Experience Serious Laughs in Grand Rapids this Month

Have you been looking for an excuse to explore the west side of Michigan? Consider LaughFest in Grand Rapids! LaughFest is an annual comedy-filled event you won’t want to miss.  

The sixth annual LaughFest boasts hundreds of comedic acts including solo performers, groups, and community showcase participants March 10-20 in and around Grand Rapids. With big name acts including Seth Myers, Kathy Griffin and Emmy Award winner and Grammy Award nominee David Cross there is someone to fit everyone’s sense of humor.

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

“It’s one of the many things that makes West Michigan a unique place,” Joanne Roehm, festival director for Gilda’s LaughFest, said. “LaughFest is a great opportunity to get out of the house, laugh a lot, and beat the winter blues – all for a good cause. Raising funds for free cancer and grief programming offered through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.”

Over the past five years, the ten-day festival has raised over $1,000,000 in proceeds for Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids which provides free emotional healthcare to children, adults, families, and friends on any kind of cancer journey or those grieving the death of someone in their life due to any cause.

This year, LaughFest partnered with over 50 locations throughout Grand Rapids for #selfieswithsmiles. This fun, social media campaign is a fun and easy way to get involved with LaughFest and win some great prizes to commemorate your stay!

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

To enter, while out and about in Grand Rapids, look for a LaughFest #selfieswithsmiles poster at most of the LaughFest key venues and snap your selfie! Then simply tag #selfieswithsmiles and #experiencegrandrapids on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and you’re entered to win LaughFest tickets and swag, Beer City USA merchandise, and restaurant gift certificates. Find and take selfies with as many #selfieswithsmiles posters as you can for more chances to win in the weekly drawing. Winners are announced via social media so be sure to follow and “like” LaughFest and Experience Grand Rapids on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

When asked if any of the LaughFest comedians might be at the #selfiewithsmiles locations, Roehm answered coyly, “You never know what will happen during LaughFest!”

So get your tickets and head on over to Grand Rapids for LaughFest 2016. It promises to be seriously funny.

Have you ever attended LaughFest? Share your experience with us below!

Go Back in Time with the Michigan Historical Museum

If you’re one of the many Michigan hunters or outdoor enthusiasts hitting the  woods this season – likely decked out in scent-control clothing and equipped with a smart phone, GPS unit and other gadgets – can you imagine a time when outdoor gear meant simple survival necessities like a reliable compass, a well-designed knife or a waterproof matchbox? 

The Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing takes a trip back to that time with a new exhibit about the Upper Peninsula’s greatest inventor you’ve probably never heard of – Webster Marble – and the outdoor products he perfected and manufactured right here in Pure Michigan.

The “Inventing the Outdoors” series takes us back to the start of the last century, when people started to see the outdoors as a place to relax and enjoy themselves. At the same time, Webster Marble started a company in Gladstone, Michigan, that would eventually outfit hunters, anglers, campers and hikers around the world.

Webster Marble’s Game Getter gun and Waterproof Match Box

Photo Courtesy of Michigan DNR

Take an up-close look at artifacts including safety folding axes, many models of unique hunting knives, automatic fish gaffs, and the famous Game Getter gun in this exhibit that explores Marble’s genius for innovation. Marble owned more than 60 patents, and his designs set the standard for the 20th century in outdoor products such as knives, compasses, match boxes, axes and gun sights. His Michigan-made products became known worldwide and were even used on Teddy Roosevelt’s hunting trips, Robert Peary’s expeditions and Charles Lindbergh’s flights.

Webster Marble’s Ideal knife

Photo Courtesy of Michigan DNR

Inventing the Outdoors” also gives you a chance to examine your own outdoor experiences and lets children experience life in the Michigan woods 100 years ago. You can get creative by building a lean-to, singing songs or telling stories around a fire pit, giving shape to your ideas at a “makers” innovation table, and sharing your outdoor experiences through drawing or writing.

Photo Courtesy of Michigan DNR

Webster Marble’s marketing included catalogs for both dealers and direct-sale customers, like this one from 1915.

The second Saturday of every month, the Michigan Historical Museum will feature family activities related to innovation. For more information on the popular “Second Saturdays” program, go to www.michigan.gov/museum.

And be sure to visit the Michigan Historical Museum on Facebook for behind-the-scenes exhibit and artifact photos, and personal stories of outdoor life.

Have you ever visited the Michigan Historical Museum? Share your experience with us below!

8 Detroit Attractions to Add to Your Auto Show Itinerary

The North American International Auto Show (Jan. 11-24) feels like the Academy Awards of the auto industry: the excitement, the lights, the jazzed-up displays. If you attend the Charity Preview on Jan. 15, you’ll see crowds in tailored designer getups, too. But the real stars are the cars, and being from the Motor City, we all know Detroit is filled with tons of automotive culture worth exploring.

Whether this is your first time at NAIAS or you’re a seasoned veteran, guest blogger Danielle Schmidt of Visit Detroit shares some can’t-miss sights and things to do in the Motor City. 

First-Timer Tips

If you’re a newbie to NAIAS, don’t sweat it; we’ve got a few tips to hand over so you can focus on finding your new dream ride.

While you’re in town, hit up some of The D’s other auto attractions:

Detroit Historical Museum (Downtown Detroit) This place knows Detroit history. Its car-centric exhibit, America’s Motor City, shows and tells why Detroit got its nickname and how cars are built here.

Car-Centric Exhibit at Detroit Historical Museum

Photo Courtesy of Visit Detroit

Ford Piquette Avenue Plant (Downtown Detroit) This is the actual space where the Model T was dreamt up and built in 1908. It’s a symbol of Detroit’s inventive spirit and its impact on all things automotive. You’ll even see a true recreation of Henry Ford’s office.

GM Showroom (Downtown Detroit) Inside General Motors’ world headquarters is a 40,000-square-foot display of GM’s latest models and initiatives. Take a complimentary tour of the Renaissance Center, which gathers twice daily, Monday-Friday at noon and 2 p.m.

The Henry Ford (Dearborn) With iconic artifacts including the Rosa Parks bus and the Kennedy Presidential Limousine, THF is an American gem. Driving America walks you through the evolution of the automobile. Catch a film at the IMAX Theatre before taking a shuttle to the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, a real-working Ford F-150 factory.

Driving America Exhibit at The Henry Ford

Photo Courtesy of Visit Detroit

Automotive Hall of Fame (Dearborn) It’s a space of honor that celebrates the great accomplishments of men and women in the automotive industry. You can get up close and personal to examine exhibits of early automobiles.

Walter P. Chrysler Museum (Auburn Hills) This 55,000-square-foot, three-floor space hosts a collection covering more than a century, with 65 antique, custom and concept cars. Learn the history of Chrysler’s journey through interactive displays and historical exhibits.

Meadow Brook Hall (Rochester Hills) Just outside Detroit, get a glimpse of how automotive royalty lived. This was the home of John F. Dodge’s wife, Matilda Dodge Wilson. A 1920s Tudor mansion with 110 rooms, its impressive walls tell the family’s stories of the Dodge and Wilson families.

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House (Grosse Pointe Shores) This was the home of Henry and Clara Ford. The 1926 mansion designed by famous Detroit architect Albert Kahn sits on 87 acres of land.

The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores

Photo Courtesy of Visit Detroit

Where to Eat

There are many great restaurants near Cobo Center. Here are a few lists to get you started: 9 Restaurants Near Cobo Center Detroit’s Newest Restaurants Downtown Detroit Dining Search If you’re not wanting to venture out, try Cobo’s Made In Detroit Food Court; Go Natural, a healthy concession area; or Cork and Grind, a new coffee and wine bar.

Where to Stay

Extend your trip to explore more of America’s great comeback city. Find a hotel. 

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Danielle Schmidt is the Marketing Specialist (aka storyteller) for the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. She writes and edits for the Visit Detroit Blog, Visit Detroit magazine and materials that promote The D and its comeback, while taking way too many pictures for Visit Detroit’s Instagram account.