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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Downtown Grand Rapids hotels are so crowded for ArtPrize 2013 that some visitors are being pushed to the suburbs -- and even some of those hotels are getting crowded.
"It makes things really easy for me, where all we have to do is keep our doors open," said Kyle Holst of Country Inn and Suites.
The hotel, just a few miles east of the city, has booked all of its 154 rooms for this weekend. It expects to sell out every weekend of the world's largest art competition, which officially kicks off Wednesday.
"With the event getting more popular, people are making this a go-to destination and a go-to event where we're seeing bookings two or three weeks out in advance rather than a day or two ahead of time," Holst said.
Across every major downtown hotel -- including the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, City Flats Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott, and the J.W. Marriott -- there are only a handful of rooms still available for this weekend. Most prices were close to $200 per night before taxes.
City Flats Hotel on Monroe Center NW, only blocks from big venues like the Grand Rapids Art Museum and DeVos Place, is booked solid for every ArtPrize weekend. It has just a few open rooms on weekdays.
"ArtPrize still has a great captive audience for Grand Rapids locals as well as people coming in to see it," Jack Peaphon of City Flats Hotel said.
The downtown Holiday Inn on Pearl Street NW expects to sell out 19 of the event's 21 nights.
"We're going into ArtPrize busier this year than we have ever been," Heather Emmons of the Holiday Inn said.
Last year, it sold out 15 night, and about 10 the year before that.
"We were sold out last night, we are sold out tonight," Emmons said. "We still have a few rooms left for the rest of the week, but they are going fast."
She said it's going to be "slim pickings" for anyone looking for a room downtown.
"It is really going to be difficult for people to get rooms," she said. "People are planning further ahead, so those that are trying to come in at the last minute are finding it harder and harder to find accommodations because people know about the event now. They know nationwide and worldwide about the event, so they're planning further ahead."
ArtPrize artist Zachary Copfer from Cincinnati is displaying his bacteria-based photography is hanging in the B.O.B. on Monroe Avenue NW, just north of Fulton Street.
"From what I heard about how big an event it was and the whole city just parties with it, I figured we'd better get booked up pretty quickly. Obviously, it was a good idea, because they're all sold out," he said.
He expects to spend $1,000 while he's here for a week.
"Grand Rapids obviously has a bunch of fun little pubs. We'll be eating out all the time probably, so it's going to bring in a lot of revenue," he said.
Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies worked together Tuesday evening to chase down an alleged van thief, despite slippery roads.
A charity lodge where three people were killed back in September 2013 will likely never open again.
Kalamazoo Township Police are asking for your help in finding a 63-year-old man who told people back in November he was going off to die.