Hooting, hollering and some ‘Honky Tonk’ fun

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A party goer rides a mechanical bull at the JW Marriott in August. Photo by Russell Climie.

Jabba the Hutt with a captive Princess Leia, skeletons, a mechanical bull ride, inspirational speakers, the entire cast of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, 200+ CEOs, line dancing. What do these things have in common? 

Husband and wife team up to dress as Jabba the Hutt and Princess Leia at “Just Wicked” in 2022. Photo by Lisa Enos.

These are just a few of the spectacles witnessed at the JW Marriott over the past year by yours truly.

Two separate parties – “Just Wicked” and “Honky Tonk” –  and a CEO Summit were the source of the imagery. All of the occasions took place in the JW Marriott’s International Ballroom, one of the most versatile venues in the city. 

At the Honky Tonk Nashville Nights party in August, Sip Shine Moonshine greeted party goers with tasty samples of their flavored whiskey; Slows BBQ provided pulled pork and more from a makeshift kitchen area in the coat check; Grand Rapids native-turned-national country sensation Brenden Monroe came in from Nashville as the headliner; and Prior Noon– having opened recently for major country icons including Jon Pardi, Gabby Barrett, and Joe Dee Messina– sufficiently warmed up the boot-scootin’ crowd. 

Prior Noon’s McKenna Grody smiles as she performs at the JW Marriott’s Taste of Nashville Honky Tonk Party, August, 2023. Photo by Russell Climie for AHC Hospitality.

The JW Marriott Director of Food and Beverage, Becky Jones said that Prior Noon is “to the moon.” The band wants to come back next year! 

“We had an amazing time!” said a spokesperson for the band. “Our experience was top notch start to finish. The green rooms were awesome and having rooms for the night was great as well. We would love to team up for more events in the future.”

Adding to this honky tonk hootenanny was a mechanical bull that took center stage in between acts. 

Line dancers take to the floor at JW Marriott’s Taste of Nashville Honky Tonk party August 19,2023. Photo by Russell Climie.

Across the street, the AC Lounge offers evenings of soulful rhythms and cocktails at Jazz Jam Thursdays when the stylish lounge transforms into a haven for those who enjoy the smooth sounds of saxophones, keys, and drums. The beats drop at 8 p.m. with a warm-up DJ set, followed by an open jam led by local jazz icon and DJ Dante Cope and the house band, and then cools down with a closing DJ set.

For music lovers and fans of exceptional drinks and French cuisine, local musicians will play live in the Lounge at Margaux at the JW Marriott every Friday and Saturday night, starting Oct. 6, from 6-10 p.m., through the end of the year.  

Larger-than-life-size skeletons compete for first prize at the 2022 “Just Wicked” party. Photo by Lisa Enos.

The next BIG event for AHC Hospitality is the 2023 Just Wicked Halloween party. This year’s theme is “Haunted Hotel.” One can never be sure what the costumes will look like this year, but if last year’s Just Wicked is any sort of litmus test, my guess is that they will definitely be to die for.

Save the date; Saturday, October 28th, 9 p.m. -1 a.m. at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids, 235 Louis St NW, in downtown Grand Rapids. Purchase tickets here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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