Eastown is one of those neighborhoods that, for better or worse, has resisted being tamed as others have been. This is why it remains a much-desired place to venture when the lure of clean and pristine just won't touch that itch you want to scratch.
Each year for more than 40 years, the residents and small businesses of this community have taken to the streets to host one of the wildest party events the city has ever produced. And lest you think this is a place ready for a mid-life crisis at 41, think again.
This year, there are plenty of stages to enjoy any one of the 16 acts that will be sharing the spotlight all day, as favorite local acts like Jesse Ray and the Carolina Catfish, Asamu Johnson & the Associates of the Blues, Otis Blueswell Jr., the PotatoeBabies, Eastown Jazz Ensemble, King Crabapple, The Glendanles Brands, and Rick Chyme take to the outdoor stage.
For those who seek a more pub-centric experience (i.e. want to enjoy an adult beverage with their music), then Billy's stage is where you can get your fill of a craft brew like the wildly popular Perrin Brewing Grapefruit IPA – the 2014 beer of summer, in my opinion – while enjoying indie acts like the Bermudas, AB!, Sext Farm, Jes Kramer, Dean Martian, Flex.0, Imperial Sun Crushers, and Suport.
Even the food options are neighborhood-ific (not a word …I know), with offerings from Terra GR Restaurant, Eastown Cafe´, Chez Olga, plus other Grand Rapids small business food vendors like Love’s Ice Cream, Sandmann’s lip-smacking BBQ and the fusion-focused What the Truck from the Winchester making a stop by the event.
This volunteer-run event is a part of the Eastown Neighborhood Association's mission to produce a safe, diverse, and walkable neighborhood. That's something they have accomplished over the years by organizing their community members and local businesses and by creating opportunities for residents and those who visit as friends to engage and connect with this unique gem of a community.