LaughFest is a fest that is made for all of us, and that is a good thing. We could all use more laughter.  

The countdown is “on” for the eighth annual Gilda’s LaughFest created by Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, which runs March 8-18. The 10-day festival based out of Grand Rapids features events throughout West Michigan that emphasize the impact laughter has on our emotional and physical wellbeing.

Gilda’s LaughFest offers a variety of events to induce laughter, including stand up comedy, improv, movie screenings, and more.

When you hear “Gilda’s LaughFest” some may think, “oh just another festival in Grand Rapids,” when in fact, LaughFest is much bigger than this.

LaughFest 2018 LogoFact: Gilda's LaughFest is the first-ever community-wide festival dedicated to laughter! 
Photo credit: Gilda's LaughFest 

How are the proceeds from Gilda’s LaughFest distributed?

All proceeds from Gilda’s LaughFest go towards Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids, which provides support to those who are fighting cancer and experiencing grief and loss within their lives. LaughFest was created as a reminder that we should all try to strive to have more laughter in our lives, even when/if we are experiencing hardship.

Why have an entire festival dedicated to laughter?

Having a good laugh feels great! But why is that?

According to medical professionals:

  • Laughter relaxes the body and can have muscles feeling relaxed up to 45 minutes later.

  • Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells.

  • Laughter increase endorphins which are the feel-good chemicals in our bodies.

  • Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow. You can burn up to 45 calories by laughing 10-15 minutes a day!

  • Laughter diffuses anger.

  • Laughter has been proven to help people live longer.

Moral of the story: There is a lot of positive stuff that happens when you laugh! With all the benefits of laughter, why don’t we laugh more often?

People forming LaughFest logo at Calder Plaza in Grand Rapids for LaughFest 2011
Fact: Since it's origination, LaughFest has attracted over 50,000 attendees every year!
Photo credit: Experience Grand Rapids

Ideas to bring health and laughter together:

This year’s LaughFest lineup is jam-packed with events that will make you laugh until it hurts (because laughter is good for you, of course!).

The fifth annual FUNderwear Run invites the community to participate in the 0.6 mile run, which begins at New Holland Brewing - The Knickerbocker at 2PM on Sunday, March 11. Runners are encouraged to wear a pair of underwear over their running gear for a humorous event that’s geared to bring laughter and awareness to emotional health on the streets of Grand Rapids (literally). Click here to register for the FUNderwear Run.

Next up, is the Kids Rock Hip Hop Dance Party which will take place on Saturday, March 10 at 11 AM and 2 PM at H.O.M.E. at The B.O.B. For only $7 a person, families can dance the day away to live, kid-friendly DJs! Click here to purchase tickets for the Kids Rock Hip Hop Dance Party.

Runners during the LaughFest FUNderware Run in Grand Rapids
LaughFest's annual FUNderwear Fun is a great combination of health and laughter... and underwear.
Photo credit: LaughFest

A spin-off of The Amazing Race, Minute to Win It, and Expedition Possible, comes the Seriously Funny Family Adventure Challenge. This event is free to the public and involves teams of 2-4 people exploring downtown Grand Rapids to accomplish timed challenges. Click here for more information on this comical downtown adventure.

Check out LaughFest’s LaughteRx event series that educates attendees on the importance laughter plays on our day-to-day lives. Some LaughteRx events include Laughter Yoga, Healing Improv, and Laughter as Medicine: What can research tell us?.

There is plenty for people of all ages to take part in for this year’s LaughFest. Click here for a list of all LaughFest events.

Go laugh, meet new people, support a great cause, and experience this fun-filled event that takes place in our great city!