City-sponsored events return to Grand Rapids

To date, the city has authorized approximately 50 events per month throughout the summer. Courtesy city of Grand Rapids

A vibrant city life promises a return to Grand Rapids in 2021 with April 13’s city commission decision to authorize dozens of special events between April and December.

The move comes as Grand Rapids experiences more COVID-19 vaccinations and anticipates progress toward normalcy amid the pandemic.

To date, the city has authorized approximately 50 events per month throughout the summer. Highly anticipated events making their return include races and fun runs, Tuesday night swing dancing, Chalk It Up, the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival, Grand Rapids African American Art and Music Festival, LMCU Bridge Run, Eastown Bizarre Bazaar, Armed Forces Thanksgiving, ArtPrize and many more.

“It is exciting to see the return of the events and activities that make Grand Rapids vibrant,” Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said. “With vaccinations and overall safety awareness on the rise, bringing our community together through these events will be a much-needed step toward rebuilding our local economy and city life.”

All authorized events will be permitted in accordance with the current state executive and emergency orders and an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) that details the event organizer’s plans to mitigate measures. The EAP will be reviewed by both the office of special events and the Grand Rapids Fire Department with guidance from the Kent County Health Department.

“This past year, we have seen many beloved events canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Evette Pittman, special events manager with the office of special events. “As testing and vaccinations are on the rise, we are excited to see energy, culture and community come back to the city with seasonal events, community activities and local tourism.”

The city commission also approved a special event permit for Riverbank Events on July 3. Riverbank Events will host the Family Fireworks Event at 10 p.m. July 3 at Ah-Nab-Awen Park and the Gillett Bridge.

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