A young girl gets her face painted during the fair last year.

A young girl gets her face painted during the fair last year.

Photo provided by John Batdorf


Holiday Heritage Faire offers alternative to holiday stress

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published November 18, 2019

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A local holiday fair is offering the community an alternative to long lines and spending big bucks.

MI Green Team is hosting its second annual Holiday Heritage Faire as an option to spend time with family, rather than the stress that comes along during Black Friday and the Thanksgiving weekend.

The fair will be held from 4 to 9 p.m Black Friday and Saturday, Nov. 29-30, at the Packard Proving Grounds Historic Site, located at 49965 Van Dyke Ave. in Shelby Township.

“We’re having a celebration of holiday traditions that we wish we had available when we were kids,” John Batdorf, the general and events manager of MI Green Team L3C, said in an email.

The Holiday Heritage Faire is a celebration of Christmas traditions and includes a Michigan-made gift marketplace.

“Since the Packard Proving Grounds Historic Site is all about all things vintage and retro, we’re thrilled to host this event again this year. It’s wonderful to see it grow into a two-day event, and it’s a great way to kick off the holiday season,” Mary Anne Demo, the events coordinator at the Packard Proving Grounds Historic Site, said in an email.

The event will feature indoor and outdoor activities, including visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, historical building and vehicle tours, a lights display with an animated light show, Christmas music, marshmallow and chestnut roasting, decorated Christmas cars and more.

Michigan-based artisans and vendors will offer hundreds of custom-made gifts and products for sale. Christmas trees also will be for sale.

A horse-drawn wagon will give rides through a lighted tunnel during the event.

“We’re especially excited about the 300-foot tunnel of light that will be placed in one of the tree-lined boulevards. It seems like it will be something really special that families might want to add to their holiday traditions,” Demo said.

Batdorf said that the light tunnel is a new addition to the event, and it should be a hit.

“The lights will be a major draw this year, especially the light show, and decorations set against the large and beautiful setting. The light tunnels will be fun to ride and walk under,” Batdorf said.

Demo said the horses from last year will be back, and they are a sight to see during the winter season.

“The Pinecrest Percheron horses will be back again this year. Before last year’s Holiday Heritage Faire, we had them visit the site to celebrate a couple’s 50th wedding anniversary. He was into cars and she was into horses, so they got to have both at the PPG. It was an early snow that year, and watching the beautiful Percheron horses and listening to them clomping down the boulevard in the quiet of the falling snow was almost magical,” she said.

Batdorf said that last year’s fair had a pretty good turnout for a first-time event.

“It was great start, with lots of activities and a small gift market, but less than 500 attending the one-day event. We already have more tickets sold than last year’s attendance. We expect to sell out of ride tickets before the event,” he said.

He also said that the event will be an option to either replace the stress of holiday shopping, or it will act as a complement to Black Friday shopping, since it will take place in the evenings.

“Avoid busy malls, pushy shoppers and stressed employees,” he said.

Food and drink options will be available for purchase during the event.

A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Packard Proving Grounds Foundation for maintaining and improving the property.

Parking and admission to the event costs $20 per family or group arriving together in one passenger vehicle. Wagon rides will cost $5 each.

MI Green Team offers a variety of events, from educational seminars to community festivals.

For more information on the event, visit www.HHF19.com.