GR Festival of the Arts marks 50 years: What to expect

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Festival of the Arts returns to Grand Rapids next week to celebrate its 50th anniversary, with the help of the Grand Rapids Ballet.

Organizers Thursday announced the ballet will grace Calder Stage for a world premiere performance Saturday, June 8 at 7 p.m.

The three-day festival will once again include cultural cuisine and artwork available for purchase, art activities for kids and dance and musical performances.

But there’s some new twists to the summertime tradition. While fewer organizations will be operating food booths this year, several local food trucks are joining the food lineup. They’ll be parked at Monroe Center alongside the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

“We cover about 10 city blocks, from Calder Plaza all the way to Rosa Parks Circle,” said festival executive director David Abbott. 

Perrin Brewing has also created an official festival beer: Amber of the Arts. It will be available at several downtown bars and restaurants.

The 16 food booths operated by nonprofit groups will again serve up some festival favorites, including souvlaki, pavlovas, schawarma sandwiches, deep-fried Oreos and pickles and turkey legs.

Last year, an estimated 300,000 filled downtown Grand Rapids for the festival, which takes hundreds of people to pull off.

Abbott says they could still use more help for this milestone year.

“It really does take a full army of volunteers. We have enough t-shirts and hats to cover 500 folks, so we are looking forward to more people signing up,” Abbott said.

Those interested in helping can sign up on the festival’s website.

Festival of the arts kicks off Friday, June 7.



Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts

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