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dbrok

Grand Rapids Festivals and Events

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Lately, I've come across or been presented with a number of ideas for festivals and events around town. It seems like there is always a huge demand for great events, and people turn out in droves to Festival of the Arts, Celebration on the Grand and the ethnic festivals held on Calder Plaza. When they're cancelled, usually there are many who are disappointed.

Are there events that should exist around the city, that currently don't? We did talk about having a large art festival in Grand Rapids. What other ideas are there? Should there be a Ribfest like in Kalamazoo? A film festival similar to Saugatuck's? More and varied ethnic festivals? Something more off the wall like a hot dog or pizza tasting competition?

By the way, I wonder if the members of UP would be interested in creating an idea for an event and then making it happen. Thoughts?

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Lately, I've come across or been presented with a number of ideas for festivals and events around town. It seems like there is always a huge demand for great events, and people turn out in droves to Festival of the Arts, Celebration on the Grand and the ethnic festivals held on Calder Plaza. When they're cancelled, usually there are many who are disappointed.

Are there events that should exist around the city, that currently don't? We did talk about having a large art festival in Grand Rapids. What other ideas are there? Should there be a Ribfest like in Kalamazoo? A film festival similar to Saugatuck's? More and varied ethnic festivals? Something more off the wall like a hot dog or pizza tasting competition?

By the way, I wonder if the members of UP would be interested in creating an idea for an event and then making it happen. Thoughts?

New Year's Eve. I've been a part of three different existing events: Ypsi's Jubilee, and the Birmingham and Port Huron First Nights. The idea is: it's something to do for those who aren't going to a restaurant or bar.

A local group contacts all the DT churches and arranges to use their social halls or basements. Simultaneously, performers get lined up. (The state humanities council has a huge list and throws funding that way. I'm not on it, yet.) Also, sponsors sponsors sponsors, who help print the programs and create the admission badges and pay performer fees.

Each venue is hosted by volunteers from the site. Typically there are a couple or three people who know their building and stay the evening.

The schedule typically begins about 6 pm, and it's a 5- or 7-ring circus with several different types of performances going on. Most last about an hour, but some hold court in their venue for a couple of hours. (When I've done this, we have three hours of contra & square dancing.)

In B'ham, they had a midnight celebration in a park. In PH, they offered fireworks at midnight. Ypsi had fireworks one year (perhaps more) and those kicked things off at 6 pm.

Admission fees are typically about $5/person, kids under 12 free, and that covers all events and performances.

edit: spelling, gotta maintain my standards!

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A local group contacts all the DT churches and arranges to use their social halls or basements. Simultaneously, performers get lined up. (The state humanities council has a huge list and throws funding that way. I'm not on it, yet.) Also, sponsors sponsors sponsors, who help print the programs and create the admission badges and pay performer fees.

Interesting...what kind of performers do they usually have?

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Something like this Linky

It combines my three favorite things.

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I wonder, too, if there are family event ideas. Talking with people who own businesses that work with kids, it seems like there is a major shortage of things for children to do. Last year at Celebration on the Grand, Saturn had a football game setup and another booth was giving out balloons. But that was about it for the kids; otherwise it was bands and food until the fireworks began. There were so many families down there though; it seems like there could be potential for something.

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Interesting...what kind of performers do they usually have?

http://www.newyearjubilee.com/ and firstnightintl.org

In Ypsi, lots of Ann Arbor performers in and around Depot Town and the historic area nearby. Madcat & Kane, George Bedard & the Kingpins (channels Buddy Holly), Matt Watroba, magician-comedians, O.J. Anderson (interactive funny performance), Raisin Pickers (all these folks have eponymous websites). Strolling clowns making balloon hats, static face-painting, make & take crafts. Cajun & Zydeco music & dance, contra dancing. Their logo includes a penguin; someone walks around wearing a rented costume. Organizers set up luminarias on the sidewalks leading to each venue. With the holiday lights still up and all the folks walking around, it's really cool.

Birmingham: similar line-up, with a puppet show, make & takes (one year kids were decorating plastic masks in my room; the dance sets looked like Jason Goes to Mardi Gras), classical small groups, contra dancing.

Pt Huron: um...my venue was too far away to drop by anyone else's!

There have also been First Nights

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Something like this Linky

It combines my three favorite things.

Or Kalamazoo's RIBFEST is very similar to that.

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Or Kalamazoo's RIBFEST is very similar to that.

thats what we need a RIBFEST.

Have a bunch of grills set up in RPC, fire em up and serve some RIBS

mmmmmm

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Veloise,

What a great suggestion! I think this type of event would be perfect for downtown GR. Nearly every New Year's Eve, I find myself watching the kiddo's of my extended family members, in lieu of going a bar or party, and every year they want something fun to do, but when you have kids ranging in age from 3-12...there's not much else to do on New Year's other than watch the ball drop. I think that having a community event like this could be a great opportunity for families in GR, and give many the option of spending New Year's with their kids, instead of leaving them at home with a babysitter.

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Veloise,

What a great suggestion! I think this type of event would be perfect for downtown GR. Nearly every New Year's Eve, I find myself watching the kiddo's of my extended family members, in lieu of going a bar or party, and every year they want something fun to do, but when you have kids ranging in age from 3-12...there's not much else to do on New Year's other than watch the ball drop. I think that having a community event like this could be a great opportunity for families in GR, and give many the option of spending New Year's with their kids, instead of leaving them at home with a babysitter.

FYI, I got to thinking...who could pull this off? So I rang up Ed Kettle.

He says he organized the Y2K celebration in VAI. We are meeting next week to discuss. (I have to dig out my old event programs for reference.) Anyone care to join us? PM me.

I'm good with ideas and brainstorming, but having lived here only two years, I don't know which HS have jazz bands or colleges have brass quartets or even how to reach the balloon guy who shows up at Cannonsburg. (I can get access to the list of performers for Festival.)

Have scoped out a few of the church halls near the Children's Museum, which already runs an Early NYEve party for their clientele. We could go from St Cece to the Ford museum, and from City Hall (?? no space there) to the Avenue of the Arts area on Division. (Gee, I wonder if they'd be interested in this event.) For the pending contra dance, I am calling dibs on Park Church's beautiful wood-floored social hall...or maybe I want that upstairs room at GRAM.

The coolest thing about an event like this: you aren't sitting in rows facing forward. You can do that for one show, but then walk to another one down the street. Plenty of chances to interact with others. And vendors of light-stick necklaces and such can have a field day.

Good links: http://www.newyearsfest.com/ http://www.firstnight.com/about/whatis.php http://www.firstnightph.org/

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FYI, I got to thinking...who could pull this off? So I rang up Ed Kettle.

He says he organized the Y2K celebration in VAI. We are meeting next week to discuss.

I like your enthusiasm. :yahoo:

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FYI, I got to thinking...who could pull this off? So I rang up Ed Kettle.

He says he organized the Y2K celebration in VAI. We are meeting next week to discuss. (I have to dig out my old event programs for reference.) Anyone care to join us? PM me.

I'm good with ideas and brainstorming, but having lived here only two years, I don't know which HS have jazz bands or colleges have brass quartets or even how to reach the balloon guy who shows up at Cannonsburg. (I can get access to the list of performers for Festival.)

.........

they could have the weather ball drop!!!! and make sure there is alot of booze to keep warm with :thumbsup:

p.s. if this were the case it would be AWESOME ( our own times square!!!)

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hahaha, that actually WOULD be pretty cool... although I think the best idea would have to involve the river in some fashion. In order to do the weatherball thing, it would need to be brought back to GR. Let's not have a new year's celebration at Alpine & I96.

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hahaha, that actually WOULD be pretty cool... although I think the best idea would have to involve the river in some fashion. In order to do the weatherball thing, it would need to be brought back to GR. Let's not have a new year's celebration at Alpine & I96.

Hahahahaha. Check out that thread with the Blinky weatherball mascot, who is wandering around Monroe & Monroe Ctr (not the mall with the Target/Taco Bell/Hobby Lobby/shuttered Cracker Barrel).

At B'ham, they had a midnight celebration in Shain Park, and in 2001 and 2002 I got to help lead it. (For some reason I was told to lead singing of "God Bless America.") It was really fun to be in a huge group of people counting down.

(I have a folk version of Auld Lang Syne, and made 'em DANCE!!)

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Ideas for new festivals and events?

How about a fund raising festival to raise money for the ethnic festivals that keep getting canceled because of a lack of money?

How about a festival or workshop to teach these people how to raise money?

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Ideas for new festivals and events?

How about a fund raising festival to raise money for the ethnic festivals that keep getting canceled because of a lack of money?

How about a festival or workshop to teach these people how to raise money?

Grants workshops.

I bet there are plenty of local companies who would love to be seen as the saviour of [ethnicity] festival.

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After getting a lack of enthusiasm from the critical DT churches needed to pull off an event such as this, Ed and Josh and I tabled it "for want of a second." And I was talking with some fellow Fountain Streeters (who happen to be long-timers and directors there) about the notion of a DT "Grand Finale." This was in, oh, October, perhaps earlier.

Today one of said director types ask, "do you want to help on First Night here in GR?"

Guess what I told her.

There is a reason I spent Dec 31 in Kzoo traipsing from venue to venue and taking pics, interviewing the church groups selling refreshments (one invested $500 and netted $1500 for the evening), talking to various honchos and volunteer chairs...saved all my program hand-outs too.

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