This post is sponsored by the Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College.

It’s February, and Southwest Michigan’s Festival Season is still months away.

Or…is it?

What if you could have the full experience of a multi-act music festival, complete with a beer, wine and food tent, plus an artisan maker’s market: without experiencing the cold temperatures, snow, or sleet? 

Well, you can! 2020 is a Leap Year, which means we get a bonus day, February 29 – and this year, you should spend it at the most exciting party of the winter: the Winter Delights Festival at Mendel Center. 

This long-standing favorite is bigger and better than ever this (leap) year, with four musical acts on two stages, and much more. The fun kicks off on Saturday, February 29 at 1 pm, and you won’t want to miss it. 

This year’s Festival takes over two venues inside the Mendel Center:

Mendel Mainstage Acts:

The Reminders – 4 pm
Kicking off the Mainstage show are The Reminders: a remarkable duo that infuses soulful sound and roots music with insightful messages and thoughtful lyrics. The group consists of Brussels-born emcee Big Samir and Queens-born emcee/ vocalist Aja Black.

JigJam – 6 pm
You won’t be able to resist JigJam, a multi-award-winning quartet from the heart of the midlands in Ireland. Their kicky, Buegrass/Americana sound blends to create an all-new genre that’s branded as ‘I-Grass’ (Irish-influenced Bluegrass). Big energy mixes with world-class musical chops to captivate audiences throughout the world, and now in Michigan’s Sunset Coast. 

Six Appeal Vocal Band – 8 pm
Ending the night on a high note, this world-renowned act combines serious musical prowess with sharp comedic timing, plus high-octane rock band energy. This award-winning a capella group will take you on a journey that spans multiple decades and genres of music, from classic hits to current chart toppers and catchy original tunes – using only their vocals.

Grand Upton Hall Headliner: 

Bryan Lubeck – 5:30 pm
Lubeck blends high-energy, fiery Spanish guitar with smooth urban grooves to create the signature sound that’s a hallmark of his live shows. Lubeck has been named a Critic’s Choice by Billboard Magazine, has recorded with five Grammy Award winners and performed with 12 Grammy Award nominees and winners. His latest album, Tuscan Sky, has spent more than 14 weeks on the various adult contemporary instrumental charts.

In addition to this amazing lineup: 

  • The Taste Faire will be held inside the newly-renovated Grand Upton Hall, featuring dozens of Michigan craft beer, wine, and cider makers as well as culinary creations from local dining establishments, and live entertainment from 1 pm to 8 pm featuring headliner Bryan Lubeck and other local music artists. 
  • And adding to the festival atmosphere, the Mendel Center corridors will be transformed into a makers market, where artisans will sell unique, high-quality handcrafted wares to festival-goers. 

All-access passes are $50 in advance and $60 the day of the event. Taste Faire and Mainstage passes are each $30 in advance and $35 the day of the event. $20 designated driver tickets are available for the Taste Faire. Stay safe and sign up for this amazing and cost-effective option!

All-access festival passes include:

  • Grand Upton Hall Taste Faire with $10 in beer, wine, and cider tastes
  • The entire Mainstage concert lineup described above, plus food and beverage booths in the surrounding lobbies.
  • Pop-up makers market featuring the work of up to 20 local artisans.

The Mainstage concert lineup is an all-ages event; Taste Faire attendees must be 21 or older. 

Don’t wait! Buy your passes for the Winter Delights Festival at The Mendel Center’s website (or through the box office at (269) 927-8700, option 1). You can also stop in at the Box Office, weekdays from 10 am to 6 pm in the Grand Upton Hall lobby of The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College, 2755 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI.

We’ll be back soon with more details about the food vendors and artisans that will make up the rest of the Winter Delights experience.

The Winter Delights Festival is sponsored by The Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council, 98.3 The Coast, and The Boulevard Inn & Bistro. The event is supported by The Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs.


Meagan Francis