The Chamber Hot List for Summer Festivals in Grand Rapids
With summer comes an array of amazing festivals to attend in West Michigan. To help you enjoy Grand Rapids at its best, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite festivals that you can’t afford to miss. Whether you’re looking for something centered on arts, culture, community, or beer, there’s a festival in town for you to enjoy this summer!
Festival of the Arts
June 1 – 3, 2018
Calder Plaza (La Grand Vitesse) – 300 Ottawa Ave. NW
This annual three-day festival has been a staple in our community for ages… and for a good reason! The Festival of the Arts is a fantastic celebration of dance, music, theater, and the arts in general. There will be something for everyone at this event, regardless of which form of art speaks to you most. Whether you enjoy poetry, dancing, theatre, music, storytelling, or film, your interests will be covered. There will also be a juried regional art exhibition, food booths run by non-profit organizations, creative activities for children and adults to enjoy making their own art, and art for sale by West Michigan artists. Every purchase at the festival from food to art to t-shirts and posters gives back to the West Michigan community.
Admission is free. This event is kid-friendly.
For more information, visit festivalgr.org.
Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival
June 9, 2018
Rosa Parks Circle
The Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival is back for its second year – and it’ll be even bigger and better than the last. This spectacular event will showcase the rich culture that Asia and the Pacific Islands have to offer. From lion dances to martial arts demonstrations, fashion shows, and paper dragon making for the kids, it will be a melting pot of everything Asian! And, of course, there will be loads of delicious food from local restaurants like Indian Masala, Cafe Boba, Emonae Korean Barbecue, and more. “This is an opportunity for Asian culture and the community to be celebrated in a grand way while bringing people from different backgrounds together and fostering collaboration,” said Ace Marasigan, founder of the festival. “This year, we’re making it even bigger with an appearance by three champion sumo wrestlers, a luau hour with a Samoan fire dancer, and an improved children’s area with interactive stations.” Don’t worry though; they didn’t forget the beer – both local and Asian.
For more information or to learn the complete list of activities and offerings, visit grasianfestival.com.
June 16, 2018
Founders Brewing Co. – 235 Grandville Ave SW
Do you love beer? What about live music and food? Well, mark your calendars because Founders Fest is back for its 11th installment! A treat for any craft beer fan, Founders Fest is held in Founders main taproom and heads all the way into the streets. This event perfectly marries the fun of drinking beer with the enjoyment of listening to live music. The streets surrounding the brewery are shut down, making room for talented local artists, local food vendors… and of course, beer! Lots of it. Your ticket gets you access to the festival, entertainment, and covers two drink tickets or your first pint.
This year’s performers include Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Antibalas, and Monophonics, to name a few.
Must be 21 to attend.
For more information on tickets or the artist lineup, visit foundersbrewing.com.
Grand Rapids Pride Festival
June 16, 2018
The annual pride festival turns 30 this year, and is appropriately named “30 & Fabulous.” Celebrate 30 with West Michigan’s LGBTQ community and show your support by joining them for a full day of fun, entertainment, eating and drinking. The headliner for this year’s event is Australian singer and songwriter, Betty Who. All proceeds support the work of the Grand Rapids Pride Center, an organization that been empowering the LGBTQ community in Grand Rapids since 1988 through social and support groups, education, and advocacy.
Tickets are available now.
For more information, visit www.pride.org.
4th of July Family Fireworks
July 7, 2018
If you don’t have plans for the 4th of July weekend yet, why not celebrate it with some fireworks at one of the best views in town? Every Saturday closest to the fourth of July, the Amway hosts an Independence Day celebration. So bring a mat, find your spot on the lawn of Ah-Nab-Awen Park, and enjoy the fantastic display of pretty lights! Arrive early though, because there will also be plenty of family fun activities, games, food trucks, vendor exhibits, and live bands.
For more information, visit 4thofjulygr.com.
Grand Rapids Hispanic Festival
August 10 – 12, 2018
The Hispanic Festival has been with Grand Rapids for over 40 years and proudly celebrates the rich heritage of the Latino community in West Michigan. This year will feature stage entertainment, Latin American food, cultural performers, a kids’ activities area, and for the first time ever, a full Mariachi band. “We made an intentional effort to celebrate all types of Latin American culture this year,” said Cesar Gonzalez, Board Chair of the Hispanic Center of West Michigan. “I believe that through the different offerings this event will provide, we will successfully showcase all those cultures while still celebrating the uniqueness of each in a family-friendly environment.”
This event is free to attend. For more information, visit hispanic-center.org/culture.
August 18 & 19, 2018
Rosa Parks Circle
GRandJazzFest presented by DTE Energy Foundation is West Michigan’s only free, weekend-long jazz festival. The 7th annual festival will bring to the stage notable jazz performers as well as up-and-coming artists for diverse audiences. So bring some folding chairs, blankets, and snacks and get ready to relax and jam along to some great music!
For more information, visit grandjazzfest.org
Grand Rapids Polish Festival
August 24 – 26, 2018
Rosa Parks Circle
Polish culture takes front and center stage at this free three-day festival held by the Polish Heritage Society. Come by for its 39th installment to enjoy cooking demonstrations, Polish dances and more! Children’s activities are held on Saturday, and a Polish food and beer tent is open throughout the festival. “We have all the traditional food items such as golumpki, pierogi, kielbasa (Polish sausage), and even dessert. We have polka music all weekend alongside many activities for both children and adults,” said Adam Porczynski, festival chairperson. “This festival is run 100 percent by volunteers and has donated to causes like Kids’ Food Basket in the past. It generates lots of revenue in the downtown area and we often see people at our festival with products from surrounding businesses. We love being at Rosa Parks Circle and we see it as a win-win for us, for the surrounding businesses, the City of Grand Rapids, and the Polish Heritage Society.” Don’t forget to top off your experience with a trip through the Polish marketplace, featuring amber jewelry, Polish glass, baked goods, and pottery, and more.