Murch: Busy weekend ahead for NE Michigan

If you’re looking for a weekend with plenty of entertainment choices, then next week should be right up your alley. Three big events hit the area and each offers something different.

The annual SnoDrift rally returns to Montmorency County, while the inaugural Thunder Bay Snocross Race will be at the Alpena County Fairgrounds and the Thunder Bay Film Festival will be at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Three different kinds of events offering unique entertainment – not bad for the middle of the winter.

One thing you hear quite a bit around here is there isn’t much to do in the winter if you don’t like to participate in outdoor activities. While that isn’t quite accurate, I do understand the point. People are always looking for something different, out of the ordinary, to do. Well next weekend certainly accomplishes that.

For two of the events you’ll have to bundle up as the long-range forecast shows temperatures in the teens. But this is Northeast Michigan and we know what it takes to stay warm and still enjoy the outdoors. And the third offering of the weekend is perfect for those who don’t want to venture outside in the cold for any length of time.

SnoDrift has become a staple of Northeast Michigan entertainment. in the winter The rally draws hundreds of spectators who position themselves at strategic spots to watch the competition along the back roads of Montmorency County. The best part of this event is that while “Sno” is part of its title, this one doesn’t necessarily need lots of snow – it simply enhances the competition.

More and more people seem to be finding there way to the county to watch the competition, which is great news for the local economy. It might only be for one weekend, but in late January it’s the perfect shot in the arm.

The snow cross race at the fairgrounds finally has snow that will let it be held this year. This is an event that has had difficulties because of the lack of snow. No such problem this year, and you can see snow mounds that have been form in front of the grandstands from 11th Avenue so the course is definitely taking shape.

And, with the city working with the organizers to establish a trail to the fairgrounds, the event looks like it might be successful. It would be great to able to add one more event to the calendar that Northeast Michigan residents can look forward to in the winter.

The Thunder Bay Film Festival is presenting the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival for the second time. The first time was in October 2012, but the festival was moved to a January date to give movie lovers a treat in the middle of the winter.

The festival also will feature two local films by the brother-sister team of Brian and Anne Belanger, a film by Grand Haven filmmaker Vince Deur as well as NOAA produced films. The hope is that as the festival grows more regional films about the Great Lakes will be part of the offering as well as the SFIOFF films.

It’s these kinds of ventures that need our support just as much as the ones during the warmer months, as well as the winter ones that are more traditional events and entertainment. This weekend isn’t barren of entertainment, either. There is theatre, music, sports – you just need to look around and you’ll find something to enjoy.

Just make sure you dress warm enough.