Photo by Todd & Brad Reed Photography

Manistee's Victorian Sleighbell Parade & Old Christmas Weekend

December, 2023

When the Christmas season is upon us, the Victorian city of Manistee kicks off the festivities in a big way, with its annual Victorian Sleighbell Parade & Old Christmas Weekend. This popular event brings as many as 10,000 visitors to Manistee to experience the wonder of a Christmas gone by. The highlight of the parade is the Belgian draft horses that pulls a 30′ Christmas tree down River Street in downtown Manistee. The entire Old Christmas Weekend is filled with wonderful activities.

The Painted Lady
T.J.'s Pub

Manistee is a great place to pick up those gifts for everyone on your list, and downtown restaurants welcome you into their cozy establishments for a delicious meal. As the snow flies, enjoy the carolers, decked out in period dresses, coats, and top hats. It’s certainly the right setting to put you in a festive holiday mood.

For the holiday season, make sure you include Manistee’s Victorian Sleighbell Parade & Old Christmas Weekend in your plans.

If you are traveling from outside the area, check out places to stay in Manistee, and Manistee restaurants for your dining options.

And don’t forget to make time to visit the many downtown shops!

Photo by Todd & Brad Reed Photography

Here is a typical schedule for the event:


  • 5-7pm – Chamber of Commerce UnTapped at the Ramsdell Theatre Ballroom- 101 Maple St. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, holiday music, and a cash bar. For tickets or more information, visit


  • 12-2pm – Open House & Tour at St. Paul Lutheran Church– 313 4th St., Manistee. Includes Christmas ornament craft for kids and refreshments. Free. For more information, visit
  • 7:30-10:30pm – Lakeside Club’s “1885 Comes Alive!” This event is an authentic Victorian Christmas gathering. Black tie with a Victorian theme required. Enjoy entertainment, Victorian appetizers and sweets with a cash bar. Limited tickets are available. Purchase advance tickets online at Tickets are $35 per person or $60 per couple.  


  • 9am-4pm – Christmas Craft Bazaar at Wagoner Community Center- 260 St. Mary’s Parkway, Manistee. Features holiday and other handmade crafts, handmade quilts and quilt racks, Christmas cookie sales, and both a “50/50” and a unique Michigan “Pudding Stone” raffle. Lunch will be available for purchase. For additional information, contact Kathy Yoder at (231) 723-6926.
  • 10am – 25 cent Holiday Movie at The Vogue Theatre– 383 River St., Manistee.
  • 10am – Jingle Bell Jog 5k Run/Walk with location TBA. Advanced registration is $20 per runner, $25 on race day.  Register at
  • 11am-2pm – Scandinavian Christmas Open House at Old Kirke Museum- 304 Walnut St., Manistee. Christmas trees decorated in the traditional Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian manner and traditional Scandinavian cookies in the 1868 sanctuary along with a display of Christmas “Tiny Towns and Trains II” and the Madsen Lumbering Dioramas in the lower exhibit hall.
  • 11am-4pm (every 30 minutes – Tours of the Ramsdell Theatre at the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts- 101 Maple St., Manistee. $5 Admission fee. For tickets, visit
  • 4:30-7pm – Roasted chestnuts at various locations on River St. in downtown Manistee. 
  • 5:30pm – Victorian Sleighbell Parade on River St. in downtown Manistee. Sponsored by West Shore Bank. Follow the last parade entry for caroling and tree lighting. Free.
  • Following the parade – Sleighbell Fireworks at Manistee Municipal Marina area. Sponsored by Jeff Reau of Edward Jones. Free.
North Channel Brewing Co.
Nu 2 U Resale Shop

Events Happening Over Multiple Days

  • Friday from 12-5pm, Saturday from 11am-5pm, and Sunday from 12-3pm – 6×6 Art Exhibition at the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts- 101 Maple St., Manistee. Entry is free but the square canvases will be for sale for $20.
  • Friday from 1-6pm, Saturday from 11am-8pm, and Sunday from 10:30am-12:30pm –  Lakeside Club’s Festival of Trees & Holiday Decor at the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts Ballroom- 101 Maple St., Manistee. View and bid on creatively decorated trees, wreaths, gift baskets, and seasonal decor. View and bid on creatively decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, gift baskets, and other seasonal decor designed by local holiday enthusiasts. “Buy it Now” options available. Bring canned goods to vote for your favorite entry for the “People’s Choice” award. Bring unwrapped toys for Five CAP’s “Toys for Tots/Gifts for Teens”.  Bidding closes Saturday, December 3 at 8pm. Proceeds benefit two local nonprofits. $1 admission fee.
  • Saturday and Sunday from 1-4pm – Santa’s Headquarters at Manistee Marina- 480 River St., Manistee. Also open on December 10th, 11th, 17th, and 18th from 1-4pm.
  • Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm – A West Shore Community College Holiday Rock Spectacular Reunion at the Ramsdell Theatre. The West Shore Community College Performing Arts Series, in collaboration with Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts, will present the Holiday Rock Spectacular Reunion. Featuring the music of The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, For King and Country, Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, U2, and more. Tickets range from $15 to $50 and can be purchased by visiting

For more information on the Manistee Victorian Sleighbell Parade & Old Christmas Weekend, please contact the event organizer:

Manistee Downtown Development Authority  

(231) 398-3262

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