Thanksgiving In Michigan: A MapQuest Guide

10/27/2011 02:44 pm ET | Updated Dec 27, 2011
  • Don Amerman MapQuest

Thanksgiving in Michigan is a time for gathering with family and loved ones, expressing gratitude and, of course, eating. As part of TurkeyQuest -- a MapQuest guide to Thanksgiving events, featuring everything from parades to holiday sales to activities for families -- here are two of the best ways to experience Thanksgiving in Michigan and one opportunity to give back to others.

Michigan Thanksgiving Events Map

International Festival Of Lights

Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second-largest city, ushers in the fall and winter holidays with its International Festival of Lights, which kicks off just before Thanksgiving and runs from mid-November through the end of December. The festival begins with a parade through the streets of downtown Grand Rapids. “Millions of sparkling lights” – all LED to conserve energy – illuminate homes, businesses and government buildings throughout the city every night of the festival. One of the annual event’s central attractions is the “Twelve Days of Christmas” lighting display on the back lawn of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The parade and lighting displays are free to the public. Other activities scheduled during the six-week festival include an ice-carving exhibition and a gingerbread-baking competition.

171 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot

Ann Arbor’s annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot is a 5K event that is run over the tree-lined roadways of the University of Michigan’s North Campus. Set to begin early Thanksgiving morning, the race starts and finishes at the North Campus Recreational Center. Kids are welcome, and parents can take them on the run in strollers if they so desire. Post-Turkey Trot events at the rec center include an awards ceremony for winners in individual age divisions and a chance for kids of all ages to meet Santa, who’ll be on hand for the festivities. Light refreshments, including coffee, hot chocolate, tea, energy bars, bananas, cookies and granola bars, will be served in the center after the race. Registration for Turkey Trot participants is $25 through Tuesday of race week and $30 on Wednesday and Thursday of race week.

2375 Hubbard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Volunteer: Food Bank Council Of Michigan

Representing regional food banks throughout the Great Lakes State, the Food Bank Council of Michigan is always in need of people who are willing to give their time and money to help feed the state’s hungry. For those who have time to support the council’s efforts, volunteers are needed to solicit food donations, sort through donated goods, pack pantry bags and serve meals. They can also organize and hold local food drives to collect much-needed foodstuffs. Those who can’t spare the time can help out with a donation to the council. Visit the council’s website to be directed to the nearest food bank.

501 N. Walnut St., Lansing, MI 48933 | Go to Huffington Post Impact to see how else you can volunteer.

Thanksgiving In Michigan: Video

Ann Arbor's annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot crisscrosses the scenic North Campus of the University of Michigan.

Did we miss a Michigan Thanksgiving event? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Want other great Thanksgiving events and volunteering opportunities? Check out TurkeyQuest and our coverage in Wisconsin, Detroit and Illinois.

Interested in more stories about Michigan? Go to Patch and scroll the list of states to get great local coverage of your neighborhood.