GR|MAG’s Top Weekend Picks

Grand Rapids Lunar New Year Festival

This weekend features the celebration of an ancient Chinese tradition downtown. And much more.

Lunar New Year Festival: Year of the Pig! (Saturday)

The new year is almost here — the Lunar New Year, that is, and you can celebrate in Grand Rapids.

The Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year, is based on the 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle, and if you were born in 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971 or 1959, it’s your year — the Year of the Pig. The Chinese Association of West Michigan is hosting the 2nd-annual celebration. The event includes traditional Chinese food, family activities and cultural performances by local and Chinese performers.

On Feb. 2 from 3 to 4 p.m., a free performance with firecrackers will be at the Gillett Bridge downtown. The ticketed event is from 4-9 p.m. at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, at 303 Monroe Ave. NW. General admission is $25. Food tickets are $1 each. Children ages 4 and under are free. VIP tickets are $50 and include special seating, catered food to sample and a drink ticket. Photo via

The Verve Pipe (Saturday)

The Verve Pipe20 Monroe Live is throwing itself a party, and you and The Verve Pipe are invited.

The downtown venue turns two in February and has invited the multi-platinum alternative rock band The Verve Pipe, with opening act Brother Elsey, to play its birthday show. The West Michigan-based band’s first hit single “The Freshmen” is from their 1996 album “Villains” — and the post-grunge rockers have laid down many tracks since then. After a recording hiatus in the early 2000s, The Verve Pipe returned to lead singer Brian Vander Ark’s hometown of Holland and cut other records, including 2014’s “Overboard” and 2017’s “Parachute.” The band has garnered a following for its “textured rock songs — distinguished by innovative arrangements, soul-searching lyrics and layered vocals.”

The concert is Feb. 2 at 20 Monroe Live in Grand Rapids, at 11 Ottawa Ave. NW. Doors open at 7 p.m. Show begins at 8 p.m. General admission tickets are $23-$39.50 and include pre- and post-show food specials at The B.O.B. next door. Photo via

“The Burnt Part Boys” (Friday, Saturday and Sunday)

The Burnt Part BoysBluegrass and modern pop numbers will weave together strands of family and friendship, love and loss on the stage this weekend.

Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids will present “The Burnt Part Boys,” a musical set in rural West Virginia in 1962. In the story, two young boys return to the coal mine that claimed their parents’ lives to come to terms with heartbreak and loss. Buoyed by the group of friends they travel with, their lives will be forever changed through a journey that will showcase the “power of family bonds, friendships that unite us, and the importance and need to understand.” The director is Jolene Frankey, and the music director is Scott Patrick Bell. A full cast list is online.

Performances are at 8 p.m. on Feb. 1 and 2, as well as Feb. 7-9 and at 3 p.m. on Feb. 3 at GRCC’s Spectrum Theater in Grand Rapids, at 160 Fountain St. NE. Tickets are available online. Photo via

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (Friday and Saturday)

Grand Rapids Symphony Harry Potter concertThe weather will not deter the Grand Rapids Symphony from taking the stage this weekend.

The symphony will perform the score of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” while the film plays in high-definition on a 40-foot screen.

Performances are Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. at DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids, at 303 Monroe Ave. NW. Photo via

Spell Bowl Sunday (Sunday)

Brewery Vivant brewpub interiorIf you’re not “fully vested in viewing sportsball” this Sunday, there’s a place for you to go.

The Spell Bowl will feature “wizardly wonders and sorcerous specials.” Bring a tabletop game or card game with or without a magical theme and “geek out.” Wizard-y cosplay is “very much encouraged,” as are colors representing your favorite “wizard team” and wand-wielding.

The event is Feb. 3 from 12:05 to 10 p.m. at Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids, at 925 Cherry St. SE. Photo via

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