‘Tis the Season for Celebrating in Oakland County

Tree lighting festival

Can you feel the excitement and anticipation in the air? The holiday season is officially here and we’re thrilled to share our list of holiday events happening in Oakland County. There are so many ways to delight in the magic of the season during this special time of year.

View our list of Holiday Happenings. You’ll find everything from parades and seasonal excursions to performances, holiday markets, and craft fairs. Kids, young and old, are sure to have a jolly time!

Bundle up and have a blast this holiday season in Oakland County! Please check event websites for dates and times. Some events are one day only and others are on weekends only.

Do you know of any other Holiday Happenings in and around the Oakland County area? Let us know about them by contacting us at socialmedia@oakgov.com or leaving a comment below.

Visit the Oakland County website, and follow along with us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest for more news and fun year round. Join the conversation using #OaklandCounty.

Be Thankful – Opt Outside!

lake with some snow on it with snow-covered trees on the shore


Fall and winter hiking is an exhilarating experience, especially after a blanket of fresh snow. Don’t let the chilly weather hold you back; unless perhaps you are visiting snowbound Buffalo. The important thing is to be thankful that you have the opportunity to “Opt OutSide.” Make the day after Thanksgiving, a day to embrace the concept of Opt Outside! I’ll be out there too, not long after sunrise. I might even have a turkey sandwich stashed in my day pack along with a mug of hot cocoa.

The #OptOutside movement was started in 2015 by the outdoor retail company REI. The basic meaning of Opt Outside is to enjoy the outdoors on Black Friday instead of a crowded shopping frenzy. Since 2015, REI has closed its doors on Black Friday—inviting employees and members to spend time outside rather than shopping. This year, REI just announced their Opt Outside movement will be permanent for all their employees.

Many other retailers have joined a similar movement to close their doors on Thanksgiving Day to encourage employees and early bird shoppers to stay at home with their loved ones. In addition, Oakland County Parks and Recreation also hosts one of their Park Appreciation Days on Thanksgiving, when visitors can enjoy free daily park entry with access to natural areas, trails, playgrounds, dog parks and all park amenities.

There are plenty of adventures on the wilder side of Oakland County this season, whether you are taking advantage of Oakland County Parks Appreciation Day on Thursday, or Opting Outside on Friday (or both)!

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A Cold Weather Secret of Painted Turtles


It has been said that October was the big spender, with the paycheck going to bird migrations, fantastic tree colors, and the fluff of milkweed pods floating freely in the wind. It was also the perfect weather for Painted Turtles to bask in sunlight, and that’s what they were doing. Some of them were even perfectly positioned to be captured by my camera, others coated with duckweed, slipped back into the water with barely a splash at my not-so-stealthy approach.

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Oakland Transit Millage: Maintain & Expand Local Transit Service

Photo of people getting on SMART bus with graphic that reads "Oakland Transit - All ways, Moving Forward" and "Vote Nov. 8"

On Nov. 8, 2022, voters will be asked to consider a 10-year, .95 mill measure to maintain and expand public transit services, connecting people and communities across Oakland County. The Oakland Transit millage will expand and maintain existing public transit services, including transportation provided by the SMART bus system, Western Oakland Transportation Authority, North Oakland Transportation Authority and Older Persons Commission in the Rochester area.

The millage funds new service to key areas, including major employment centers, health care campuses and local colleges and universities.

Photo of someone getting on a bus with a graphic that reads "Connecting Oakland County Essential Workers to their Jobs" Bullet point list: Healthcare, childcare, food service, retail

The millage will expand reservation-based service – flexible transportation for seniors, people with disabilities, and veterans who need to make essential trips, such as doctor’s appointments and grocery shopping.

Waterford Senior Center Coordinator Erin Asdell talks about the importance of access to public transportation:

“When you say ‘I don’t need a bus, I have a car,’ what about your neighbor? What about your family member? What about your mother, your grandmother? How are they getting to medical appointments? Who is helping them? WOTA has just been such a wonderful solution in our community.”

-Waterford Senior Center Coordinator Erin Asdell

The millage will expand app-based service – on-demand transportation open to the general public, using small vehicles.

Funds from the millage will support services that specifically benefit Oakland County residents and businesses.

Local service details will be developed collaboratively with members of the public, community organizations, transit providers, local governments and county leadership.

Public transit user Nizam Ifaz shares why he rides the bus instead of using his car:

“The reason I still use public transportation even though I have a car is because sometimes it is a lot easier to avoid parking when you use a bus to get there. Also, a lot of times you can save a lot of gas and money. The best thing that I like about riding the bus is during the winter time, when I would have to walk somewhere, I could use the bus, and it protects me from the weather. It’s just a comfy place where I can do homework or listen to my class lectures while I’m going to my destination.”

-Public Transit User Nizam Ifaz

Public transit user Alexander Selsley talks about why he enjoys riding the bus:

“My favorite thing about riding the bus, if I had to pick one thing, which is actually kind of hard, is meeting people and finding out about things. We live in a really cool city with a lot of interesting people, and I’ve had some great interactions with random people on the bus, and I’ve learned about some interesting events that I’ve ended up going to.”

-Public Transit User Alexander Selsley

The .95 rate will cost the owner of a home or business valued at $200,000 (taxable value of $100,000) about $9 a month.

Funds from the millage will be fully transparent, annually audited and will support transit services that specifically benefit Oakland County residents and businesses.

To learn more about the Oakland Transit Millage, go to oakgov.com/oaklandtransit.

Follow along with Oakland County on FacebookInstagramLinkedInPinterest, Twitter, and YouTube using #OaklandCounty, or visit our website for news and events year-round.