2024 Tip Up Town Festival in Houghton Lake Michigan: Schedule of Events | See the Crazy Polar Bear Plunge, Daring Snowmobile Races and Ice Slide

Tip Up Town Festival, Houghton Lake, MITip Up Town Festival, Houghton Lake, MI

By Sherry Trautman | Travel-Mi.com | Updated January 1, 2024

Houghton Lake's Tip Up Town is a famous Michigan festival known for its Polar Bear Plunge, Snowmobile Races and Ice Slide.  It's so much fun for the whole family!

Who doesn't LOVE watching brave (crazy?) people jump into icy cold water?!

When is Tip Up Town 2024?

Tip Up Town is January 20, 21, 27, 2024

Where is Tip Up Town Located in Roscommon County?

Tip Up Town festival is located at the southern DNR boat launch, off of M-55 near the Pines theater and Pineview Golf Course in Houghton Lake, Michigan. See our map above.

Tip Up Town is located in central Roscommon County along the southeast coastline of Houghton Lake, Michigan's largest inland lake.

If you need more information about the area, the Houghton Lake Chamber of Commerce is a great resource! They are located at 1625 W. Houghton Lake Dr. Houghton Lake, MI

Where to Park at the Tip Up Town Festival in Houghton Lake, Michigan

When we go to the Tip Up Town in Houghton Lake, Michigan, we like to park at the High School located at 4433 W. Houghton Lake Drive, Houghton Lake, MI. 

After you park, board the yellow school buses offer a free shuttle service to the festival.  You will need to purchase your button (pass) for the festival upon boarding the bus. Attendants will greet you upon boarding and you can purchase the pass then.

Bring cash.  

  • There is also limited street parking near the festival but you will probably have to walk a considerable distance. 

Parade Information

The parade will take place on Saturday, January 20th at 10:30 am SHARP!

The  parade will line up at the Tee Box Indoor Golf Parking Lot. The parade will travel westbound on M-55 to Townline road & on to the festival site.

See The Polar Bear Plunge!

For me, the Polar Bear Plunge is the highlight of the Tip Up Town festival. I think it's the highlight for lots of people as hundreds gather to watch the spectacle.

Grab a pastie and get there early so you can have a great view of half naked people huddled shivering near the ice cold water preparing to jump!


For some contestants, you can just feel their dread as they slowly plod up to the jumping platform.  One victim, I mean participant, told us his family got together and pooled a bunch of money for whoever was going to jump in...he said it was too much to pass up, so there he was, stripping down to his swim trunks in 30 degree weather! 

Now OTHERS, like THESE GUYS pictured above, were just giddy to jump into the icy depths! Bragging rights or just crazy?  

The contest was judged, so the crazier the outfit (I saw Santa, a warrior, bride, a bunch of guys in onesies) the more points you received. Heck, I was just impressed they jumped!!  

Tip Up Town 2024 Schedule of Events

Tip Up Town offers so many things to do this winter!  There are events for kids, vendors, beer tent, music, snowmobile races, food trucks, and my personal favorite...the Polar Bear Plunge (or Dip). 

Friday, January 19, 2024

The Adult Beverage Tent opens 6 pm - 10 pm, 21 and older with live music.

Where: 2 blocks east of The Village

Saturday, January 20, 2024 - Tip Up Town Michigan Winter Festival

Saturday at the Village! 10:00 to 4:00 pm.

This is a great day to be at Tip Up Town! So many things to do. We highly recommend FREE parking at the High School with a bus that takes you to the event 11:30-4:30. That's what we like to do, anyway.  

10:00 am - 5k run beginning at the Tee Box Indoor Golf Parking Lot.

10:30 am is the GRAND PARADE (Parade Route: Tee Box Indoor Golf Parking Lot to Townline Rd. Via M-55)

The Adult Beverage Tent opens 12 pm - 6 pm, 21 and older with live music.

Beginning at 12:00 pm:

  • Opening ceremony and The Village opens
  • Carnival rides
  • Games on Main Stage
  • I'd Brap That SXS Races on the Lake
  • Wood Carving Demo
  • Family Fun Tent opens with live music, magician, face painting, more
  • Merchants tent, games, vendors
  • Fish Casting contest for children
  • Pony Rides
  • Petting Zoo

Noon-3:00 is Lyman's Ice Fishing Contest

4:00: The Village Closes

FIREWORKS will be at dusk on the Lake if the ice conditions allow it. Otherwise, fireworks will go off behind the Houghton Lake Schools.

Sunday, January 21, 2024 - Tip Up Town Winter Festival "Kid's Day!"

Sunday at the Village - KIDS DAY, 12:00 to 4:00 pm. 

Free Parking and transportation at the High School 11:30-4:30.

Beginning at Noon:

  • Opening ceremony and The Village opens
  • Carnival rides
  • Games on Main Stage
  • Wood Carving Demo
  • Family Fun Tent opens with live music, magician, face painting, more
  • Merchants tent, games, vendors
  • Fish Casting contest for children
  • Pony Rides
  • Petting Zoo

1:00: Triple D Ranch Bull Riding Rodeo

4:00: The Village Closes

Friday, January 26, 2024

The Adult Beverage Tent opens 6 pm - 10 pm, 21 and older with live music.

Saturday, January 27, 2024 - Tip Up Town Winter Festival 

Saturday at the Village 12:00 to 4:00 pm. It's POLAR DIP DAY! GREAT DAY TO GO!

Free Parking and transportation at the High School 11:30-4:30

11:00: Spicer's Boat city Poker Run. Register at the Family Fun Tent.

Fast Eddie's Snowmobile Drag Racing on the East Bay Noon to Dark! 

Beginning at Noon:

  • Carnival rides
  • Merchants tent, games, food vendors
  • Games on Main Stage
  • Family Fun Tent opens with live music, magician, face painting, more
  • Pony Rides
  • Petting Zoo
  • 12:00 - 3:00 Lyman's Fishing Contest Weigh In

1:00 pm: Polar Bear Dip!

2:00 pm: Pet Parlor's Tip Pup Town Doggy Show

4:00: The Village Closes

Stop by Tee Box Indoor Golf for the Sports Olympics! There will indoor golf, cornhole and basketball tournaments. 

What To Do At Tip Up Town in Houghton Lake, Michigan

Tip Up Town has lots of fun events for kids and adults!

  • Carnival Rides and Games
  • Fun for kids!
  • Polar Bear Plunge
  • Lots of Eating!
  • Snowmobile Races
  • Bon Fire to warm your hands
  • Shop in the heated apparel tent and vendors at the festival

Snowmobile Races Across the Frozen Lake 

You can watch the snowmobilers zipping along the frozen lake right at the festival and even venture out on the lake if you are brave!

But if you want to watch the racing up close, you will need to leave the festival site and drive east to the East Bay near the Dairy Queen in Prudenville.

What to Eat at Tip Up Town

Quite a few food trucks await you at the festival so you won't be hungry at this popular Michigan winter festival in northern Michigan!  Plus, there's snacks like bags of popcorn that we love!

What to Wear to Tip Up Town

  • Dress warmly, but if you wear a zip-up snowsuit it will be harder to maneuver in the port-a-john toilets located on the festival site. 
  • Kids might want to wear snow pants as the ice slide will soak fabric pants.  
  • I also recommend kids not wearing their best attire as the ice slide, pony rides and sitting on ice/snow may damage or soil new outer wear.
  • Wear boots!! Festival site can be wet, snowy and muddy.

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    Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "Travel-mi.com." A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

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