GR|Mag’s Top Weekend Picks

Grand Rapids Symphony presents Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets in concert
Grand Rapids Symphony presents Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets in concert

With the excitement of ArtPrize still keeping the city bustling, GR|Mag had to include some interactive ArtPrize events to keep you busy this weekend. We’ve also got some seasonal fall fun for the now appropriate sweater weather, exercise for a cause, and Michigan’s largest and oldest tribute to the Bard.

These, alongside many more exciting events, have turned the end of September into a jam-packed weekend with fun for everyone. We hope you guys are as excited as we are to make the most of it.

Oktoberfest West Michigan
(Friday and Saturday)

Hosted by The Edelweiss Club since 1982, this annual event offers fun for all ages. Get into the Oktoberfest spirit with Germany’s Erdinger beer for the adults and root beer for the kids. Wine and nonalcoholic beverages will be served as well.

You can also achieve a good forearm workout by participating in the stein holding contest on Friday and Saturday. A special competition will be held for kids on Saturday. There will also be live music and entertainment throughout the festival.

The event runs from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and noon to 11p.m. on Saturday at John Ball Park. Oktoberfest West Michigan is free to attend but there is a $5 wristband required to enter the beer tent. A portion of the proceeds will go to Kids Food Basket, a West Michigan Charity that focuses on feeding hungry kids.

The Edelweiss Club Celebrates Oktoberfest
The Edelweiss Club Celebrates Oktoberfest

ArtPrize Blue Bridge Music Festival
(Friday and Saturday)

Unwind at this two-day festival that’s returning for its second year as part of ArtPrize Nine. Produced through a partnership between ArtPrize, HopCat and WYCE 88, the festival provides participating musicians eligibility in the public vote competition for the time-based category.In addition, HopCat has given attendees the opportunity to award one of the competing artists with the ‘ArtPrize Song of the Year’ and a $1,000 cash prize.

Performance Schedule:
Friday, Sept. 29
5 p.m.—Yolonda Lavender
7 p.m.—The Bootstrap Boys
9 p.m.—Michigander

Saturday, Sept. 30
2 p.m.—Brad Fritcher Moods
4 p.m.—Asamu Johnson & The Associates of the Blues
5:30 p.m.—Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish
7 p.m.—Watching For Foxes
8:45 p.m.—The Great One

Blue Bridge Music Festival debuted last year during ArtPrize.
Blue Bridge Music Festival debuted last year during ArtPrize.

Music Laser Light Shows
(through Sunday)

Take a break from ArtPrize with a visit to the Chaffee Planetarium, located in the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and enjoy the laser light performances set to all your favorite music.

Shows have something for all music lovers, including music from the Beatles, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Metallica, today’s top hits, country, electronic dance music and more. Tickets are $4 with a general admission ticket into the museum, or $5 for planetarium-only. Shows begin at 3 p.m. each day.

Visit the Grand Rapids Public Museum for a full show schedule and advanced ticket purchase.

Chaffee Planetarium – Grand Rapids Public Museum

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets in Concert
(Friday and Saturday)

Feel the magic as the Grand Rapids Symphony accompanies a viewing of the movie “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” by playing the entire score live. The second of the eight movie Harry Potter franchise will be played in HD on a 40-foot-screen in Devos Performance Hall.

The fun doesn’t end there. GRS will offer photo opportunities with the Sorting Hat, Butterbeer samples (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic available) and the first 500 attendees of each showing will receive a free wand. Enjoy the performance and dress the part, as guests are encouraged to come in costume.

Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. There is also a matinee performance at 2 p.m. Saturday. For more information and advanced ticket purchase, visit Grand Rapids Symphony.

Photo by Terry Johnston
Photo by Terry Johnston

Grand Valley State University’s Shakespeare Festival
(Friday – Sunday)

Travel back in time to the Renaissance with the “oldest and largest” Shakespeare festival in Michigan, which kicks off this weekend.  You can take in a performance of “The Tempest” and enjoy a performance by Bard to Go, Grand Valley’s traveling Shakespeare troupe, which will perform “The Wonder of Will: This Is Your Afterlife!”, a new, 50-minute production that includes scenes from  from “Hamlet,” “Richard III,” “The Comedy of Errors,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Macbeth,” and “The Merchant of Venice.”

Bard to Go performances are part of an ArtPrize entry and will be held from noon to 5 p.m. at the Gerald R. Ford Museum on Saturday and Sunday.

Performances of “The Tempest” will take place Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. All performances will take place in Louis Armstrong Theatre, in the Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts.

If you can’t make it this weekend, no need to fret, the Shakespeare Festival continues next weekend with performances of “The Tempest” on October 5 – 8. For more information one the festival, a full schedule of events and ticket information, visit Shakespeare Festival.

Bard to Go competes in ArtPrize this weekend.
Bard to Go competes in ArtPrize this weekend.

Tour De Cure

Enjoy cycling or walking through Millennium Park while also supporting the American Diabetes Association as they work to prevent and cure diabetes. The West Michigan Tour de Cure and Walk is open to everyone with the option of a 3.1 mile walk, 10 mile, 30 mile and 62 mile cycling routes. Riders and walkers can participate individually or register as a team.

After the walk/ride, enjoy the festival offering food, giveaways, live entertainment, activities for the whole family and more. The festival starts at 10:30 a.m. and goes until 2 p.m. For more information or to register visit American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure.

Glow Night at Treetop Adventure

Looking for a Saturday night adventure? Look no further than Glow Night at Grand Rapids Treetop Adventure Park. Enjoy the views as you climb through the trees under both LED and black lights. Glow attire is provided for a climbing experience “like no other.” Climbs begin at 7 p.m. and typically last two to three hours.

For times and ticket information visit Grand Rapids Treetop Adventure Park.


*Main photo by Terry Johnston (GRS Harry Potter & Sorcerer’s Stone)

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