Beautiful Fall Color and Festivals Draw Visitors to the Midwest's Benzie County in Northern Michigan

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Every year hundreds of families gather in Northern Michigan’s Benzie County to celebrate the changing of the season. As a backdrop to fall color touring in Benzie County, three main Festivals take place every October. Two Fall Festivals are held and an International Film Festival has been launched to take advantage of the beauty.

Fall Visitors to Benzie County are Delighted by Huge Pumpkins

Benzie County is among the best places in the nation to celebrate Fall Color. Two Fall Festivals and an international Film Festival are held each October to bring visitors from all over the midwest to experience Fall's majesty within a charming small town setting.

Benzie County, known as the gateway to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, is filled with millions of trees. This makes it one of the most beautiful locations in the United States to enjoy the changing fall color and to view forests of oak, maple, cherry, chestnut, birch, hickory, ash, and beech trees. The tapestry of colors of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and surrounding protected forests change from lush greens to bright orange, yellow, gold, red, burgundy and color in-between on the roads that traverse the county. This includes M-22 which runs along the coast in Benzie County through the Leelanau Peninsula where wineries are plentiful, an easy day trip from Benzie County resorts, inns, cottages, and cabins.

Originally Benzie County was the hub of the lumbering industry in Northwest Michigan. Now it’s known for its natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Lakes and rivers – such as Crystal Lake, Lake Ann, Platte River and Betsie River and 54 other lakes – are here, and fishing, kayaking and canoeing add to the fall color activities. Salmon running on the Platte River, the first river in Michigan to be planted with salmon in 1966, draws thousands of fishing enthusiasts and tourists to watch the salmon make their way up the river to spawn.

During the first and second weekends, Benzie County Fall Festivals bring visitors from all over the Midwest and beyond to experience hometown charm and hospitality.

  •     During the first weekend in October the villages of Beulah and Benzonia hold a Fall Festival featuring a homemade fall soup contest, pumpkin decorating, a sidewalk chalk art contest, and gourd carving. Adults are captivated by the Car “Park & Shine” Show with classic vehicles from the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s set against Crystal Lake in Beulah. There is also a Half Marathon / 10K / 5K Race every year at Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa.
  •     During the second weekend in October Frankfort holds their Fall Festival which includes a FallFest Parade with music, floats, and pets along Main Street, horse-drawn wagon rides, a giant pumpkin and squash weigh-off contest, pumpkin carving by master carver and acclaimed jack-o-lantern creator, Ed Moody, and a kids halloween maze. There are games for kids, pumpkin chuking contests into the Betsie Bay, a dunk tank for adults, and a free family movie at The Garden Theater. The highlight of the event includes the amazing pumpkin drop where a 900 or more pound pumpkin is dropped from 100 feet in the air onto a car creating a giant vegetable explosion.

In 2009, the Frankfort Film Festival was launched on the fourth weekend of October to offer visitors another reason to visit this beautiful location. The event now brings internationally renowned independent films to the small city of Frankfort. Most of the films have been shown at worldwide festivals and some are award winners. Michigan produced films are also among the films to see and many filmmakers are present to participate in a question and answer session.

The fall season is also the best time for surfing along the Lake Michigan Shore. Scores of surfers can be seen along the Frankfort pier if the winds are right and the waves are strong.

To Visit Benzie County in the Fall:
There are numerous choices for lodging in Benzie County from resorts to cabins on the lake. Search for lodging at for more information about hotels, b&b’s and inns available for overnight stays during the fall.

Visitors who book two or more consecutive nights at one of many participating lodging locations in Benzie County can sign up for a special promotion on the website which includes free or special rate restaurant, sightseeing, kayak and golfing opportunities.

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