LaughFest to return with virtual celebration

LaughFest will continue to host free activities virtually, including Laughter Yoga. Courtesy Gilda's LaughFest

Gilda’s LaughFest is returning in 2021 after being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it will be celebrated a bit differently.

LaughFest will be a shortened and primarily virtual event this year, which is scheduled for March 11-14.

A full schedule of events will be announced later this month, but it will feature 30 events, free activities, social media content and contests.

“It’s been a tough year, yet we remain in this together and look forward to delivering smiles in a new way to West Michigan and beyond in 2021,” said Joanne Roehm, festival director. “Our goal is to retain the spirit and community impact of the festival while providing a unique celebration as part of Gilda’s Club’s 20th  year of operations.”

LaughFest will continue to host free activities virtually, including Family Improv Workshop, Kids Joke Time, Laughter Yoga and more. The Laughter Rx Symposium, a conference with continuing education credit opportunities for health care professionals, will continue to be part of the festival.

The Seriously Funny Adventure Challenge scavenger hunt in downtown Grand Rapids also will continue. Teams competing in the socially distanced event will have all four days of the festival to tour downtown Grand Rapids while following clues and prompts provided at various stops.

“We remain committed to offering something for everyone within the festival, including family-friendly programming and clean comedy, in addition to highlighting the importance of the health benefits of laughter,” Roehm said.

Gilda’s LaughFest will be sponsored by Gun Lake Casino.

“For over a decade, Gun Lake Casino has aligned its philanthropic efforts with Gilda’s Club and LaughFest, said Carter Pavey, assistant general manager for Gun Lake Casino. “This year, we are thrilled to become the very first presenting sponsor of the annual festival, demonstrating our strong support of LaughFest’s mission — to provide free cancer and grief support to our community through the channel of laughter.

“There is no better time to expand our partnership; the services provided by Gilda’s Club are needed now more than ever. Sadly, many of our own team members have experienced pain due to the loss of a loved one, and as a dedicated employer and community partner, we recognize that through our continued collaboration, we have the ability to assist many during their journey through cancer or grief.”

Gilda’s Club will be celebrating its 20th anniversary on Feb. 15.

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