November Along the Lakeshore: Holiday markets, tree lightings, and Santa trains, and more

November marks the beginning of the holiday season as many make plans to gather with loved ones for Thanksgiving. Fortunately, the Lakeshore is bursting with active and fun events. From holiday markets to tree lightings, there are lots of ways to enjoy the month with family and friends in Allegan, Muskegon, and Ottawa counties. This list includes options for everyone, regardless of age, ability, or interest. 

Has Heart is an art exhibit honoring veterans.

Has Heart | 50 States
Saugatuck Center for the Arts, 400 Culver St., Saugatuck
Through Dec. 22
Enjoy a powerful new art exhibit that bridges the growing divide between veterans and civilians by utilizing art, design, and storytelling.
Details: HAS HEART | 50 STATES - SC4A

Edward S. Curtis: Unpublished Alaska, The Lost Photographs
Muskegon Museum of Art, 296 W. Webster Ave., Muskegon
Adults, $10; Seniors 65+, $8; students 17+ with ID, $6
Through Jan. 9, check the link for hours
Nearly a century ago, photographer Edward S. Curtis and his daughter spent months in Alaska doing research and taking photographs for the 20th and final volume of his epic project, “The North American Indian.” Recently, the Curtis family discovered undeveloped negatives from the 1927 expedition. More than 100 of these previously unseen photographs are on exhibit for the first time ever.
Details: Edward R. Curtis | Unpublished Alaska

Winter's Eve Market
Saugatuck Center for the Arts, 400 Culver St., Saugatuck
Nov.  5 and Nov. 19, begins at 5 p.m.
A night of shopping, Michigan-made goodies, artisan craft cocktails, and music under the lights.
Details: Winter's Eve - SC4A

The Clydesdale Team will be in Muskegon's Heroes Tribute Parade.

The Clydesdales are Coming to Muskegon!
Downtown Muskegon
Nov. 11
4-5 p.m. — Heroes Tribute Parade — Budweiser Clydesdales plus local veteran community groups and service members will parade along Western Avenue in downtown Muskegon.  
5-5:30 p.m. — Budweiser Clydesdales on display at Mercy Health Arena for the public and photos.
6-9 p.m. — Celebration Concert, featuring Westside Soul Surfers & Brena.
Free (all events)
To honor our veterans, military, and first responders, the United Way and Tyler Sales have partnered to bring the Budweiser Clydesdales to Muskegon for a Veterans Day parade and concert.

People and Pets — Market will be at Shops at Westshore.

People and Pets — Market
The Shops at Westshore; 12331 James St., Holland
(Takes place indoors — use the main entrance next to the GNC business on the west side of the mall)
Nov. 13, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Shop for unique artisan gifts at this fun marketplace benefiting Harbor Humane Society and Hand2Hand; people and pets are welcome.

Merchants and Makers Holiday Shoppe
Holland Civic Center Place, 150 W. Eighth St., Holland
Nov. 13-14, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
100 local makers will be selling their wares; live music both days; food and beverages available.
Details: ( 

27th annual White Lake Holiday Walk
Along the streets of Montague and Whitehall 
Nov. 19, 2-8 p.m.
Nov. 20, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Enjoy downtown Christmas open houses with gift guides, special sales, refreshments, and a visit with Santa. Tree-lighting ceremonies are scheduled in both downtowns Friday night at the Community Christmas Trees.

Grand Haven Light Night
Nov. 19, 5-8 p.m.
Open houses, treats, brilliant holiday lights, and music await you in downtown Grand Haven’s main shopping district.

Every Christmas Story Ever Told … (and then some!)
Beardsley Theater,  425 W. Western Ave., Muskegon
Nov. 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 (Performances are 7:30 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 3 p.m.)
Tickets — $25
Instead of performing Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday classic for the umpteenth time, three actors decide to perform every Christmas story ever told — and include Christmas traditions from around the world, seasonal icons from ancient times, topical pop culture, and every carol ever sung. 

Holland's Holiday Open House will be Nov. 20.

Holiday Open House
Eighth Street, Downtown Holland
Nov. 20, 5-8 p.m.
Downtown Holland is filled with carolers, roasting chestnuts, and festive decorations. See Santa’s reindeer at the petting corral and visit with the Jolly Old Elf himself. Be sure to stay for the tree-lighting ceremony at 8 p.m.  
Details: Holiday Open House in Downtown Holland, Michigan

Festival at Modales Wines
2128 62nd St., Fennville
Nov. 20, 3-8 p.m.
Check the link below for pricing.
Celebrate the first barrels of the Beaujolais Nouveau with live music, food catered by Borrowed Time, and a live auction.

Holland Friends of Art Kerstmarkt opens Nov. 20.

Holland Friends of Art Kerstmarkt
Holland Civic Center Place (outdoors), 150 W. Eighth St., Holland
Nov. 20 through Dec. 11 (times vary; check the link below)
Step back in time to an authentic outdoor European Christmas market filled with holiday items, delicious food, and artisan demonstrations.
Details: Kerstmarkt, Holland's Outdoor Holiday Market

Festival of Wreaths, Downtown Muskegon Wreath Walk
Downtown Muskegon
Nov. 24 through Dec. 5
Take a “wreath walk” and view designer wreaths provided by the Muskegon Museum of Art. The MMA  will also present a gallery display of decor during the run of the walk. Walking Guide maps will be available at the MMA Store and participating businesses beginning Nov. 24. The designer wreaths and decor items at the Muskegon Museum of Art will be available to bid on in an online auction.
Details: FESTIVAL OF TREES WREATH WALK - Muskegon Art Museum Muskegon Art Museum 

Small Business Saturday 
Downtown Holland
Saturday, Nov. 27 
Close to 40 shops and restaurants in Downtown Holland will join other locally owned businesses throughout the country by participating in Small Business Saturday with exciting promotions for customers, including the annual Small Business Saturday Selfie Contest.

Spring Lake Sparkle offers more than 120,000 multi-colored lights along that community's main street.

Spring Lake Sparkle
Downtown Spring Lake
Nov. 26 through Jan. 3 (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays), 6-9 p.m.
Check out this new community event. More than 120,000 multicolored lights will set aglow the trees lining Savidge Street between Division and Buchanan streets. The buildings along Savidge will be glowing, as well. Grab a bite at the food court or have a drink at Santa’s Workshop. (Meet Santa on Nov. 26)
Details: Spring Lake Sparkle 2021

Christmas At Countryside
9050 Lake Michigan Drive, Allendale
Nov. 26, noon to 8 p.m.
Nov. 27, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $5; kids 12 and younger admitted free
Jump-start your Christmas shopping with vintage and handmade goods from 200+ vendors from all across the country.
Details: Christmas At Countryside Greenhouse

Annual Community Tree-Lighting Ceremony
The Gazebo at Wicks Park, downtown Saugatuck
Nov. 26, 5 p.m.
This fun-filled tree-lighting ceremony includes free hot chocolate and cookies, caroling, and a countdown to light the holiday tree. Plus there are free carriage rides before the lighting.
Details: 2021 Saugatuck Christmas Celebration

The Santa Train will return to Coopersville in November. 

Santa Train In Coopersville 
Coopersville and Marne Railway 306 Main St., Coopersville
Nov. 27-28 and Dec. 4
See website for pricing, call for reservations (sells out fast)
This vintage train has a special reserved seat just for Santa. A story-telling princess will read Christmas-themed books to the kids in each of the decorated railcars.
Details: Santa Train | Coopersville & Marne Railway (

Holland's Parade of Lights returns Nov. 30.
Parade of Lights 
Downtown Holland, begins at Eighth Street and Columbia Avenue
Nov. 30, 6:30 p.m.
Santa arrives, escorted by bands and floats decked out in thousands of holiday lights. More than 80 illuminated entries take part in the parade. At the end, Santa will greet his fans at the Eighth Street Marketplace, home of the Holiday Kerstmarkt.
Details: Parade of Lights | Holiday Parade in Downtown Holland, Michigan

If you are looking for more information on specific destinations or activities, check out these tourism resources: 
Allegan County Parks & Recreation
Ottawa County Parks & Recreation


Read more articles by Sally Laukitis.