There are a lot of summer music events to consider in our city, but none has been able to hit this level of cool as our GRandJazzFest
, a two-day festival that is celebrating eight years this weekend at Rosa Parks Circle. Presented by DTE Energy Foundation, the GRandJazzFest is West Michigan's only free, weekend-long jazz festival and provides our community an opportunity to hear renowned performers and up-and-coming talent. The event is family-friendly and includes for kids (and those kids at heart) a face-painting tent, plus a chance to learn how to play the guitar. The festival will ...
Each year the city is full of events that feature amazing cultures that inhabit our region, and one that is truly a favorite of mine is our annual greek festival, Yassou!
What makes Yassou! so wonderful is how many points of entry there are for those curious about Greek culture. For starters, there is the obvious and very obligatory food component of the festival. But rather than leave one in the dark about the mysteriousness and deliciousness of this cuisine, Yassou! offers two cooking classes so that one can begin their culinary journey into Greek food. For those curious about beverages, ...
There are not many weekends left to get away to the lakeshore and if you are growing tired of quiet, long afternoons at the beach, might we suggest you head to the final weekend of the annual Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival
And while this popular event has been running since last weekend, it is Saturday’s Meijer Grand Parade
that is truly the high point of the festival. With close to 100,000 people expected to attend this year, the streets of downtown Grand Haven will be alive with activity as this parade runs for two hours and includes marching bands, clowns, military units, local ...
Joining a long line of local music venues in our city from Eastown’s Billy’s to downtown’s Pyramid Scheme is newcomer Metro Grand Rapids
, which, after a series of soft openings, is celebrating its first full week of operations in Burton Heights. Over the last few years, a local DJ/promoter from our city’s dance music subculture has been quietly building a bridge to a full-service neighborhood-centered venue, where this very diverse and cultural-crossing musical art form could take root and emerge within our region. According to their website: “We’re ...
It is hard to believe that we are celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the WOTV 4 Women’s Maranda Park Party this year! What is especially powerful about this children’s party series is how Maranda has always sought to engage with our neighborhood’s kids as Maranda Park Party has inhabited many community spaces all around our city over its 25 years. After stops earlier this summer in Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Wyoming, Holland, and Muskegon, the 25th Anniversary of the Maranda Park Party comes to an end on Thursday, July 25 at Grand Rapids’ Garfield Park. Parents looking ...
Just three days ahead of his 78th birthday, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee (1997) George Clinton, along with Parliament Funkadelic, will be in Grand Rapids to blaze some stank up on the stage at 20 Monroe for his One Nation Under a Groove Tour
. This iconic performer, whose roots reach back to the early days of Motown, has since gone on to form his own projects as well as other acts whose music will light up the stage with fan-favorite classics like “Atomic Dog,” "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker),” “Flashlight,” and “One Nation Under ...
If you have lived long enough in Grand Rapids, then you know that locally we have seen every new yoga trend (LaughFest’s laughter yoga, hot yoga, wakeboard yoga, and high yoga) enter our market ever since Carolynn Heines of Eastown dared to open one of the very first yoga studios 40 years ago in our city. (Some folks back in the day used to think of it as a cult.)
Joining the long line of local yoga experiences comes Goat Yoga
held at Dorr To Eden, a naturopathy and animal-enhanced growth and learning center in the city of Dorr. Your instructors for this unique (and sure to be ...
It is hard to believe that it has been 19 years since I moved from the MLK neighborhood to Creston. And within these two decades, we have seen a lot of slow growth that is actually quite beautiful in so many ways. Part of the evolution began when a group of us local neighborhood artists via the Creston Neighborhood Association decided to adopt Creston to bring greater attention to the region and what it could offer our community members via our then-annual event, Christmas in Creston. We envisioned a vibrant neighborhood beyond the boarded-up windows and empty stores that made up our ...
There are many options for celebrating your Fourth of July holiday, but for locals, there is one clear favorite judging by the crowds that grow bigger and bigger each year: the annual Grand Rapids Fireworks presented by Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort.
Hosted on Saturday, July 6th (instead of Thursday, July 4th), Grand Rapids Fireworks is presented in 2019 by a new sponsor, the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort, and will feature many of the benefits folks have come to enjoy at our city’s annual family-friendly celebration. This year’s celebratory event of America’s birthday ...
It is hard to imagine Grand Rapids' Drag community without the incomparable Batty Davis in the mix.
Davis, who has been a favorite of our city since the very beginning of her career as she dominates pretty much every stage she walks on, will give a final farewell performance
at Rumors Nightclub on Sunday, June 30 at 10 p.m. She was also the first drag queen to ever appear on the mast of Rapid Growth! This final farewell event will see guest performances from local drag queens Gemma Stone, Jasinya Sanchez, Maria Za’Tease, Mocha Pronto, Lavender Larue, Astara Love, Selena Gonzales ...
We are really enjoying all the energy shifting to our city’s neighborhoods, and on Saturday at Roberto Clemente Park comes an exciting and festive community-building event.
On Saturday, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, in collaboration with the Grand Rapids Police Department and City of Grand Rapids Parks & Recreation Department, present Movies in the Neighborhood Park
and will be showing a free pop-up screening of the animated film “The Grinch” in this much-beloved Westside neighborhood park. Now if you are scratching your head about an outdoor screening of the holiday ...
The spirit of Loving Day is alive all over our city. But for locals who are not familiar, Loving Day is an open and affirming series of community-building events for multicultural, multiracial families, and their allies celebrated each year in honor of the landmark Supreme Court case of
Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage.
Our local Loving Day celebration is produced by the Ebony Road Players
who have continued their mission to continually expand our experiences with the context of what this Supreme Court ruling meant for our society. ...
The 2019 Rock The Block
is a beautiful, annual celebration carried out in the streets of Madison Square and invites Southtown neighbors and visitors to taste the area’s best street food, plenty of local talent, and a variety of community-focused vendors looking to connect you and your entire family to the goodness and opportunities of our region. (See their sponsor list to get an idea of that depth of experience waiting for you.)
This lively event, which is celebrating its ninth year, is produced by Linc Up
, a Grand Rapids-based community revitalization nonprofit whose mission is ...
It is hard to image that we are already at the 50th Anniversary of our local Festival of the Arts
. So many memories have been made by way of the arts but also via the many food booths and activities that appear to magically pop up all over the downtown starting the first Friday at noon of every June since 1969. The impetus for this annual community-centered event began the same year as the installation of Alexander Calder’s La Grande Vitesse in front of City Hall in downtown Grand Rapids. This 43-foot-tall, vibrant red stabile, which locals shortened to “The Calder,” ...
With Michigan’s growing season knocking on summer’s door, now is the time to consider ways to extend the beauty of our fresh, tasty peaches, strawberries, and plums long into the year via the art of jam making.
On Thursday, May 30, folks who want to extend the freshness of our summer long into the cooler winter months will want to attend this special Jam Making
class held at Creston's Lions & Rabbits and led by Cellar Door Preserves' owner and jam maker Zenobia. Keeping with all things local, this special one-night-only class will focus on using seasonal produce and ...
Summer is a great time to add a little extra something to your day. Why? Well, for starters, you are free from the burden of winter’s freezing grip as our days become filled with much-needed sunshine stretching long past 9 p.m. for the next few months. Why not add an activity to keep you under that glow?
For those seeking to amp up their summer activities, look no further than this Paddleboard Yoga
class on Reeds Lake. This weekly class seeks to blend all the balancing fun and prowess of paddleboarding with the mind-calming practice of yoga. This new sporting activity lasts 90 minutes ...
If you have been downtown this spring, then you have noticed a lot of those utility boxes scattered all over that suddenly got a facelift with many colorful portraits of women. This is in support of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.’s (DGRI) Rad Women project that was inspired by artist and author Kate Schatz’s "Rad American Women A-Z" book. To celebrate this event, DGRI, alongside with Grand Rapids Running Tours, present Rad Women Walking Tours — where those who show up for these free walking tours can learn about each of the Rad Women from A (Angela Davis) to Z (Zora ...
There is no shortage of Cinco De Mayo celebrations in our city, but this year there is one event that I am certain is going to be a hot ticket: the Cinco De Mayo Cumbia Dance Party held at MeXo, produced with MamboSi Entertainment. Sure, you could go to any one of the many pubs or bars offering a Cinco De Mayo celebration this weekend to eat tacos and wash it down with a tequila drink. However, MeXo has shown within its short time in our region to be a very serious business that is all about sharing the rich and delicious history of their tasty cuisine offerings in downtown Grand Rapids. And ...
Grand Rapids’ mayors have always called upon us to be better citizens, and in keeping with this tradition of civic engagement is Mayor Bliss’ annual Greening Initiative
, which is produced each year in partnership with our Mayor’s Office, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, and the City’s Forestry Department. Our mayor’s annual event seeks to engage our entire community as we seek to reach the ambitious goal of increasing our city’s tree canopy to 40%. Cities with a higher tree canopy percentage benefit tremendously from cooler temps in the summer and greater ...
In my lifetime I have been a part of a lot of history-making and ambitious events, from marches on Washington to even being a part of Hands Across America in the 1980s.
And on Saturday, April 27, more than 120 zoos from all over the nation are linking up to create the largest Earth Day celebration when Party for the Planet
debuts here at our John Ball Zoo. Activities are still being produced at press time for this Earth Day event, but as with past events at our local zoo, the folks at John Ball always have plenty for children as well as adults to enjoy on this special occasion when the world ...
The 2018 Westside Cleanup saw more than 600 volunteers come out for this annual community-building project spearheaded by the local Westside Collaborative
’s Jim Davis. And this year’s event is even bigger than ever as our neighborhood-focused westside nonprofit works with the John Ball Zoo, Blandford Nature Center, and Friends of Grand Rapids Parks to greatly expand this annual Westside Outside neighborhood clean-up event.
Folks looking to contribute to this annual clean up effort are encouraged to sign up at westsidecollaborative.org/westsideoutside.
As a person who has looked at the evolving but also emergent culture of our city, I can say without any reservation that our local Grand Rapids Latin American Film Festival
(GRLAFF) has been presenting films that expand beyond the themes of LatinX, exploring aspects of living as it relates to everything from modern love to societal shifts related to place. And this year it appears they are on their way to continue to evolve that mission to be more than just a series rooted in Latinx films. When GRLAFF arrives for their ninth series, they do so with a powerful, mission-driven series title of ...
In the realm of Broadway productions, before "the show can go on," it often needs to travel out of town to test the material.
And while our very own Vivacious Miss Audacious (a.k.a., Audria Larson) has appeared on nearly every stage in our city beta testing her various acts and individual artistic practice, on April 10 she debuts in Grand Rapids for the very first tine a new cabaret act that has already captured audiences all over the country except here.
But that changes when Luxotica Lounge Cabaret
makes a triumphant debut at The Pyramid Scheme. Luxotica Lounge Cabaret is a lush, ...
This city is full of lots of opportunities to join others in song. This is true whether one joins a band, a church choir, or any one of the many choral groups that are offered in this region.
In fact, the human voice in song is to many cultures one of the most beautiful aspects of being alive. There is just something very powerful about what happens when we all get on the same page in song.
Keeping that local tradition alive is a relatively new choral group, Justice Choir GR
. This choir has already been featured in Rapid Growth’s story, “Social Justice Choir puts GR's culture
While the headlines as of late have not been great for many on the gender spectrum, our local transgender community wants us to know that despite the news, our local community is thriving and finding support here in Grand Rapids.
This fact is worth celebrating, and so on the 10th anniversary of the international Transgender Day of Visibility
, commemorated around the world on March 31, they invite you to hear their stories at their annual Speak Your Truth open mic event. In the past, those attending have been treated to inspiring, first-hand storytelling from a diverse group of individuals ...
I know we sound like a broken record, but there is something unique in West Michigan where access and connections can easily produce collaborations in the pursuit of one’s creative dreams. Now as a preface, if fame and fortune is your career tracks focus, then, yeah, L.A. or New York will have advantages we cannot even touch. But if you want to find a place where people actually help each other out in the pursuit of a creative project, then this is where it can happen. Filmmaking is one creative area locally that continues to evolve through the ease of access to digital tools, as well as ...
There are many times when I will set out to try and distill via words why someone’s event is worth your time. This is never truer than when considering the event: Culinary Conversations Meetup featuring Chef Tunde Wey
. As I looked at the calendar with this event circled, I knew that I would have to cover the arrival of Tunde Wey, but I just wasn’t sure where to start as he defies so many definitions. Wey is truly a modern artist who works as a chef illuminating his love of food as a platform to shine a light on a multitude of racial injustices still prevalent in American culture. ...
It seems like only yesterday that we put ArtPrize 10 to bed for a two-year rest. (ArtPrize returns in 2020 to Grand Rapids.) But no worries since the off-year, new biennial program, Project X, will debut fall 2019.
This Thursday night special reveal party is just the first of many reveals to come for this brand new art event that is focused heavily on curation.
At the ArtPrize Hub, guests who attend this kick-off reveal of Project 1
(Fall 2019) will learn first who are the international, national, and local artists who will be creating works for their debut. And while you will learn the ...
As we move farther away from the river restoration and park creation launch event held at DeVos Place last year, many folks are beginning to turn their attention to all things related to the Grand River — the state’s longest running river and namesake to our city Grand Rapids. On Thursday, Grand Rapids Whitewater (GRWW), the group who has spearheaded the rapids restoration movement, will be presenting to the public registered to attend this special Libations & Learning event an update of the project’s current status. Libations & Learning is also a chance for those ...
There are plenty of ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Grand Rapids, from visiting any one of the Irish bars of our city for more traditional fare to joining folks in the street for the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. But another event of a different jig is also heading back into the streets for the state’s largest St. Patty’s celebration: Irish on Ionia. One part Irish Fest mixed with a hefty dose of EDM (electronic dance music), this annual street fair is a day-long endurance test if your goal is to make it from its 7 a.m. debut to its 10 p.m. closure. (No ...
On the last day of the 2019 LaughFest and barring any unusual, rapid body hair growth from Ali Wong (the festival’s closing act at DeVos Hall), People & Pets
will be the furriest event once again this year. Folks with pets (or those who simply love to be around them) are invited to the GRCC Ford Fieldhouse (111 Lyon St. NE) on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for this annual free event centered on the humor of our furry friends. People & Pets is a chance for furry friends and their owners to showcase how funny their pets truly can be. Folks who arrive early and register from 10:00 ...
Lions, tigers, and bears! Oh my!
After a long winter’s sleep, the animals of John Ball Zoo are ready to receive visitors as they take their first steps into the advancing oh-so-slowly warmer season is nigh.
So if you have run out of options with your kids who are undoubtedly climbing the walls for new adventures beyond museums and movie screens, then the opening of the 2019 season of our local and much beloved John Ball Zoo
is just for you. But our zookeepers remind us that not all animals are acclimated to our weather, so some animals might decide to stay inside a bit longer than ...
LaughFest has been many things over the years, but one of the pure pleasures, in my opinion, has been how willing they have been to embrace a wide array of avenues from which comedy can spring. This can include everything from their inspiring galas (signature event) to their embracing of the emerging artists who take non-traditional paths to each of our area stages. Some comics take to the stage as their sole path to their comic careers, but many more are emerging in the era of the standup via platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. One such act using modern platforms as a stage is ...
Women’s History Month has plenty of ways that one can celebrate its significance, but, damn, Girls Rock Grand Rapids (GR!GR) has defiantly raised the bar with the best and most epic event so far this month to commemorate this moment in time.
In honor of Women’s History Month, GR!GR along with downtown GR’s community player extraordinaire Vault of Midnight is thrilled to be hosting a special “Captain Marvel
” film premiere/fundraiser for GR!GR. Captain Marvel is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first female-led superhero film and stars Brie Larson as Carol ...
Most weeks, G-Sync Events feature events to fill your after-work hours with an escape from the grind of your day-to-day living. But for this week, we wanted to feature an inspiring event happening during your lunch hour that is sure to amp up your advocacy game with the many nonprofits that so many of our readers have indicated they proudly serve in our region. As one who has been an advocate for so many organizations since I arrived here many decades ago, the powerful importance of advocacy on behalf of our community’s many organizations has never been more important than right now. Our ...
You could spend the weekend scouring the web for access to the many short films nominated for Oscars this year and maybe eventually discover them. Or you could just visit the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art (UICA) and see all of the 2019 Academy Award nominees in one place. What makes this annual film series so important for locals is the chance to screen the 2019 Oscar-nominated shorts in the genres of animation, documentary, and live action. Specifically for filmmakers (or those thinking of becoming one), this opportunity creates an informal classroom as the best of contemporary cinema ...
We have all been there and if you haven’t yet, then it is just a matter of time before a relative passes and the uncomfortable divvying up of the deceased “stuff” commences.
As is typical in my experience over the years, kinfolk, normally sane, will go off the rails over the tiniest of objects left behind by the deceased.
This scenario is pretty much the setting of the newest production from Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids as they present the wildly funny and very dark comedy “Bad Jews
,” written by Joshua Harmon and directed by Tom Kaechele. “Bad Jews” ...
Over the years, LaughFest has invited the city to join them for a community-wide celebration of this popular festival devoted to the art of laughter. In the past, we have been treated to everything from rubber chicken tosses in an attempt to set a new world record, to restaurants serving up fried chicken, to community showcases rich with stand up comedy. For LaughFest’s ninth year kick off, they are (once again) inviting the community to join them at Rosa Parks Circle with a celebration of their opening day complete with family activities, engaging contests, and a chance to win free ...
Over the years we, as a city, have watched yoga culture go from something obscure that you could only get from folks like Carolyn Heines at her then-tiny basement Eastown studio, to the complete saturation of these facilities in converted storefront shops in nearly every neighborhood now. But what often keeps some folks from participating are the body issues that often can stop folks from taking their first steps in practicing this form of exercise and wellness. Lucky for us, Creston’s Flip Dog Yoga is offering a slow flow class that is centered on the welcoming all bodies regardless of ...
It is hard to imagine that after Swedish pop export Robyn dropped her iconic "Body Talk Pts. 1 & 2" (2010) that it would be another eight years before this dance floor diva with a knack for attracting a large international queer culture audience would release her newest release "Honey" in 2018.
And to celebrate her amazingly infectious dance floor-focused release, as well as pay to homage to the uber-popular New York “This Party Is Killing You
” dance parties held at the Brooklyn Bowl, comes Grand Rapids’ first Dancing Together - a Robyn Party hosted ...
This week’s G-Sync events have centered our focus on those beautiful, small-ish events that often go unnoticed.
One such event that pops up each year and in one of the unlikeliest of places, the Woodland Mall, is the return of the seventh annual Live African American Museum held Saturday, Feb. 23, from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Live African American Museum
is an education-forward focused interactive performance piece produced by congregation members of New Hope Baptist Church and showcases the stories of African Americans. With their lens ever-evolving, this year’s live show will ...
It is clear that our city’s annual Beer Month GR
is something worth celebrating as folks clamber for access to everything from impressive tap takeovers to the release of Beer City Brewer's Guild Tree Beer to the hard-to-get ticket to the Winter Beer Festival, which celebrates its 14th year.
But this year’s Beer Month GR has something truly special that captures our heart and it’s held at one of our favorite restaurants who continues to amaze us every time we visit: The Sovengard
. This year, in an attempt to continue to celebrate as well as educate our beer fans, The ...
Electronic music continues to rule the stages of our city as more and more acts continue to populate areas clubs, concert venues, and, most recently, WYCE’s Jammies Awards. On Thursday, Feb. 28, Bronze Wolf joins a list of local music electronic artists who have performed at the Grand Rapid Public Museum’s new-ish and wildly popular Concerts Under the Stars music series held at the Chaffee Planetarium. Bronze Wolf (led by Eric Tempelaere) is an exploratory dark-electronic pop project from this much-beloved vocalist, producer, and multi-instrumentalist whose music is ...
It seems that every generation has an item or three that defines them. For those boomers in your life, it is most likely connected to the Summer of Love and loads of drug culture experimentation. For Gen X, most likely our legacy is a string of contact work and a fascination with the film “Reality Bites.” But for the Millennials, they clearly own avocado toast, which in my opinion is quite delicious, and for Gen Z it will mostly be their every growing fascination with YouTube videos. If we have learned anything from the past, it is that experiences made in one’s youth often ...
There are many ways to celebrate Black History Month locally, from lectures to special guided tours, but by far the one event that is at the top of everyone’s list who seeks to honor African American history and culture is the Grand Rapids Public Library’s annual Taste of Soul Sunday
. This event often attracts a lot of folks who want to sample any one of the many culinary treats being served at the event, but it is so much more than that. Attendees at this free event will have a chance to listen to great music, learn more of Black history via storytellers and poets, and create ...
Valentine’s Day is nice … if buying expensive roses and eating a quiet meal with your special someone. But when you consider the unbelievable odds of a relationship making it these days, well, why bother, right? Well, maybe that came off as harsh or anti-love, but I’m just over a lifetime of hype about this day that gets more and more commercialized with each passing year. Lucky for singles and all others who often feel left out on February 14, a newish trend of anti-Valentine’s events are popping up all over the city. But none is going to be more interesting than Emo ...
This weekend you have a lot of options to consider if you want to visit downtown’s World of Winter Festival with a long list of activities, but the real winner is the chance to witness a crowd of folks spazzing out in the middle of Rosa Parks Circle. So if you are downtown on Friday night and you witness erratic dancing and (often) large groups of folks “sanging” one of your favorite dance tracks, then it is the World of Winter Festival’s Silent Disco. Silent discos are a unique way to experience live music curated from three different DJs who will be spinning all at ...
This city has plenty to offer when it comes to live music, but for those seeking events that defy definition, well, they are quite rare.
Lucky for those seeking uniqueness in entertainment comes the Maiden Michigan album release party with Hundo
as your host of this night of heavy metal music.
And lest you think the fun stops with the metal, then get ready because this night is also the debut of the Anti-Pageant Extravaganza at Creston Brewery.
This anti-pageant will award points based on actions, answers, and, of course, killer attitude awarded over two rounds. In addition to the ...
Recently over the holiday break, I discovered a crate of old VHS tapes from the late ‘80s and ‘90s. Not only was I shocked to uncover this treasure trove of motion images captured on magnetic tape, but as they unspooled on a screen in our basement, I roared with laughter at what I would discover.
This is experience is similar to what it is like to attend the touring Found Footage Festival,
which returns to the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts this Saturday night. The festival is a beautifully odd and downright laugh-out-loud hilarious time as hosts Nick Prueher and Joe ...
We have said it on many occasions in the past here at Rapid Growth, but with each passing year, Grand Rapids’ music scene continues to evolve into some new kind of wonderful.
Not only is our region becoming a draw for musicians, but also an attractant for folks who enjoy not just access to live music but such incredibly diverse musical styles available almost nightly on our scene.
And this year is another milestone for local musicians as it is the 20th Annual WYCE Jammie Awards
celebration at The Intersection. This night is a chance for fans of our community-sponsored and volunteer-DJ ...