Downtown kicks off lineup of holiday events

As the autumn leaves have fallen, the holiday lights, wreaths and festive decor are going up. It’s the most wonderful time of the year as downtown Midland kicks off a family fun-filled lineup of holiday events.
Kristina Loeffer is the downtown events coordinator for the City of Midland.
Throughout November and December, the community is invited to sip, stroll, shop and sprint through downtown for festive events. With everything from a holiday open house, cocoa crawl, jingle bell fun run, holly jolly days, and an adult ugly sweater bar crawl, there’s something for everyone.

Kristina Loeffler, downtown events coordinator for the City of Midland, has been in her role since the beginning of July. She works with downtown businesses to encourage shopping locally all seasons of the year. 

“We are entering our holiday season here in downtown,” Loeffler says. “We’re kicking off this weekend with our holiday open house. Primarily, all of our events are to help bring awareness to all of our businesses downtown. We have new ones coming in, and we also have our staples that have been here for a long time. We always look for ways to engage with our local businesses.”
Brush Monkeys are painting downtown store windows for a fifth year.
The Holiday Open House is on Friday, Nov. 10 from 6:00-10:00 pm., at participating retailers and restaurants. New holiday items, services, menu features and more await. The Brush Monkeys are returning for their fifth year of painting vibrant, eye-catching holiday images on over 30 business windows. 

Local participating retailers include Ace Hardware & Sports, Bookmarks, Brinstar Arcade Bar and Grill, Coyer Candle Co.,FILL, Grape Beginnings Winery, Joyful Tantrum, Molasses Smokehouse, Pizza Sam’s, Rosa Wilde Boutique, Three Bridges Distillery & Taproom

“Each business has a wreath they decorate with things from their businesses or holiday decor. As people shop and dine through the weekend, they are welcome to enter their name on a piece of paper to win one of the wreaths. It’s just a fun way to get people into the door, and you can possibly also walk away with something pretty cool.”

Cocoa Crawl is scheduled for Sat, Nov 18, from Noon-2:00pm after the Santa Parade.
Saturday, Nov. 18 from Noon-2:00 pm. marks the Cocoa Crawl. Following the downtown Santa Parade, the jolliest after-party helps visitors warm up with a hot beverage. Local retailers and restaurants open their doors and provide complimentary hot chocolate. Visitors will be able to vote for their favorite hot cocoa to receive the desired Golden Mug Trophy. “We have 21 businesses that are participating, that will provide their own cocoa, and create their own concoctions,” Loeffler says. “It’s a fun event free for all ages.”

Thursday, Nov. 30 is the return of the Jingle Bell Fun Run/Walk. Time to grab that light up reindeer nose, christmas light necklace and get on your merry way. The free, all-ages one-mile run/walk starts at 6:30 p.m. and goes until 8 p.m. 
Wreath decorated by Coyer Candle.
“We encourage people to dress in their festive wear, and bring their dogs if they wish! We provide a complimentary jingle bell bracelet so as we go through downtown, it truly does sound like jingle bells. The H Hotel will be sponsoring some complimentary cocoa for the participants as well.” Registration is required online, and participants are invited to bring a nonperishable food item for a local food pantry. 

December keeps the festive fun rolling too, with the Holly Jolly Days on Friday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Throughout the weekend, shoppers can find holiday shopping deals, window displays and enjoy Commons beverages by the outdoor fireplaces. 

“The Jingle Bell Fun Run kicks off our Holly Jolly Days,” Loeffler says. “Town’s End Clydesdales & Carriage will be downtown Friday through Sunday. Families can meet in front of the H Hotel and enjoy a nice little horse and carriage ride through downtown.”

Loeffler enjoys the extra energy that the holiday season brings to the downtown atmosphere. “It can be cold and dreary, but seeing the energy people bring is always fun to see. Kids are excited to see Santa at the Santa house, it’s such a time to be with your family.”

While family-friendly events are at the forefront of the lineup, there’s also something for the adults only. On Friday, Dec. 1 from 7:00 pm-midnight, the Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl heats things up for those 21 and up. “We have some awesome bars downtown, and this is a fun way to spotlight them,” Loeffler says. “They’ll have some specialty beverages, and right now, we have about five businesses participating. We’re excited to bring it back.”

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Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at