Manistee's Victorian Sleighbell Parade & Old Christmas Weekend

Photo by Josh Harrison on

December 2nd-5th, 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.

The Painted Lady
T.J.'s Pub

Highlights include:

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

Photo by Todd & Brad Reed Photography

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 places to stay in Manistee, and Manistee restaurants for your dining options.

And don’t forget to make time to visit the many downtown shops!

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, 1pm, 2pm, & 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
Nu 2 U Resale Shop
Christmas Trees AM Ad


  • 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

Stay tuned for details of the 2021 Victorian Sleighbell Parade & Old Christmas Weekend!

For more information on the Manistee Victorian Sleighbell Parade & Old Christmas Weekend, please contact the event organizer:

Manistee Downtown Development Authority  

(231) 398-3262