GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The chicken theme continues.
Last year 925 rubber chickens were tossed in Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids shattering the previous record of 265 set earlier near Boston.
This year officials hope to set the inaugural Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people wearing animal noses -- specifically chicken beaks -- at one venue.
We're talking about the beginning of Gilda's LaughFest -- the nation's only community-wide festival of laughter. The 266 events on 62 stages will be held March 8-18.
If you would like to participate on opening night, go to Rosa Parks Circle at 5 p.m. on March 8. You will be given an official Gilda's LaughFest chicken beak and instructions. Practice begins at 5:45 and the official attempt will be at 6 p.m.
The Diddlestyx will provide live polka music including the chicken dance song.
If you bring a rubber chicken to the event you will be entered into a random prize drawing for LaughFest tickets and merchandise.
Following the community kickoff, several area restaurants and bars will be holding special LaughFest chicken dinner specials, free opening night parties and comedy preview shows.
Other opening events include LaughFest chicken dinners at 11 area restaurants. A portion of the money from every dinner sold will be donated to Gilda's Club. The LaughFest chicken dinners will be available beginning at 6 p.m. Participating restaurants include:
- Bar Divani, 15 Ionia St. SW
- Bobarino's, 20 Monroe Ave. NW, inside The Bob
- Chapbook Café, 40 Fountain St. NW, inside Schuler Books
- Cottage Bar, 18 La Grave Ave. SE
- Bistro Lounge, 11 Monroe Ave. NW, inside Courtyard by Marriott
- Fifth Third Bank Vault Restaurant & Bar, 130 W. Fulton St., inside Van Andel Arena
- Grand Central Market, 57 Monroe Center
- Heritage Restaurant at GRCC, 151 Fountain St. NE
- Rockwell – Republic, 45. S. Division Ave.
- University Club of Grand Rapids, 111 Lyon St. NW
- Z’s Bar and Restaurant, 168 Louis Campau Promenade
Beginning at 8 p.m. four area restaurants will hold "Opening Night Parties," which are open to the public. The participating restaurants will have drink specials, giveaways and other surprises. Opening Night Parties will be held at:
- One Trick Pony Grill and Taproom, 136 E. Fulton St.
- Pub 43, 43 Division Ave.
- Sundance Grill, 40 Pearl St.
- TGI Friday’s, 50 Monroe Ave.
Opening night comedy shows will be held at various locations at 8 p.m. and again at 9 p.m. LaughFest comics will provide a sneak peak of some of the Clean Comedy Showcase and local comedians who will be featured during the 10-day festival.
A suggested $5 donation to Gilda's Club will be collected at the door. Fast passes are available for these shows at LaughFest Central, which will guarantee the holder a seat at the show as long as they are seated 15 minutes prior to start time.
Artists participating include: Don Friesen, Rex Havens, Jeff Caldwell, Keith Alberstadt, Rocky LaPorte, Brad Upton, Jan McInnis, Tim Cavanagh, Stu McCallister, Adam Degi, Matt Lauria, Ben Wilke, Dave Dyer, Hen Sapp, Jerry Donovan and Allen Trieu.
The Opening Night Preview shows will be held at:
- 25 Kitchen & Bar, 25 Ottawa Ave.
- The Bob, 20 Monroe Ave.
- McFaddden's Restaurant & Saloon, 58 Ionia Ave. SW
- The Pyramid Scheme, 68 Commerce Ave.
LaughFest headliners include: Whoopi Goldberg, Martin Short, Kevin Nealon, Sinbad, Mike Epps, Rodney Carrington, Jim Gaffigan and Kathleen Madigan.
Other acts announced include The Bob & Tom Comedy All-Stars hosted by Kristi Lee, Patch Adams, The Laurie Berkner Band, Anthony Jeselnik, Anjelah Johnson, Bo Burnham, Amy Schumer, Hannibal Buress and Marc Maron.
Showcases and competitions returning to this year's LaughFest include Best of the Midwest, Stand-up Comedy Competition, Clean Comedy Showcase, and the Out of the Box comedy show.
New this year is the Bud Light Blue and Late Night Comedy Series.
Family-friendly entertainment includes Baby Loves Disco, Super Saturday Kids Zone and The Verve Pipe.
Clean comedians Patti Vasquez and Greg Morton are performing in Lowell.
Taylor Mason, a ventriloquist, musician and comedian, will perform his family-friendly show in Holland.
A limited number of individual tickets to see Martin Short and Kevin Nealon with Alan Zweibel performing during Gilda's Club Grand Rapids' annual fundraising dinner event are available for $250, which includes dinner, the performance and a donation to Gilda's Club.
All proceeds from Gilda's LaughFest benefit the cancer, grief and other support programs offered through Gilda's Club Grand Rapids.
Gilda's LaughFest or call 616.735-HAHA (4242)
Gilda's Club Grand Rapids