Festival of the Arts celebrates 53rd year

Courtesy Festival of the Arts

Grand Rapids’ Festival of the Arts kicked off its 53rd celebration today.

The free community festival will run through 11 p.m. today, June 3, at Calder Plaza, at 300 Monroe Ave NW. Festivities continue from 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, June 4, and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, June 5.

“Festival of the Arts remains a legacy event for our community,” said Baird Hawkins, Festival of the Arts board chair. “The event has become a multigenerational celebration. Join us again and continue the tradition.”

This year, for the first time, beer and wine will be available along with food options.

Food vendors this year include Uncle Wayne’s BBQ, Underground Cookie Club, The Jamaican Way, Pressed In Time (Saturday and Sunday only) and more. 

Over 200 musical, dance and spoken word performers will be featured this year on five different stages: Calder Stage, located at Calder Plaza; di Suvero Stage, behind the Gerald R. Ford Federal Building, at 110 Michigan St. NW; the Lyon Street Stage, located on Lyon Street between Ottawa and Ionia avenues; Fountain Street Stage, located at the corner of Fountain at Ionia; and Indoor Classical, located at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, 101 Monroe Center St. NW. 

Lifeline, Grand Rapids Youth Symphony, FlyLiteGemini and Greek Dance Group of Holy Trinity are just a few of hundreds of acts that will be performing over the weekend. 

The Regional Arts Exhibition will offer over 200 local pieces of art, many of which are for sale. The show will be visible in area galleries and online. The exhibit will present over 40 awards across four categories. 

Activities for children include chalk art and puppet making, face painting and printmaking. 

Artisan vendors will be at Calder Plaza, offering furniture, illustrations, caricatures, jewelry, photography and scores of other artistic pieces. Some booths present this year include printmaker Red Hydrant Press, jewelry from The Rusted Rabbit GR, woodwork by Wooden Wonders and leatherwork from Hides and Stitches. 

Since its inception in 1970, Festival of the Arts has been bringing art in all forms to downtown Grand Rapids. The Estimated attendance is more than 300,000, as it has been in past years. 

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