It’s only the first full weekend of June, but this may be the biggest weekend of the whole summer in Grand Rapids.
The fun starts Friday at noon with the opening of the 45th annual Festival of the Arts. This celebration of art, music and food takes over the entire downtown. Streets are closed. Tents and portable stages are brought in. There’s even a stage underneath Grand Rapids’ iconic Calder sculpture. There are music performances of nearly every imaginable genre, as well as dance, poetry readings, and theatre performances.
Festival of the Arts
Along with the performance art at Festival there are displays of painting, sculpture, and photography at various venues. There are also two tents where local artists sell their work. Festival is even a great place for kids, with many activities designed for the little ones, like the Paint-In, Glue-In and Chalk the Walk. And if you’re looking for food, look no further. In fact locals have been known to call this a food festival rather than an arts festival. 24 food booths serve everything from smoked turkey legs and chicken nachos to Lebanese shawarma and Australian pavola.
Festival runs from noon to 10:00 p.m. on June 6, 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on June 7, and 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on June 8. For more information and a map check out the Festival web site.
Local First Street Party
Also taking place on Saturday, June 7 is the Local First Street Party. Another downtown street gets blocked off and music plays from 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. This event is more adult oriented, although children are welcome. The focus is on local business, local food, and local adult beverages. This will be the 11th annual Street Party. Last year’s event drew over 10,000 people. Local bands and performers entertain as the guests stroll around eating from local food trucks and enjoying the offerings of Founders Brewing Company. Check out Local First’s web site for more info.
100 Grand Bicycle Tour
For the more athletic types, the 100 Grand Bicycle Tour takes place Saturday as well. The ride offers 17, 35, 65, 105, and 141 mile options. There is plenty of food along the route and SAG support. Sponsored by the Rapid Wheelmen Bicycle Club, this is the 2nd 40th Annual (that means 41st annual) 100 Grand Tour. On-site registration is available for every distance except the 141 mile route. The ride starts and ends at West Side Christian School and travels through some beautiful countryside. For more details on the ride check out the Rapid Wheelmen’s web site.