Following a year of virtual laughter in 2021, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids will bring LaughFest back to in person for 2022.
The 12th annual event will be held Mar. 16-20 and will feature nearly 50 events, social media contests, and fun and funny events for all ages. The festival highlights Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids’ mission of providing emotional health support for people of all ages experiencing cancer or grief, and all event proceeds help to keep the organization’s services free to anyone in need.
Tickets to the 2022 event will be available for purchase in December, as the organization encourages keeping the tradition of “giving the gift of laughter” alive for the holiday season. Certificates will be available for purchase by calling 616-735-HAHA (4242). Headlining artists will be announced in early 2022.
“After being virtual in 2021, we are excited to return live and in person,” said Zack Berends, events and festival manager for Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids and Gilda’s LaughFest. “From the festival’s beginning, our goal has been to bring laughter to West Michigan during the gray days of March and raise visibility and funds for Gilda’s Club mission. Our team has been working behind the scenes since the close of LaughFest 2021 to bring a safe festival back in 2022 that continues to inspire community togetherness and laughter for the health of it.”
Gilda’s Club celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2021 and will kick off the 2022 LaughFest event with its 20th Anniversary Red Door Gala on March 15, providing funny entertainment and celebrating the thousands of lives the organization has impacted.
“We’re thrilled to be able to safely celebrate our 20th Anniversary Red Door Gala with the supporters and organizations who have made the past two decades of free cancer and grief emotional health support at Gilda’s Club possible,” said Wendy Wigger, president of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids and Gilda’s LaughFest. “With later stage cancer diagnoses on the rise and many still processing grief from the past 18 months, our support program is a vital lifeline that is more important than ever. If there is something we all could use right now, it’s a little something extra to smile about.”
Returning acts will include the Clean Comedy Showcase, nationally known comedians, Laughter Yoga and Kids Joke. Downtown Grand Rapids also will host the Seriously Funny Family Adventure Challenge, in which teams will follow clues and prompts throughout the downtown area.
The event also will bring the return of Laughter Rx Symposium, providing health care professionals a conference with continuing education credit opportunities with hybrid, in-person and virtual attendance options.
Festival details and other announcements are at laughfest.org.