mid-Michigan invites you to visit Mt. Pleasant this August to witness the community transform into a living work of art.

Mt. Pleasant Craft Beer Festival – October

Calling all craft beer connoisseurs – this one’s for you! The annual Mt. Pleasant Craft Beer Festival is a celebration of the beer culture in Michigan and focuses on bringing the beer community together; including brew masters, brewery representatives, restaurant owners, managers and chefs. Attendees enjoy tasters of the greatest Michigan-made brews, fun and games, live music, a dance floor and local eats during the best time of year – summer in Downtown Mt. Pleasant!

Mt. Pleasant Christmas Celebration – December

The annual Mt. Pleasant Christmas Celebration is a favorite Downtown Mt. Pleasant holiday-inspired tradition. Held the first weekend in December, witness this small town’s celebration of the holidays. Activities include: tree lighting ceremony, community carol sing-along, visit with Santa, hayrides, arts and crafts, Jingle All-the-Way 5K, lighted parade and more!

Meet Mt. Pleasant

Need more recommendations for your visit? Visit our comprehensive list of annual events in the Mt. Pleasant area, sign up for our newsletter, or sign up for a free visitors guide!

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Chili Challenge 5K Picture Credits: City of Mt. Pleasant Parks & Recreation

Central Michigan International Film Festival Picture Credit: @cmfilmfest on Instagram

‘Celebrating Life’ Pow Wow Picture Credits: Central Michigan Life Photographer Josh Barnhart

Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Pow Wow Picture Credits: Central Michigan Life 

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