Manistee's Victorian Sleighbell Parade

December 2-5, 2021

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.

Victorian Sleighbell Events have been canceled for 2020 due to the Covid-19 virus uncertainties for safety concerns. The event returns December of 2021.

Highlights include:

  • The Festival of Trees, Friday 1-8pm, Saturday 9:30am-8pm, Sunday 11am-1pm.
  • Guided tours of Dempsey Mansion every day at 1, 2:15 & 3:30pm.
  • Sno Snake Sho Art Exhibit, Friday & Saturday, 10am-4pm, Ramsdell Theater.
  • Tours of the Ramsdell Theater, Friday & Saturday at 1, 2, and 3pm.

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.

The main feature of the Old Christmas Weekend is the Victorian Sleighbell Parade at 5:30pm on Saturday.

Get downtown early to enjoy hot cider at 4pm and roasted chestnuts at 4:30. It's also your chance to get a look at the Kiwanis Cops that mingle downtown. The Sleighbell Parade, complete with horse-drawn Christmas tree, is filled with the old-fashioned nostalgia of Christmases gone by. It's truly a don't miss highlight of the holiday season to share with family and friends.

christmas folk
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 Manistee lodging facilities for a great place to stay, and Manistee restaurants for your dining options.

Here's what happened in 2019:


  • Photograph exhibit displaying winter seasons in Manistee, Manistee County Historical Museum, 10am-5pm
  • Sleighbell Spiced Wine Release, 11am-5pm, Douglas Valley
  • Chamber Business After Hours, 5:30pm-7:30pm, Ramsdell Theatre Ballroom.
  • Victorian Dessert Concert, 7pm, First Congregational Church


  • Photograph exhibit displaying winter seasons in Manistee, Manistee County Historical Museum, 10am-5pm
  • Ramsdell Theatre Tours, 1, 2 & 3pm on the hour
  • Christmas Cookie & Wine Pairing, 12pm-5pm, Douglas Valley Downtown, 431 River St.
  • Downtown Soup Cook-Off, 4:30-6:30pm, downtown Manistee
  • Kids & Kupcakes, 6:30-7:45pm, Ramsdell Theater Ballroom
  • Hope of Christmas Concert, 7pm, Faith Covenant Church


  • Cookie Fun for Everyone, 8am-2pm, Manistee United Methodist Church
  • Jingle Bell Jog 5k run/walk, 10am, Kennedy Elementary School.
  • Sleighbell Bazaar and Craft Show, 9am-4pm, Manistee High School.
  • Vogue Theatre Free Christmas Classic Movies, 10am-5pm, Vogue Theatre.
  • Parents & Paint, 10am-noon, Ramsdell Theatre Ballroom Balcony.
  • The Old Kirke Museum, 11am-2pm, 304 Walnut St.
  • Love for Children Sleighbell Chocolate Shoppe, 11am-5pm, Christian Faith Church International, 55 Division St.
  • Meet the Grinch, 11:30am-1pm, Happy Owl Bookshop.
  • Christmas Cookie & Wine Pairing, 12-4pm, Douglas Valley.
  • Carriage Rides down River Street, 12pm-3:30pm.
  • Canvas & Cheer, 1-3pm, Ramsdell Theatre Ballroom Balcony.
  • Santa's Headquarters, 1-3:45pm, Manistee Municipal Marina.
  • Pony Rides, 2pm-4pm, Manistee Marina.
  • Christmas Tea at the Buckley House, 2-4pm, 450 Cedar St.
  • Christmas at Moving Spirits, 3pm-5pm, 429 River St.
  • Roasted Chestnuts, 4:30pm-7:30pm, River Street.
  • Jingle Mingle 4:30pm-7:30pm, Ramsdell Inn.
  • Chili & Dog Warm Up, 4:30-7:30pm, Manistee United Methodist Church
  • Victorian Sleighbell parade, 5:30pm, River Street, fireworks and tree lighting after parade
  • 16th Annual Jingle Bell Jam, 7pm-midnight, American Legion
  • Laith Al-Saadi, 8-10pm, Ramsdell Theater


  • Traditional Swedish Brunch and Worship Service, 10am service, 11am brunch, Portage Lake Bible Camp
  • The Old Kirke Museum, 11am-2pm, 304 Walnut St.
  • Santa's Headquarters, 1-3pm, Manistee Municipal Marina.

Events are listed according to the information available at the time of the most recent update to this story. The schedule is subject to change. For the complete schedule and updated information, please see
Manistee Sleighbell Festival.

Enjoy the holidays in Manistee, Michigan!

Starting to decorate for the holidays? It's a great time to find a Fresh Christmas Tree for your home!

More Holiday Information in West Michigan...

For more activities & attractions, check out these additional links for Things to Do in West Michigan:

West Michigan Map
Ludington Activities & Things to Do -- Play on a beautiful beach, take a tour at Historic White Pine Village, or explore the barn quilt trail, murals or sculptures in the county--Ludington offers many fun things to do for the entire family!
Have Fun in Manistee, Michigan -- Explore Manistee's historic downtown district and riverwalk, hike the Manistee National Forest, canoe on the Manistee River, and more.
Hamlin Lake -- Just 4 miles north of Ludington, Hamlin Lake is a great destination for boating, fishing and climbing dunes! The Hamlin Lake shoreline is also part of the Ludington State Park.
Silver Lake Sand Dunes -- Visiting the Silver Lake Sand Dunes makes for a terrific vacation because you can take your off-road vehicle for a spin on the scenic sand dunes overlooking Lake Michigan and Silver Lake.
Things to Do in Pentwater, Michigan -- Nothing is quite like the quaint, artsy, harbortown village of Pentwater. Don't miss the popular Charles Mears State Park beach on Pentwater's Lake Michigan shoreline.
Lots of Activities in Scottville, Michigan -- Explore the Riverside Park along the National Scenic Pere Marquette River.
Canoeing or Fishing on the Pere Marquette River -- Many boat liveries offer canoe rentals.
Also, check out West Michigan Guides and our locally produced directory for our largest lists of Things to Do in West Michigan.
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Last Updated: 07-27-2021 03:32 PM ID: 308