Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bingo Night at The Little Fleet

Who says that Monday nights in northern Michigan are boring? If you know where to go to scope out a good time, it's hard to be bored in Traverse City at any time of the year. There are lots of great businesses, organizations, and clubs out there insuring that life is never dull in our town.

Point and case: Monday night Bingo at The Little Fleet. My husband and I are taking turns surprising one another with a date night every month. Ever since I learned about The Little Fleet's Bingo nights, I knew I had to take Sam!love Bingo. It's casual, fun, and completely based on luck: my lack of gambling skills have no weight in my likeliness to win, which is a major bonus for me. When you add in a fantastic hangout like The Little Fleet and some great booze, it's a recipe for a great night.

The Little Fleet is one of my absolute favorite places to visit in the summer, but after spending a relaxing Monday night there for Bingo won my heart for a fun winter locale, too. It's hip, laid-back, and well designed. The atmosphere helps me release the tension in my shoulders after a long workday, and being in the presence of all their happy customers never ceases to put a smile on my face. Life slows down at The Little Fleet, and all the good things in the world float to the top: that's the kind of place I like to be.

In the summer, The Little Fleet hosts food trucks in their parking lot. Since it's winter, the food trucks aren't running but guests are still welcomed to bring food in to accompany the Fleet's awesome drink menu. We decided to pair our drinks with some pizza from Paesano's across the street, and I dare say it was a match made in (carb-loaded) heaven. (Yes, pictures of food never really look that great, but trust me when I say the pizza was DEE-LISH.)

We played a few rounds of Bingo, and the place starting filling up as the night went on. Admittedly, I never really knew there was such a vibrant after-10 p.m. crowd roaming around in February up here, so it was a pleasant surprise to see people out and about during what many claim to be a "miserable" time of year. Joy follows optimism!

Of course, we may be a bit biased about how awesome Bingo night was...because Sam won the second round of Bingo! When we finally left, we had full bells, happy hearts, and a sweet new Rubik's Cube koozie. In my opinion, that's always a win.

So, next time you're feeling down-and-out about the cold weather, visit The Little Fleet for their weekly Bingo nights (every Monday at 8 p.m.). I promise it'll warm you up and make Spring seem so much closer!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Recap: Winter Comedy Arts Festival

This past weekend was the Traverse City Winter Comedy Arts Festival, and I've never seen our little downtown so populated in the winter! This was the festival's fourth year, and it was an incredible success. Streets were closed downtown to make way for all sorts of wonderful activities--a full ice bar, a ferris wheel, ice skating rink, massive sledding hill, zip line, nearly a hundred ice sculptures--and the entire weekend was a BLAST. There were kids, grandparents, dogs, babies pulled in sleds...and everyone was bundled up in layer upon layer of winter gear to keep warm. But, with all the fun going on downtown, I doubt too many people were paying attention to the cold.

The festival consists of two main parts: free events on Front Street, and an impressive line-up of comedians from all across the country. Comedians this year included some big names: Rosie O'Donnell, Fred Willard, Michael Ian Black, Tig Notaro (my new favorite comedian), Tim Meadows, Stephen Lynch, and many other hilarious up-and-comers. Now that we're halfway through February (and hopefully halfway through our winter), this town really needed some laughter to warm us up. The festival definitely delivered!

My husband and I dedicated our Friday night and entire day on Saturday to manage the concessions stand at the City Opera House. We love volunteering at the Opera House for the Film Festival, and the Comedy Festival holds an equally-fond place in our hearts. People come to the Comedy Festival to have a good time, and volunteering helps us contribute to that good time and make it even better. Plus, if we're lucky, we get to catch the shows! I was thrilled to get the opportunity to catch Michael Ian Black...he has been a long-time favorite of mine, and his stand-up act was hilarious.

The other great perk to volunteering is working with a fantastic crew. All the volunteers that put the festival together work hard and help make it such an impressive event. We always end a festival with new friends of all ages, and with fond memories of our volunteering experience. If you volunteered for the festival this year, thank you!

Unfortunately for my hubby and I, volunteering full-time as managers means that we don't get the opportunity to check out all the awesome activities on Front Street until Sunday, but there was plenty going on downtown the whole weekend. The ferris wheel is always a favorite of mine during the festival. How crazy are we Michiganders for wanting to ride a ferris wheel in winter?! We did miss out on playing the frozen putt-putt course and riding the zip line, which was sad. However, the zip line ran right outside the City Opera House, so we were able to watch kids and adults ride on it all day long...pretty awesome.

That's what I love about this town: we have some weird and crazy things going on all throughout the year, and it keeps life exciting no matter what the season. There are a lot of things I know I wouldn't get the chance to experience if TC didn't allow so many different activities and events to take place in our town, and for that I am very thankful. I can't wait to see what incredible winter adventures we'll experience before summer comes!