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The Festival of the Arts provides a variety of entertainment in Big Rapids

The third annual Festival of the Arts is currently enveloping Big Rapids and Ferris State University in a warm blanket of diverse artistic offerings. An eclectic mixture of art, theater, music, and literature is currently being presented in many different venues throughout the Big Rapids and Ferris community. The events will continue through out the month of February and when they use terms like eclectic and diverse, they really mean eclectic and diverse. Whether it’s “Big Wave” Dave Downs building a sand castle in the Big Rapids City Hall lobby or the “Children of the Holocaust” exhibit by Miriam Brysk at Artworks or M.L. Liebler doing a blues workshop and performing his poetry with his funky jazz band; the Festival of Arts is bringing the local community and the university together to entertain and enlighten everyone who cares to pay attention. As David l. Eisler, the President of FSU, put it “The only reason not to become excited is to not attend.” What is even more exciting is that most of the events are free.

One of the adventures scheduled over the next few days is Rick Plummer’s one-man drama celebrating the World War II correspondent, Ernie Pyle. This show is being held at Pepper’s Café and Deli at 7p.m. on Friday, February 5. But if your taste is more in a Nashville mode, then the songwriting couple, Tia Sillers and Mark Selby, are playing at the same time in the Ballroom of the Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center. Or maybe you would rather go to a movie – the film “Waking Ned Devine” will be playing at the Big Rapids Community Library at 7p.m. on Friday. Sometimes there are just too many choices!

An example of the eclectic nature of this festival would be the types of music available. At one end of the musical spectrum you could enjoy the Sweet Adelines Barbershop Singers performing on Saturday afternoon at Winks Arena. At the other end of the spectrum, you could be entertained by the world class jazz of Grammy-winning composer, singer and pianist John Proulx. He will be playing Sunday at the Blue Cow Café in downtown Big Rapids. And if harmonica based traditional music is more your style, then wait a week for another Grammy-winner - Peter “Madcat” Ruth. He will be doing a show with his band Madcap, Kane, and Maxwell Street for a small admission next Saturday at the G. Mennen Williams Auditorium. But the Festival of the Arts is not just music. There will be a poetry reading by Fred Marchant on February 8th at the Rankin Student Center on campus, an on-going exhibit of “The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss” at the Rankin Student Center Art Gallery, a presentation on “The Evolution of American House Styles” with Professor Joe Samson at the Comstock House (Wednesday at 7p.m.), a Stage-M production of “Sorry, Wrong Number” and “The Hitchhiker” at the Council Chambers in the Big Rapids City Hall (Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30), the film “After the Wedding” on Friday at the Big Rapids Community Library (Friday evening at 7), and that is just part of what will be available next week!

Remember that the festival lasts through the end of February so don’t make any travel plans to Mexico until later. The events being offered this year at the Festival of the Arts will without a doubt provide many opportunities to enjoy yourself and perhaps experience some things that you never considered before. For additional information call (231) 796-2420 or go to


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