Christmas Boat
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Have You Seen This Christmas Tree Boat in Northern Michigan?

Northern Michigan’s cherished Christmas Tree boat, a beacon of holiday spirit, has returned to Big Glen Lake, now adorned with a stunning 3,000 lights. This festive tradition, initiated about eight years ago, was born from a desire to bring light and joy to the community during the quieter, colder months.

Christmas Boat-Glen Arbor
Christmas Boat | photo via Gabe Leidy Photography

The Christmas tree boat can be viewed from the M-22 causeway that separates Big Glen Lake & Little Glen Lake near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Glen Arbor’s Christmas Tree Boat

Frank Siepker Jr., the man behind this delightful project, balances his role as the engineering and operations manager at Cherryland Electric Cooperative with his passion for the Christmas Tree boat.

The tree, a 12-foot tall natural beauty, is securely placed in a 14-foot Mirrorcraft fishing boat from 1985, which holds sentimental value for Siepker as his first childhood boat.

Innovatively powered, the boat cannot rely on a simple extension cord for its illumination. Instead, it uses a combination of solar panels and batteries, making it a self-sufficient spectacle on the lake.

Launched just south of Glen Arbor in Big Glen, the boat is a floating marvel, visible from the causeway where the M-22 bridge connects Big Glen and Little Glen Lakes.

The lighting of the tree is a family affair, with Siepker’s children actively participating in the decorating process. They help with stringing the lights, which include a thousand LEDs for the tree and several hundred more for the boat’s perimeter. The community’s anticipation and enjoyment of this annual display are palpable, with many looking forward to its arrival each year.

Siepker continues this tradition for his family, the Christmas spirit, and the Northern Michigan community, for whom the Christmas Tree boat has become an iconic symbol of the holiday season. This floating display of lights is not just a festive decoration but a beacon of community spirit and joy in the heart of Northern Michigan.

video courtesy UpNorthLive

More Christmas Lights Near Glen Lake

In addition to the Christmas Tree boat, Northern Michigan boasts several other festive light displays:

  • Herman Holidays on Murray Ct, Suttons Bay: The Herman family’s property features a walk-through Christmas light display.
  • Hammond and Five Mile Christmas Light Show, Traverse City: Terry Ulman’s home dazzles with a synchronized light show of over 15,000 lights, including pyrotechnics, running from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

These attractions add to the holiday magic in the region, each offering a unique and joyful experience.

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