GR|MAG’s Top Weekend Picks

Dig out your swim trunks this weekend. You read that right. Grand Rapidians will take a dip to raise money for the Special Olympics. You can also bundle up for the annual outdoor Winter Beer Festival.

Don’t worry, you can warm up afterward with several indoor events taking place over the weekend as well.

Winter Beer Festival
(Friday & Saturday)

Michigan breweries and brewers will converge in the parking lot outside of the Fifth Third Ballpark on Friday and Saturday for the beloved annual Winter Beer Festival.

Ticketholders receive 15 tasting tokens, which guests can exchange for 3 oz. samples from over 1000 different craft beers(note that some specialty beers will require 2 tokens per 3 oz. sample). Additional tickets will be available for 50 cents.

Guests will also enjoy music from local bands, other entertainment, ice sculpture demonstrations, and fire pits to warm up by. A selection of tasty food will be available for purchase at the festival as well.

Michigan Brewers Guild Enthusiast members are invited to enter the festival one hour early, at 4 p.m. on Friday and at noon on Saturday. You must present a valid membership card to enter early. Memberships can be purchased online.

This event typically sells out so make sure to purchase your ticket in advance.

Grand Rapids Polar Plunge 2018
(Saturday)

Grand Rapids Polar Plunge
Grand Rapids Polar Plunge

Dare to conquer the cold for a good cause? The Grand Rapids Polar Plunge is taking place this Saturday, Feb. 24 to raise money for Special Olympics Michigan. So get ready to bundle up and make a splash.

The plunge will take place in a swimming pool just outside Van Andel Arena from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Registration will begin at 11 a.m. inside The B.O.B., and awards and an after-splash bash will take place there right after the event. Costumes are also encouraged.

The Grand Rapids Polar Plunge is one of 28 polar plunges taking place across the state of Michigan this year. By participating in a polar plunge in the state of Michigan, you are helping to raise funds for over 23,000 athletes who participate in Special Olympics Michigan.

Special Olympics Michigan is a year-round program offering sports for those with intellectual disabilities. Although sports are the “vehicle,” the ultimate goal of Special Olympics is to help persons with intellectual disabilities participate and receive respect as members of their communities.

Animal Adventures: Surviving in the Wild
(Saturday)

Inhabitants of the John Ball Zoo will visit Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park on Saturday to teach kids and their families about survival in the wild.

Animal Adventures: Surviving in the Wild will show off the survival techniques of a Chaco tortoise, Hooded rats, Emporer scorpions, and a new Caledonian Day gecko will be on display as part of the live animal presentations.

This is a perfect event for children ages 3 to 6, but all ages are welcome. Admission to the event is $5 for members, $7 for non-members (children under 3 are free). Reservations are required and can be made online or by calling John Ball Zoo at (616) 336-4300 or Meijer Gardens at (616) 975-3144.

Grand Rapids Symphony presents “Ella, A Tribute”
(Saturday)

Known for her pure tone, impeccable diction, and legendary improvisational scat singing, Ella Fitzgerald is one of the most beloved jazz singers of all time. Honoring the 100th anniversary of her birth, the Grand Rapids Symphony presents “Ella, A Tribute” at Symphony with Soul on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m.

Featuring classics like “How High the Moon,” “Summertime,” “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” and many more, guest singers Harolyn Blackwell, Aisha de Haas, and Nova Payton will join the Grand Rapids Symphony to sing a collection of Ella Fitzgerald’s greatest hits.

Directed by Duane Shields Davis and conducted by Bob Bernhardt, this 17th annual celebration of multicultural music by the Grand Rapids Symphony. Tickets start at $18 and are $5 for students. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Grand Rapids Symphony or call 616.454.9451 x4.

“My Fair Lady” at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
(Friday-Sunday)

This weekend, the main stage will be in full bloom at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre with its performances of “My Fair Lady.” With music by Frederick Loewe and book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, this romantic musical focuses on when Eliza Doolittle, a young flower seller with a thick Cockney accent, and professor Henry Higgins, an arrogant upper-class phonetics professor, make a boastful bet that will change both of their lives forever.

Composed of several Broadway classics, such as “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” “With a Little Bit of Luck,” and “I Could Have Danced All Night,” this production will make you forget about winter as the cast sings into spring.

Performances run through March 18 and tickets range from $18-37. Wednesday through Saturday productions will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees will start at 2 p.m. Visit Grand Rapids Civic Theatre for more information and to buy tickets.

Little Black Dress Party @ JW Marriott
(Saturday)

Photo courtesy of DJ Composition
Photo courtesy of DJ Composition

If the little black dress is a must-have for your wardrobe, the Little Black Dress Party at the JW Marriott is a must for your weekend plans.

Taking place Saturday, Feb. 24 from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. on Sunday in the JW Marriott’s International Ballroom, the Little Black Dress Party is an evening of fun with music from DJ Composition, dancing, cocktails, prizes, and a fashion show in conjunction with Renee Austin Wedding / Renee Austin Prom & Occasions and breast cancer survivors.

Attendees must be 21 years or older. General admission is free, but VIP sections are available for purchase. Susan G Komen Michigan, the Little Black Dress Party’s charity partner, will receive a portion of the proceeds.

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