Looking Back at Beer City

by Lyndsay Israel on April 22, 2014

As we finally see signs of spring in Michigan, beer enthusiasts around Grand Rapids began advocating to hold our Beer City title through 2014.  In a surprise move by the founder of the poll, Colorado homebrewer Charlie Papazian, the Beer City poll has been declared finished!  Papazian is proud that it has served its purpose for five years of bringing great beer into the spotlight.  For at least the last two rounds of voting, thousands of gallons of that spotlight beer has been Michigan made.

Photo Courtesy of Brewery Vivant

Photo Courtesy of Brewery Vivant

In May of 2012, 17,849 votes were cast in favor of Grand Rapids as Beer City USA; A tie with the votes cast for Asheville, NC.  The two cities gladly shared the title and the glory during the fourth year of the online poll.  In 2013, Grand Rapids mobilized for the win.  Brewers, enthusiasts and unsuspecting brew-pub customers were swept up in the spirit of the campaigning process that lasted a week. 27,005 voters from Michigan and beyond rallied behind the burgeoning craft beverage industry in West Michigan and we brought the Beer City home.  As Grand Rapids prepares to retire the title, let’s look back at what else a simple and non-scientific poll has changed for this community. [read more…]

West Michigan Spring/Summer Festival Preview

by Amy Busse on April 17, 2014


Sparky, the inspiration for Dutch Dogs on Parade. Photo courtesy of Julie Raak

Summer in West Michigan brings beach days, ice cream and festivals! With so much going on it’s hard to keep track of it all. We’ve done the work for you and are happy to share. So grab a pen and your calendar and start planning some summer fun.


May 3-10 marks the 85th anniversary of the Tulip Time Festival in Holland. Millions of tulips, three parades, Dutch dance performances, national and local entertainment, fireworks, art & craft fair and more will be available for your enjoyment along the lakeshore.

While Tulip Time does feature millions of tulips, the festival is about so much more than those harbingers of spring. Entertainers range from Bill Cosby to the Chicago sketch comedy theatre The Second City. If you enjoy working up a sweat be sure to partake in the King’s Day Criterium or Tulip Time Run featuring a 5K, 10K and a 1K kid’s fun run. And don’t forget the spectacular fireworks that kick off the week along with the weeklong carnival in this scenic town.

“Holland in the spring is absolutely beautiful,” said Susan Zalnis, Marketing and Group Sales Coordinator, for the Tulip Time Festival. “I love to walk down the streets of downtown Holland, ‘people watch’ and see people enjoying our town.”

And this year, you can ‘dog watch’ too!

“One day a volunteer brought her dog -Sparky in a Dutch costume and we couldn’t resist the idea of having Dutch Dogs in the parade,” Zalnis said. Don’t worry though, your dog does not have to be as elaborate as Sparky. Anything with some Dutch spirit will do! If you and your dog are interested be sure to join the fun! [read more…]

Spring is in the air! Get your family out and and come and explore Grand Rapids!

To help you get started, we’ve rounded up family-friendly things to do in GR each day of the week. Let’s go!

Evening Fun All Week Long

If it’s MONDAY it’s probably a good day to take in a baseball game with our very own West Michigan Whitecaps.  Chances are, they will be in town for one of their Monday night games. Each game offers different promotions. Let’s Go Whitecaps! Fifth Third Ballpark, 4500 West River Drive, Comstock Park.

Home of the West Michigan Whitecaps

TUESDAY evenings offer a few different opportunities. You can stay out late at Frederik Meijer Gardens where special family activities are often planned for evening hours.  Or visit the Grand Rapids Public Museum, which also stays open late on Tuesdays. Right now you can take in the Dinosaurs Unearthed exhibit (through April 27) or the Dream It Build It LEGO® Exhibit (through Aug 31). Don’t forget to ride the carousel while you are there! Frederik Meijer Gardens are located at 1000 East Beltline Ave NE and the Grand Rapids Public Museum is at 272 Pearl Street NW. [read more…]

Tons of Trails: Mountain and Road Biking in West Michigan

by Kirsetin Morello on April 3, 2014

Bicyclers rejoice: the springtime thaw is at finally hand. Although some hardy souls have already hit the road, for many of us now’s the time to get our bikes tuned up (or purchase new equipment) for the season.

Grand Rapids Bicycle Shop

Grand Rapids Bicycle Shop

There’s no shortage of awesome bike shops in Grand Rapids to help you do just that. If you’re in the market for new gear for you or your bike, or are ready for an annual tune-up, check out any of these local shops: [read more…]

Grand Rapids is filled with delicious foodie finds: chewy boiled bagels, spicy salsa, thai basil-lemon marshmallows, and hand cranked sausages. But you have to know where to look, and where it all started. Read on, I’ve got your answers.

Uptown Kitchen in GR’s Eastown neighborhood, is a shared-use incubator kitchen that food businesses can rent on an hourly basis to test and produce their product. Uptown Kitchen, owned by Kelly LeCoy, offers a well-equipped commercial kitchen and knowledgable answers to all the questions a food entrepreneur might ask. It’s a perfect recipe for launching dynamic food businesses that add flavor and variety to the culinary landscape.

Kelly Lecoy, Owner of Uptown Kitchen  Photo Credit: Brad / Bradley Productions

Kelly LeCoy, Owner of Uptown Kitchen
Photo Credit: Brad / Bradley Productions

[read more…]

What kiddo doesn’t love learning about space?  It’s one of those subjects that can inspire awe in the hearts and minds of any age group, but it’s more important now than ever that we continue to show our children how amazing this universe is…and how big.

Luckily for West Michigan, the Grand Rapids Public Museum recognized a need for that education to be made accessible years ago, and have been faithful to the community as a center for learning.  March 6th, 2014 marked the date of their re-opening, after six months of renovations.  The Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium has been exquisitely improved for residents and visitors of all ages to enjoy. [read more…]

Spring Break is Coming! Plan Your Child’s Week Now.

by Melody VanderWeide March 20, 2014

It might be hard to believe with snow still on the ground, but for Grand Rapids kids, Spring Break is just around the corner. It’s time to start planning some activities to keep you all from climbing the walls during your week off. Luckily, Grand Rapids is brimming with Spring Break fun! Here are five [...]

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The Grand Rapids Film Festival is Almost Here!

by Kirsetin Morello March 18, 2014

Forget about a trip to Cannes: we have our own stellar film festival right here in Grand Rapids! Get ready to view some fantastic flicks at the The Grand Rapids Film Festival, which runs from April 9 – 13, 2014. With 45 films, including 8 from Michigan and others from the Netherlands, the UK, Serbia, [...]

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Take Me Out to the Ballgame! The Whitecaps Kick Off Their 2014 Season Soon

by Lyndsay Israel March 13, 2014

If you’re missing football or already losing your March Madness bracket, you’re in luck! Baseball is coming back to Grand Rapids quicker than you can say “Strike!” Fifth-Third Ballpark, home of the West Michigan Whitecaps, has endured an unprecedented off-season and is excited to announce opening day on April 8th, 2014. In January of this year, [...]

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Grand Rapids Spring Arts Preview

by Amy Busse March 6, 2014

While the weather forecast might not indicate spring is on the way, luckily the Grand Rapids arts scene goes by the calendar and new shows, exhibits and experiences are popping up like tulips. Kicking off spring theater in Grand Rapids is the new Grand Rapids Civic Theatre production of Les Misérables. “We were the first [...]

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