Global Water Fest GR: What to expect during inaugural Grand River event

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new festival highlighting the Grand River is coming to Grand Rapids this fall.

The inaugural Global Water Fest GR will take place Saturday, Sept. 25. Various aquatic activities are planned, including free paddle board lessons and a flyboarding demonstration.

The main attraction will be dragon boat races. Dragon boat racing is a Chinese custom that dates back more than 2,000 years.

“(With) dragon boats, you’re facing forward, you have a paddle, (and you’re) paddling to the beat of a drummer,” said Ace Marasigan, one of the founders of the new festival. “This a traditional race coming from China. (The) whole premise is bringing this cultural addition to Grand Rapids.”

The South Haven Dragon Boat Association will provide the boats for the event. Event organizers are still looking for participants to sign up.

“(We’re) looking forward for people learning about this and there’s still space on the teams,” Marasigan said.

Marasigan came up with the idea for the festival after seeing people from various backgrounds attend the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival earlier this year.

“One of the coolest things I saw there is the diverse crowd that came out to support the Asian community,” Marasigan said. “It got me thinking, we want a way for us to get to know one another.”

Organizers plan on having vendors selling international food and merchandise at the festival. Vendors will be located in Canal Park, at 941 Monroe Ave. NW. The festival will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 11 p.m. The event is sponsored by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.

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