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The 2007 year in preview

By Christine Foust

As American poet Edith Lovejoy Pierce suggests, a new year presents new possibilities, new activities and new stories.

Grand Rapids is a city rich with world-class organizations providing a wide range of arts, entertainment, sports, community, consumer and charitable events for the enjoyment and benefit of this growing and changing city. The 2007 Preview provides a guide for what these organizations have to offer month after month.

As this calendar lists events many months away, some information is not yet available or confirmed. Check GR Magazine’s monthly calendars for additions and updates on times and locations. The Web sites of the organizations also have more information.

So, take the opportunity — grab a highlighter, and turn the page!

The Grand Rapids Griffins, primary affiliate to the Detroit Red Wings, continue their 2006-2007 season through April, featuring “Rockin’ the Rink,” highlighted by celebrities from television, professional sports and music groups providing entertainment at each game.

The One Book, One County program runs through the end of March, reading “Rocket Boys” by Homer Hickam, a memoir of a man from a small Kentucky community who goes into space. Book discussion groups are held at Kent District Library branches; other sponsors are Grand Rapids Public Library and Schuler Books & Music. The author will speak at Forest Hills Fine Arts Center 7 p.m. March 29. or

Slavery On Trial: The Long Road to Freedom, an exhibit that examines the narrative of slavery in America, continues at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum through April 29.

Grand Rapids Rampage Arena Football 10th anniversary season runs from Jan. 29-May 13. The home opener against the Tampa Bay Storm is Feb. 3. All home games are at Van Andel Arena.

Jan. 2-7: “Doubt,” winner of the 2005 Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize and starring Cherry Jones, is presented by Broadway Theatre Guild at DeVos Performance Hall.

Jan 3-23: Calvin College January Series, a free award-winning lecture series, features scholars, musical artists, human rights activists, storytellers and media experts from around the globe. 12:30-1:30 p.m. weekdays, Calvin Fine Arts Center.

Jan. 11-27: “Leading Ladies,” presented by the GR Civic Theatre, is a comedy about two Shakespearean actors who pose as the nieces of a dying woman in order to inherit her fortune.

Jan. 12-13: “Showstoppers,” part of Grand Rapids Symphony’s Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series, features the music of Moncayo, Gershwin and Rachmaninoff at DeVos Performance Hall.

Jan. 12-13: Pianist Jon Kimura Parker performs Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F Major with the GR Symphony.

Jan. 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Community Peace March is a Grand Rapids Community College-sponsored walk that begins at noon at Ford Fieldhouse and proceeds to Fountain Street Church.

Jan. 18-21: “Mistletoe” is part of Grand Rapids Ballet Company’s intimate Dancers’ Theatre Series. It is set to lively Celtic music and filled with romance and light-hearted humor.

Jan. 18-21: Camper, Travel & RV Show takes place at DeVos Place.

Jan. 19-21: “American Jazz Classics” with the Side Street Strutters is part of GR Symphony’s Fox Motors Pops Series, featuring the music of Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington.

Jan. 23: Art Garfunkel performs at Forest Hills Fine Arts Center.

Jan. 23: The 119th Annual Meeting of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce features keynote speaker Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. 771-0338 for information.

Jan. 25-Feb. 3: “Bach at Leipzig,” the brainy, comic farce of wordplay and wit by Itamar Moses, is presented by Actors Theatre.

Jan. 26: The Ahn Trio, internationally acclaimed sisters who specialize in piano, violin and cello, returns to Holland as part of Hope College’s Great Performance Series.

Jan. 28: The Harlem Globetrotters 2007 “Nothing Like It” Tour appears at Van Andel Arena.

Jan. 29: Soup’s On For All raises money for God’s Kitchen at The BOB from 6-9:30 p.m. and includes live music. 454-4110 or

Feb. 1-4: The Home Expo, hosted by the Home and Building Association of Greater GR, brings together building professionals involved in all aspects of home care and development to exhibit new and specialized products at The DeltaPlex.

Feb. 1-4: 9th Annual Michigan International Auto Show at DeVos Place features hundreds of the latest models of cars, trucks, vans, SUVs and sports cars.

Feb. 2: Go Red For Women features educational sessions about reducing heart disease and stroke, followed by lunch with keynote speaker Julia Fox Garrison, and a silent auction, at Prince Conference Center, Calvin College. 285-1888 or

Feb. 8: The David Sanborn Group brings saxophone blues and jazz to Forest Hills Fine Arts Center.

Feb. 8-9: “Incredible Acrobats of China — The New Shanghai Circus” comes to Van Singel Fine Arts Center following a highly acclaimed Broadway run.

Feb. 9-10: Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette,” presented by Opera Grand Rapids at DeVos Performance Hall, is sung in French with projected English titles.

Feb. 9-11: 19th Annual West Michigan Golf Show at DeVos Place features free lessons, club demos, skills contests and a par three challenge.

Feb. 10: Sweetheart Splash in downtown Rockford is for those who would like to take a dip in an act of love for their sweetheart.

Feb. 10: Bid For Bachelors & Bachelorettes, the 10th annual fundraising event for the Friends & Families of Cystic Fibrosis, features auctioned date packages and appetizers at DeVos Place. 744-9004 or

Feb. 11: West Michigan Family & Kids Expo at The DeltaPlex is an interactive event where parents can learn about entertainment, health and other family issues.

Feb. 13: WYCE Jammie Awards celebrates local and national music artists with awards and free performances at The Intersection.

Feb. 14-18: 62nd Annual Grand Rapids Boat Show features ski boats, motor yachts, fishing boats, sail and power boats, antique and classic boats, at DeVos Place.

Feb. 16-17: Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” presented by Grand Rapids Symphony and Grand Rapids Ballet Company, is a unique interpretation with jazz elements and dance at DeVos Performance Hall.

Feb. 17: Heidi Grant Murphy, a renowned soprano, performs at St. Cecilia Music Society.

Feb. 17: MOMIX, an internationally known company of “dancer illusionists,” presents “Opus Cactus,” 19 scenes inspired by the Arizona Sonora desert. Part of Calvin College’s Artist Series.

Feb. 18: “The Twins and the Monster” is a GR Symphony family concert, part of the DTE Energy Foundation Family Series. The plot follows twins who try to outsmart a monster in the African forest.

Feb. 18: Taste of Soul Sunday at the Grand Rapids Public Library gives visitors a taste of art, music, literature and food by people of African ancestry.

Feb. 20: Grand Culinary Affair, with this year’s theme Amazing Plates, is the night when Grand Rapids Magazine presents its dining awards, and the American Culinary Federation of Greater Grand Rapids presents its chef awards. The event is held at Grand Rapids Community College’s Applied Technology Center, with proceeds benefiting the GRCC Hospitality Education Program. 234-3609

Feb. 22: Resourceful Homeowners’ Celebration honors homeowners who have been served by Home Repair Services, and includes dinner and an award ceremony at Frederik Meijer Gardens from 6-9 p.m. 241-2601 or

Feb. 22-23: “Say Goodnight Gracie” is the hit Broadway play based on the humor of George Burns, at the Van Singel Fine Arts Center.

Feb. 22-March 10: “Oklahoma,” the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, is presented by GR Civic Theatre.

Feb. 23: The Great Wine & Food Symposium, presented by WGVU and D&W at Van Andel Museum Center, presents more than 300 wines and 25 tables of gourmet food.

Feb. 24: Symphony with Soul, presented by the GR Symphony, unites the music of African-American heritage with the symphonic repertoire, featuring the Community Gospel Chorus. 8 p.m. at DeVos Performance Hall.

Feb. 25: Arts Jam offers music, food and a silent art auction to benefit GR Public Schools music and art programs. Band La Famiglia, the Grand Rapids Ballet Company and others perform. St. Cecilia Music Society.

Once in a Blue Moon is the annual gala fundraiser of the Alliance for Health, held at the Van Andel Museum Center. The third annual Hillman Awards will be presented. Date not yet set.

March 1-4: 28th Annual West Michigan Home & Garden Show at DeVos Place offers home products and services with displays of remodeling, new construction and interior design. The event also features free garden, home improvement and cooking seminars daily.

March 1-April 30: Foremost’s Butterflies Are Blooming at Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park features more than 6,000 butterflies, the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibit in the U.S. Visitors can experience the butterflies up close in the Lena Meijer Conservatory.

March 2: Borealis Wind Quintet, nominated for a 2006 Grammy Award, presents an evening of chamber music, part of Calvin College’s Artist Series.

March 3: Fundango raises funds for Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, a support community for those with cancer and their families. The event includes games, a pledge walk and a children’s area. 453-8300 or

March 3: The Birdhouse Factory mixes circus acrobatics with early 20th century machinery, presented at Forest Hills FAC.

March 6: Emmanuel Ax, piano virtuoso, performs for St. Cecilia Music Society’s Great Artist Gala in Royce Auditorium, with hors d’oeuvres preceding the event and desserts following.

March 9-10: Susan Tomes returns as a soloist for GR Symphony’s performance of Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto, guest conducted by Maximiano Valdes, from Santiago, Chile, where he is chief conductor of the orchestra and opera.

March 9-11: West Michigan Women’s Expo is a shopping extravaganza with exhibits and seminars tailored to women and their families, held at DeVos Place. Includes resources for career planning, education, health and wellness, home and garden, spring bridal fashions, cooking and more.

March 10: Le Grande Jeté is a gala benefiting the Grand Rapids Ballet Company, with live dance entertainment, silent and live auctions and dinner at Cascade Hills Country Club. 454-4771 or

March 15-18: 62nd Annual Ultimate Sport & RV Show at DeVos Place features more than 350 exhibitors with the latest outdoor gear, travel information, fishing boats, RVs, seminars and even fly-casting instruction on the 110,000 gallon “Lake Ultimate.”

March 16: St. Hat Trick’s Day, a new event from WYCE and the Griffins hockey team, features Celtic bands playing before/during/after the hockey game at Van Andel Arena.

March 16-18: “Where the Wild Things Are” and “Flickers” are presented by Grand Rapids Ballet at DeVos Performance Hall.

March 17: Wearin’ of the Green is the annual St. Patrick’s Day event at Fenian’s Irish Pub in Conklin, with a parade down Main Street at 10:45 a.m., followed by an authentic, all-day Irish Hooley at the pub.

March 17: UICA’s Annual Live Coverage event features more than 40 West Michigan artists sculpting, building, painting, drawing, printing and molding works before your eyes. The artworks are auctioned that evening.

March 20: Mannheim Steamroller rolls in to the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center with its instrumental genius.

March 22: One Penny At A Time Gala raises money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan. The event at DeVos Place celebrates the importance of each penny raised through school coin drives.

March 22-31: “Fat Pig,” by screenwriter Neil LaBute, tells a unique boy-meets-girl story, presented by Actors’ Theatre.

March 26-30: CRIT-O-RAMA at the UICA is a week-long, collaborative event that brings together hundreds of working artists from West Michigan for lectures, career development workshops and critical discourses led by 40 national artists and visual arts faculty.

Fulton Street Farmers’ Market, open May 1 through Dec. 25, has been a sustainable choice for produce since 1922, offering fruits and vegetables, plants and home-made arts and crafts. Market days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, opening at 8 a.m. 454-4118

Saugatuck-Douglas Green Market at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts is open from May-October, featuring local farmers and artisan producers.

West Michigan Whitecaps, 2006 Midwest League champions, play their 2007 home opener April 9 at Fifth Third Ballpark and continue play through early September.

The Enemy Within: Terror in America, 1776 to Today, an exhibit revealing dramatic episodes of terror in American history, is at Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, opening May 19 and running through Aug. 19.

Bach Festival, featuring a wide range of events from performing arts groups throughout the Grand Rapids area, is held every other year in mid-April. Among the events are: 12-Hour Bach Around the Clock featuring ensembles from six area colleges (April 11), Bach’s “Magnificat” part of Grand Rapids Symphony Casual Classics (April 12-13), and renowned Bach pianist Angela Hewitt at the Calvin College Fine Arts Center (April 19).

April 5-7: 34th Rotary East Annual Antique Show and Sale is at East Grand Rapids Middle School.

April 10-15: “The Rat Pack, Live at the Sands” is presented by Broadway Theatre Guild at DeVos Performance Hall after four years in London.

April 11: There’s No Place Like Home is a fundraiser for The Dwelling Place programs, highlighting the best of clothing and furniture fashion, and includes cocktails and a silent auction at the John Widdicomb Trade Center by Israels, 5:30-7:30 p.m. 454-0928 or

April 12-21: “Having Our Say,” presented by GR Civic Theatre, is a story of two women who explore the history of America’s black culture.

April 20-21: Tai Murray, an African-American violinist who made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 9, performs with the GR Symphony. Guest conductor Daniel Hege is music director of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra.

April 20-22: Grand Rapids Patio, Pool & Spa Show at DeVos Place is a new show focusing exclusively on these unique outdoor spaces.

April 20-22: West Michigan Cottage & Lakefront Living Show at DeVos Place is for everyone wanting to buy, build or enjoy a cottage or lakefront home, and includes furnishings, builders, Realtors, designers, boats, docks, vacation home services and financing.

April 21-22: The world premiere of a Gordon Peirce Schmidt original ballet brings live music and athletic choreography from the GR Ballet Company to Forest Hills FAC.

April 26-27: “Urban Cowboy: The Musical” is presented at Van Singel Fine Arts Center.

April 27: “The Music of Pink Floyd” is part of Symphonic Boom, a new series from the GR Symphony.

April 27-28: Showcase of Remodeled Homes, presented by the Home & Building Association of Greater GR, features home tours that highlight the latest in kitchens, master suites, recreation rooms and home offices.

St. Cecilia youth groups, including Youth Choirs, Youth Band, Youth Sinfonia, Youth Concert Orchestra and Youth Philharmonic, ranging in age from kindergarten to high-school seniors, present their spring performances. Dates not yet set.

May 1: MindShare 2007, the Student Advancements Foundation’s fourth annual gala, honors the youth of Grand Rapids Public Schools. DeVos Place Steelcase Ballroom. 632-1005 or

May 3: In the Chamber IX, the annual benefit performance for Grand Rapids Ballet Company, features musical guests joining GRBC dancers for repertory and chamber music pieces. The event includes a catered dinner at St. Cecilia Music Society.

May 4: Art Around Town at the UICA is a celebration of art and architecture with tours, reception and an auction of student and professional artwork to benefit ArtWorks summer apprenticeship programs.

May 4-5: Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” is presented by Opera Grand Rapids at DeVos Performance Hall, sung in Italian with projected English titles.

May 5-12: Tulip Time Festival in Holland includes Dutch dancing, parades, arts and crafts, and performances by Bobby Vinton, Ed McMahon and others.

May 6-10: The Jewish Film Festival, in its ninth year, brings movies, special programs and speakers, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids.

May 9-15: “Junie B. Jones” a Civic Theatre production for children, brings Barbara Parks’ character from paper to stage.

May 10-26: “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” opens the season for Circle Theatre, performed at Aquinas Performing Arts Center.

May 11-13: Glenn Miller Orchestra’s 17-person ensemble plays timeless classics of big band favorites such as “A String of Pearls,” part of the GR Symphony Fox Motors Pops Series.

May 11-13, 18-20: “Another Part of the Forest,” for fans of Shakespeare and dance, is choreographed to the music of Mozart with slices of the bard’s plays. Part of the Dancers’ Theatre Series of the Grand Rapids Ballet.

May 12: 30th Annual Fifth Third River Bank Run features the largest 25K road race in the U.S. and the only 25K wheelchair race in the world, held in downtown GR.

May 17-26: “Side Show,” a musical with four Tony Award nominations, is presented by Actors’ Theatre.

May 18-20: Great Lakes Kite Festival includes a giant kite show featuring kites more than 90 feet long, as well as a Family Fun Tent, expert kite flyers, a Fighter Kite competition and more. Grand Haven State Park beach. (800) 303-4092 or

May 22-27: “Sweet Charity,” a Broadway musical starring Molly Ringwald, is presented by Broadway Theatre Guild at DeVos Performance Hall.

May 25-June 9: 2007 Spring Parade of Homes features tours of homes throughout the greater Grand Rapids area in a variety of styles and price ranges. Sponsored by the Home & Building Association of Greater GR.

May 26-Sept. 2: The Amazing Chocolate Tree is an adventurous look at the cacao tree, the source of chocolate. Meijer Gardens will display five oversized cacao trees for visitors to walk through and explore, and a one-of-a-kind chocolate factory.

Blues on the Mall is a downtown summer tradition featuring Wednesday evening (6-9 p.m.) free outdoor blues performances at Rosa Parks Circle.

Jazz at the Zoo free concert series sponsored by the West Michigan Jazz Society is every Monday evening from 6:30-8:30 p.m. June 18-Aug. 20.

Johns Collins Park Concerts feature free family entertainment Tuesday evenings on Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids.

Hope Summer Repertory Theatre runs June through August, featuring eight plays in a repertory format at several venues throughout Holland.

Lowell Showboat Sizzlin’ Summer Concerts are free at the Riverwalk Plaza in Lowell Thursday evenings from 7-9 p.m.

Meijer Gardens Summer Concert Series hosts a variety of world-renowned musicians while mixing in some of West Michigan’s top performers. All concerts are held in the outdoor amphitheater, which seats 1800 in a lawn setting.

Rogue River Blues Concert Series is free and runs from mid-June through mid-August on Tuesday evenings. The concerts are in the Garden Club Park from 7-9 p.m.

Eastown Bizarre Bazaar is an open-air market featuring musical performances, local food, and arts and crafts vendors, held at the intersection of Lake Drive and Wealthy Street. Date not yet set.

Feast of the Strawberry Moon celebrates life in 1760-1820 with demonstrators, crafters and entertainers teaching about the history of the Tri-Cities area with a fun twist. (616) 842-0700 or

Spring Lake Heritage Festival includes a wooden boat show, flea market, family fun night, arts and craft fair, car show, BBQ cook-off, 5K race and entertainment tent. (616) 842-4499 or

June 1-3: Festival of the Arts, the downtown celebration of community and the arts, has been the Grand Rapids summer event since 1970. The festival, which is the largest all-volunteer arts event in the nation, includes visual, performance and culinary activities.

June 7-8: Three Men & A Tenor, one of the Midwest’s highest-rated touring vocal groups, finish out the Van Singel Gainey Season at the Fine Arts Center.

June 7-10: Waterfront Film Festival brings actors, producers and directors to Saugatuck to view and share independent films from all over the U.S. The events take place at various venues, and the official film selections are listed in May.

June 7-23: “Almost, Maine,” a romantic comedy, is presented by Circle Theatre at Aquinas PAC.

June 7-23: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” presented by GR Civic Theatre, brings to the stage the Ken Kesey novel about a man’s struggles in an insane asylum.

June 8-10: Rockford Start of Summer Celebration is a long weekend of festival activities, including a parade, carnival, live music, crafts and fireworks.

June 16: Country Sonata is an outdoor fund-raising event in which guests stroll around the Franciscan Life Process Center listening to music, sampling food and viewing artwork and crafts. It is co-sponsored by St. Cecilia Music Society.

June 16: Reeds Lake Clothesline Art Festival, held annually the third Saturday in June, is put on by Grand Valley Artists, featuring more than 130 booths of juried art for sale in EGR’s Gaslight Village. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

June 20: Let’s Go To Bat For Kids! is a fundraiser for Catholic Social Services. The softball game between priests and media celebrities is held at Fifth Third Ball Park. 356-6273 or

June 28-July 8: 15th Annual Muskegon Summer Celebration features main stage performances from nationally recognized artists, as well as the Summer Celebration Midway.

June 30-July 4: Battle Creek’s Field of Flight Air Show & Balloon Festival takes place at the W.K. Kellogg Airport and features fireworks, motorcycle stunt team, special children’s activities, carnival and games, air shows, and daily hot-air balloon launches. (269) 962-0592 or


July 4: Fourth of July celebration in downtown GR takes place at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in front of the Ford Museum, with family festivities in the afternoon, evening concerts, and fireworks at dusk.

July 12-28: “Sunday in the Park With George,” a musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, is presented by Circle Theatre at Aquinas PAC.

Beg. July 12: Grand Rapids Symphony Chase Picnic Pops brings music to thousands in the outdoor venue of Cannonsburg Ski Area. The four-week series offers performances Thursday and Friday evenings. Bring a blanket and a picnic dinner.

July 13-14: Lowell Riverwalk Festival includes family activities, arts and crafts, parades, river tours and fireworks in the town of Lowell.

July 13-14: Taste Of Grand Rapids features food samples from more than 30 restaurants, country and rock music, and free events for the whole family, at John Ball Park, 3-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday.

July 17-21: 17th Annual Baby Food Festival takes place in Fremont with activities for all ages ranging from the Baby Crawl Race to the Adult Baby Food Eating contest, plus a Kid Zone and parades. (800) 592-BABY or

July 19-28: Ionia Free Fair takes place at the Ionia Fair Grounds and showcases national music headliners, a Grand Parade, the 2007 Ionia Free Fair Queen Competition and activities for everyone. (616) 527-2560 or

July 27-Aug. 5: Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival features live music, a carnival, parade, street dance, water ski show, food and much more.

Aug. 7-11: Coopersville Summerfest includes fireworks, music, The Best Talent Show, Miss Coopersville Pageant and the Del Shannon Memorial Car Show. 997-5164 or

Aug. 9-11: Unity Christian Music Festival is three days of Christian music on three stages, family fun, food and fellowship at Heritage Landing in Muskegon.

Aug. 9-25: “Daddy’s Dyin’ Who’s Got the Will?” is a comedy presented by Circle Theatre at Aquinas PAC.

Aug. 11: Rockford Celtic Fest is a celebration of the foods, music, jewelry, clothing and dancing of the Celtic culture.

Aug. 11: Cowpie Blues Festival, sponsored by radio station WYCE, offers blues music, beer, food and crafts, held at Shagbark Farm in the town of Alaska.

Aug. 16-19: The Danish Festival in Greenville includes the Grand Dansk Parade, food, arts and crafts, kringles and aebleskiver.

Aug. 18: Saturday Night Alive, a fundraiser for WGVU and the John Ball Zoo, features the best in local food and music from 6:30-10 p.m., and includes exclusive zoo tours.

Aug. 30-Sept. 2: The annual Tulipanes Latino Art & Film Festival is held at Centennial Park in downtown Holland. The event celebrates the cultural, artistic, and economic contributions of Latinos in West Michigan.

Meijer Royce Center for Dance and Peter Martin Wege Theatre, the new Grand Rapids Ballet Company expansion, is planned to open for fall performances.

The 14th annual Shakespeare Festival at Grand Valley State University starts in late September and continues into early November, including plays on campus, a traveling production, and a Renaissance Festival. 331-3668 or

GVSU Fall Arts Celebration in September and October includes poetry, music, art and lectures.

Grand Rapids Griffins, primary affiliate to the Detroit Red Wings, begin its 11th season in early fall.

Color Fall exhibit at Meijer Gardens includes family activities and color tours.

Eastown Street Fair is an almost 30-year-old tradition that rocks the neighborhood with bands, food and arts. Date not yet set, usually last Saturday in September.

Sept. 6-8: Celebration On The Grand: This is the 28th year for this end-of-summer community festival, including music on the Rosa Parks Circle stage and the Ah-Nab-Awen Park stage, and Michigan’s largest fireworks display at dusk Friday.

Sept. 6-22: “Pippin,” a musical, is presented by Circle Theatre.

Sept. 7-9: Hispanic Festival is the largest Hispanic festival in Michigan, with food booths, live entertainment, adult beverage tents, retail mercado (marketplace), and a kids activity area. Proceeds benefit Hispanic Center of Western Michigan. Calder Plaza in downtown GR.

Sept. 7-15: Allegan County Fair includes professional rodeo, motocross, tractor/truck pulls, animal barns, rides and grandstand concerts.

Sept. 8: Patriot Day Parade, in its fourth year, pays tribute to the heroes in our community. Parade begins at 11 a.m., route to be determined. Sponsored by GR Jaycees.

Sept. 8: Rockford Art in the Park attracts artists from across the state for a juried multi-media art exhibition. Held on the Rogue River in Garden Club Park.

Sept. 14-16: Fiesta Mexicana features dance music, mariachis, folk dancers, handcrafts, a mercado tent and authentic Mexican food to celebrate Mexican Independence Day. Held at Calder Plaza in downtown GR.

Sept. 14-16: Michigan Irish Music Festival includes live music, pub tent, merchandise, Irish food and beverages, family activities and a limerick contest.

Sept. 15: Cottage Bar Chili Cook-Off is a big “block party” that’s been going strong for 26 years, with live music and chili tasting beginning in the early afternoon. Cottage Bar, 18 LaGrave Ave. SE.

Sept. 21-Oct. 6: Fall Parade Of Homes, sponsored by the Home & Building Association of Greater GR, showcases a selection of new homes for the 13th year.

Sept. 21-Oct. 7: Harvest Festival in Rockford continues for three weekends, each with its own theme.

Sept. 29-30: Fallasburg Fall Festival includes a juried arts event of more than 80 artists, traditional craft demonstrations, live music, food booths, children’s activities and a handmade quilt raffle. This free event takes place at Fallasburg Park, north of Lowell.

Sept. 30: Pulaski Days kicks off with a flag-raising ceremony, with main festivities Oct. 5-7, including a parade Oct. 6, when all the Polish Halls in Grand Rapids open to the public.

Kent Harvest Trails event offers orchard tours, face painting, pumpkin picking, hayrides, corn mazes, scarecrow stuffing, petting zoos and more at assorted Kent County farms.

Freedom Of … Boundaries is UICA’s outrageously hip fund-raising event that includes fashion, music, performances and food. Date not yet set. 454-7000 or

Wine And Roses For Cystic Fibrosis raises money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and features wine-tasting, catering by Carraba’s, and silent and live auctions. Date not yet set. 241-2100 or

Heartside Ministry Gala is a fundraiser for the Heartside Ministry, with dinner, wine-tasting, and silent and live auctions. Held in past at English Hills Terrace. Date not yet set. 235-7211

Faces Of Homelessness is an annual dinner and silent auction to benefit Guiding Light Mission. Date not yet set. 451-0236 or

Showcase Banquet is Master Arts Theatre’s annual fundraiser. Date not yet set. 455-1001 or

The Path to Health, an expo sponsored by Alliance for Health, is a showcase of West Michigan health and well-being services at Rogers Plaza Town Center. Date not yet set.

Oct. 4-6: Zeeland Pumpkinfest includes “Dinner on Us” in downtown Zeeland Thursday evening and a Pumpkinfest Parade Saturday.

Oct. 5-7: Red Flannel Festival is a tradition in Cedar Springs and includes a lumberjack dinner, beauty pageant, bed race, flea market, carnival, street fair and Grand Parade. Main events are held Saturday, Red Flannel Day.

Oct. 6-7: Heritage Hill Weekend Tour of Homes invites visitors to stroll through one of the largest urban historic districts recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. For 38 years, Heritage Hill has welcomed visitors through private homes and historic buildings.

Oct. 13: Lowell Harvest Celebration includes arts and crafts, a chili cook-off, 5K run, historic homes tour and antique fair.

Oct. 15-21: Celebration of the Book is a celebration of all things literary at Grand Rapids Public Library, with more than 25 speakers, including national and regional authors, poets and publishers.

Oct. 19-21: Fall Home Show of the Home & Building Association of Greater GR presents exhibitor booths, children’s building area, promotions, giveaways and entertainment.

Oct. 25: Celebration Of Hope raises money for the Van Andel Institute, with live and silent auctions, food offerings from local restaurants, dancing and entertainment. Date tentative. 234-5700 or

Oct. 28: Grand Rapids Marathon, now 4 years old, is a certified 26.2 mile course beginning and ending downtown and generally following the Grand River south. There is a 7 a.m. start for the velocity-challenged and walkers, 8 a.m. start for full and half marathoners.

“ Illuminate” is an annual black-tie event to benefit the Hauenstein Center at Saint Mary’s, with strolling gourmet reception, signature cocktails, musical delights and dancing at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Date not yet set. 913-1891 or

March of Dimes Chefs Auction features the skills of West Michigan chefs who present hors d’oeuvres in a 90-minute sampling period at decorated food stations. A silent auction, door prizes and raffles are followed by a live auction, at DeVos Place Steelcase Ballroom. Date not yet set. 247-6861

YWCA Tribute! Awards honor area women in several categories, at DeVos Place. Date not yet set. 459-7062, ext. 127, or

Festival Of Trees Gala is the 20th annual auction benefit for Special Olympics, with international food, dancing and an opportunity to own an exquisitely decorated holiday tree, wreath or centerpiece. The event is at the Breton Village Shopping Center. Date not yet set. 583-1202

Ski Patrol Ski & Board Sale is Michigan’s largest ski swap, held at Cannonsburg Ski Area. Date not yet set.

Nov. 2: Fall Wine Fest annually raise funds for Ronald McDonald House and the Conductive Learning Center. Gourmet Italian food is accompanied by 300 international wines, a silent auction and live entertainment. Date not yet set.

Nov. 2-4: Beneath the Wreath features exhibitors from around the country showcasing handcrafted, gourmet and boutique fare, put on by the Junior League of Grand Rapids at the Cultural Center at St. Nicolas.

Nov. 11: Veterans Day Parade takes place each year in downtown Grand Rapids, with a service following at Veterans Park. 456-9140

Nov. 21-Jan. 7: Christmas & Holiday Traditions Around the World features holiday displays and trees from all over the world at Meijer Gardens.

Nov. 23: Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony in Gaslight Village includes the lighting of the Christmas tree and tree lights along Wealthy Street, holiday carols led by the High School Madrigals, hot chocolate, doughnuts and cookies, trolley rides and a visit from Santa. The event begins at 7:00 p.m.

Nov. 30: In Their Own Words, a black tie gala event to benefit Hospice of Michigan’s My Stories project and Open Access program, is held at the Van Andel Institute. 356-5231 or

Nov. 30-Dec. 1: Handel’s “Messiah” is performed by Calvin College’s Oratorio Society in DeVos Performance Hall. The performance is in its 87th year.

“ The Nutcracker” is performed every year by Grand Rapids Ballet Company and dozens of local children, a local holiday favorite with music by the Grand Rapids Symphony that is performed in DeVos Performance Hall. Dates not yet set.

Dutch Winterfest is the town of Holland’s annual two-week festival, including shopping in Centennial Park at The Kerstmarkt (European Christmas market with holiday foods and gifts).

Dec. 1-2: Classic Holiday Homes Tour opens homes to show off their holiday splendor in Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg. Proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity and Tri-Cities Historical Museum. (616) 842-0700 or

Dec. 1-2: 19th Annual Holiday Artists’ Market at UICA includes one-of-a-kind arts and crafts for sale, with a special holiday party Friday evening.

Dec. 2: Opera GR Holiday Home Tour fund-raising event features tours of condos decorated by area florists and gift shops, holiday music and food.

Dec. 7: Meijer Gardens Holiday Gala includes food from around the world, horse-drawn carriage rides, and holiday entertainment.

Dec. 31: New Year’s Early Eve Party for families is put on annually by the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum.

Dec. 31: Griffins New Year’s Eve Extravaganza is an annual event at Van Andel Arena featuring West Michigan’s largest indoor fireworks display.

Editorial interns Janelle Drew and Jacob Himmelspach contributed to this article.ignoring the west. GR

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