Celebrations a-plenty this September

Rosa Parks Circle serves as a venue for various festivals and activities on the schedule this fall. Grand Rapids Magazine file photo by Christopher John Wilson.

While ArtPrize promises to keep residents and visitors highly engaged over the next two weeks, a number of other exciting community events are on the City of Grand Rapids calendar. Parks and other venues throughout the city will host exciting street fairs, spirited cultural events, lively concerts, a chili cook-off, food truck rallies, and more.

“The City and its Office of Special Events are dedicated to encouraging high-quality events that showcase our community’s personality, charisma, vibrancy and diversity,” said Evette Pittman, Grand Rapids’ special events manager. “The fantastic activities and entertainment options on tap this September meet that goal,” she said. “All take place both inside and outside ArtPrize’s footprint for those who want to explore Grand Rapids’ quaint neighborhoods and unique business districts.”

Information on all these events can be found on the City’s Special Events website: grandrapidsmi.gov/events. The complete roster – including dates, times and locations – of City-sponsored and ArtPrize-sanctioned events follow (times and dates are subject to change):

Relax at Rosa
Sept. 14, 21 & 28, Noon to 1:30 p.m., Rosa Parks Circle
Concert/Food Trucks

Grand Rapids African American Festival
Sept. 15, 5 to 10 p.m.
Rosa Parks Circle

Art and Music Festival
Sept. 16,  Noon to 10 p.m.
Live music and food celebrating the African American Arts & Music Community in Grand Rapids.

Art of Food Festival
Sept. 15 & 16 , 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Calder Plaza + Ottawa Ave.
Sept. 17, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Art of Food Festival aims to bring together the diverse culture of a thriving Grand Rapids and its visitors around the one thing we all love…FOOD!  This free to attend event brings together over 30 local food trucks/vendors as they line Ottawa Ave. from Calder Plaza to Pearl St. in downtown Grand Rapids. In addition to these delicious options, a collaborative effort Festival of the Arts is joining GR8 Food Trucks in activating Calder Plaza, through stage performances all weekend, 30 local artist vendors, interactive art stations and art installations through ArtPrize. The Grand Rapids Food Truck Association is helping sponsor a beer tent for refreshments over the weekend and has partnered with the Grand Rapids Fire Department so that half of all proceeds raised will help our local firefighting community.

Art Of Disruption
Sept. 14 to Oct. 1, Heartside Park

The HUG Station
Sept. 14 to Oct. 1, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Canal Park

Eastown Streetfair
Sept. 16, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Wealthy Ave. (Lake Dr. to Giddings)

The Eastown Streetfair is a family-friendly celebration of arts, crafts, food, music, and the Eastown neighborhood; one of Grand Rapids’ most eclectic districts!

West Side Walk for Gilda’s
Sept. 16, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Gilda’s Club

Grand Rapids Pagan Pride Day
Sept. 16, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Richmond Park

Ballpark Series
Sept. 16 & 23, 5 to 9 p.m., Sullivan Field
Ballpark Jam 90’s Throwback Fest
Taylor Swift Experience
Live music, yard games, food, drinks

Stop the Hate Community Walk
Sept. 16, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., MLK Park

Global Gathering
Sept. 16, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Garfield Park

Curb Appeal
Sept. 16, Noon to 8 p.m., Lyon St. (Monroe Ave. to Grand River)

Beyond the minds of engineers shaping clay molds that hit the manufacturing line to the showroom floors of the latest and greatest makes and models is a culture of creatives that stretch the imagination and self-expression in garages and driveways across the streets of America and across the globe. No matter the subculture, make, model, or background, we all share the same passion and respect that brings out the curb appeal. Come join us as we explore the art within the world of automotive customization.

Lake Michigan Credit Union Bridge Run
Sept. 17, 8 to 11 a.m., Front Street & Race Route

Heart Prize
Sept. 16, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., S. Division Ave.
Sept. 17, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Fulton to Wealthy)

Heart Prize is a cultural event, incorporating and promoting diversity in this vital neighborhood of downtown Grand Rapids. It will feature in-store events, sales, food vendors, pop-up merchants, artists and makers, trolleys, historical tour, and performing artists, musicians, dancers stationed outdoors throughout the neighborhood.

KissCross Cyclocross
Sept. 17, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Highland Park

Outdoor Storytime with the Grand Rapids Public Library
Sept. 18 ,  10:30 to 11 a.m. , Lincoln Park

Pop-up Westside Stride
Sept. 19 & 26                6 to 8:30 p.m.                            Bridge Street

Tuesday Night Swing Dance
Sept. 19–Brena Live, 7 to 9:30 p.m.,  Rosa Parks Circle
Sept. 26–Broadway Swing

All ages. No partner needed. Family friendly. Join over 200 people as they swing dance, line dance and Latin dance to a variety of songs and music.

Start Garden Demo Day
Sept. 20, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Calder Plaza

GR in XR on the Blue Bridge
Sept. 21, 6 to 8 p.m., Blue Bridge

East Hills Summer Concert Series
Sept. 21, 6 to 9 p.m., Cherry Park

State of Play
Sept. 21, 8 to 9 a.m.,  Sheldon Avenue

ArtPrize Top 25 Announcement
Sept. 22, 5 to 8 p.m., 555 Monroe Ave. N

The suspense grows with this first big reveal as we announce the Top 25 entries for ArtPrize 2023 based on the public vote. While here, immerse yourself in the hopeful, invigorating soundscapes of musical performers Y-Not. Supported by Rockford Construction.

ArtPrize 5K
Sept. 22,  8 to 9 a.m., 555 Monroe Ave. N

Sept. 22, 5 to 10 p.m., Rosa Parks Circle
Sept. 23, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Confluence, presented by Steelcase and JR Automation, is a free, multi-day festival that explores innovation and creativity across art, music, science, and technology within six major program areas. The Future Innovators Zone is a STEAM-based playground for kids of all ages, the Maker Expo spotlights the DIY maker community, the Innovation Showcase features an esports tournament with the region’s top high school and collegiate teams, the Robotics Expo & Parade features top middle and high school teams who show off their creations and demonstrate their work in the fields of engineering, coding and computer science, the Music Showcase includes musicians who test the limits of instrumentation to create exuberant soundscapes, and Art@ features experimental media artist Brian Alexander who will present over 30 of his works including installations, devices and hybrid media shorts.

Parkrun Riverside Park
Sept. 23 & 30, 9 to 10:30 a.m., Riverside Park
5k community event – walk, jog, run

Retriever Fever
Sept. 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Riverside Park
Paws with a Cause

City Hall Exhibition Silent Disco
Sept. 23, 6 to 10 p.m., Calder Plaza

Merchants and Makers
Sept. 23 & 24 , 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Gillett Bridge/Ah-Nab-Awen Park

Merchants and Makers, the growing West Michigan collective of creatives and shops, is teaming up with ArtPrize to bring its new generation of craft fair to this year’s event. Over 80 vendors will sell their inspired, quirky, and stylish wares in an outdoor marketplace spanning the Gillett Bridge and stretching through Ah-Nab-Awen Park. All of this handmade goodness, along with food trucks and live artistic and musical performances, make it a relaxing and celebratory gathering for everyone.

Tour de Food Trucks
Sept. 28 , 5 to 8 p.m., Lookout Park

Grit Summit Yoga on the Bridge
Sept. 28, 6:45 to 7:30 a.m., Blue Bridge

Sept. 29 & 30  Fri: 3 to 9 p.m. | Sat: Noon to 9 p.m.
Riverside Park and Bandshell
German/American festival

Sept. 29 & 30, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Roberto Clemente Park

Brews at the Calder
Sept. 30 , 4 to 8 p.m., Calder Plaza

Join 30 brewers as we celebrate Beer City, USA. This isn’t just another beer fest – this is THE festival of Beer City brewers, planned and orchestrated by the area brewers and brewery owners themselves that make up the Beer City Brewers Guild. Admission is free, just purchase tasting tickets. All ages are welcome, 21+ will be carded and given a wristband. The guild’s Pro-AM competition has grown into an annual staple that randomly pairs home brewers with commercial brewers to collaborate and brew a unique batch of beer. Those special beers will be available at this fest, and the annual winner will be announced.

Chili Cookoff
Sept. 30, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sullivan Field

One Community West Michigan
Sept. 30, Noon to 10 p.m., Rosa Parks Circle

Kid’s Day and Concert



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