Monday, June 4, 2012

Downtown GR Art Festival

Every spring Grand Rapids has a three-day art festival downtown.   We didn't experience it last year because I think we were in Iowa, but thought we would take a couple hours and check it out this year.  Our first plan was to go in the afternoon after Russ, Caleb, and Nicolas got back from the State track meet.  Amazingly, Makayla jumped 16' 6" which was a foot farther than her PR and qualified for finals.  (She ended up placing 7th overall--not bad for a freshman!).  By the time Russ got home it was spitting rain so we decided to eat an early supper and weather permitting head out after that.   It turned out to be a beautiful evening to walk the streets of Grand Rapids.   We parked by the fish ladder and strolled along the river into town.  The art festival is kind of like the Saturday morning of Tulip Festival x 5.     The festival featured 5-6 main stages throughout the downtown area where everything from gospel to hip-hop and from pop to polka bands performed.  We also saw several dance routines:   from 2-3 y/o attempting to perform beyond their functional gross motor capabilities to 70-80 y/o shaking their booties.  The street with food booths featured over 30 vendors and included many ethnic foods such as Greek, Lebanese, Polish, Indian, Chinese, Bosnian, and Vietnamese.  All were authentic foods and sponsored by churches, mosques, temples, cultural centers, and even meditation centers.   Many local artists set up booths in a couple of large tents in front of the city hall.  Most of the art activities for kids had closed for the night because of the rain earlier in the afternoon, but they included things such as face painting, sidewalk chalk (actually on the street!), hat decorating, and lots of other stuff.  Two or three artists also set up booths near Rosa Parks Circle to draw caricatures right on the spot which is always fun to watch.   I had taken my camera along and had planned to take some pictures, but there was no way to capture the sounds and smells of all the bands/groups and food booths.   And I wasn't brave enough to start snapping pictures of all the people that we saw.  So, I took one picture at the beginning of our trek along the river,

and another at the end of our evening at Burger King enjoying an ice cream cone.  Did I mention the food was incredibly expensive?   The cheapest ice cream cone we found was $3.00, so we settled for $1.00 ones at Burger King.

 Russ and I agreed that this would be a great date night next year.  We would love to try out one or two ethnic booths and just walk around or sit and enjoy the music without having to keep track of five others!

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