Five Fun Ways to Celebrate “Fall-o-ween” in Pure Michigan

Today, our guest blogger Lyndsay Israel from The Awesome Mitten shares some seasonally-inspired ways to celebrate “Fall-o-ween” in Pure Michigan.

You may have noticed that we have hit the calendar jackpot for 2014!  Halloween on a Friday?  Does it get any better than that?  This year, plan your fall weekend celebrations right, including those leading up to the 31st- do, or see something new, take your kids somewhere fun, or win the prize at the Halloween party!  Check out these five ‘Fall-o-ween’ fun plans as you plot out the rest of your autumn months.

Fall Camping

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Photo by Lyndsay Israel

Yes, it’s already chilly, but you always sleep better when it’s cold out, right?  A lot of local campgrounds have adopted Halloween weekend events for their campers; these can include anything from a campsite decorating contest to a costume parade for the little campers!  Because the cold is unpredictable, many have moved this tradition to September, but call your favorite place and check.  I can at least point people to Harbor RV Resort in Monroe County, who celebrate Halloween weekly for all of October.  Head that way until the weekend of the 26th to check out their traditions.

Dress Locally

I always think of cool costumes at the most irrelevant times of the year.  If you share that curse, you forget your great ideas by the time you get your costume party invite.  What about going as a Michigan native?  Tim the Toolman Taylor (or Al, if you’re hairier), Kid Rock, Lucille Ball or Madonna all hail from the mitten state…and make for a fun costume.

Take a Drive

Photo by Lyndsay Israel

Photo by Lyndsay Israel

Peak color is happening any minute now but since it started so fast I anticipate a slow disappearance of the leaves…I am not an autumn expert but this is my opinion.  Check out the beautiful Tunnel of Trees from Harbor Springs to Cross Village (on M-119) if you’re close enough, or just find a park near you to appreciate the foliage before it’s replaced by frost.

Get Scared!

Tis the season to get lost in a corn maze or chased by a man with a chainsaw.  If getting scared is your cup of tea, check out The Haunt in Grand Rapids or ride the Junction Valley Spook Train in Saginaw County!  Take a Twilight Walking Tour in Sault St. Marie or take a Marshall Carriage Co. Ghost tour through local cemeteries.  There are no shortage of creepy options in Michigan, and for more ghastly ghosts, check out parts one, two and three of haunted places in Michigan from The Awesome Mitten.

Decorate

Photo by Lyndsay Israel

Photo by Lyndsay Israel

Decorating for Halloween can be a lot of work, but consider it a dry run for the winter holidays yet to come.  Even if you don’t transform your lawn into a spooky cemetery, pumpkins of all shapes and sizes can be transformed to showcase what your house holds dear.  For me, this means a giant football, but with a can of gold spray paint or black lacy tights, pumpkins can lend some class to your front porch.  Good old fashioned jack-o-lantern carving complete with a big candle to last the month is fun for the family, or decorate enough lanterns to line your driveway.  Use the neglected sand box to weigh down your paper bag lanterns, or send the kiddos on a scavenger hunt for rock weights.

For a comprehensive break down of fall fun in Michigan, check out michigan.org for a great list of even more Fall-o-ween to-dos. How are you celebrating “Fall-o-ween” in Pure Michigan this year?

Untitled1Lyndsay Israel is a life long Michigander currently in Traverse City. She has big ole soft spot for Grand Rapids, where she’s been the better part of the last decade.  Passions include writing about Michigan and Michigan craft beer. Future goals include making it through this Northern Michigan this winter, finishing her masters in secondary education at Grand Valley, owning a large dog, and reading as many books as she can.

 

 

 

Three Reasons to Trick-or-Treat at Binder Park Zoo

Halloween is just around the corner! There are many ways to celebrate around the state – including a trip to the zoo! Today, Becca Freybler from Calhoun County Visitors Bureau shares her memories of ZooBoo at Binder Park Zoo and gives us three sweet reasons to trick-or-treat with the animals. 

Photo courtesy of Binder Park Zoo

Photo courtesy of Binder Park Zoo

This year, Binder Park Zoo’s ZooBoo celebrates 28 years of Halloween fun! Growing up in Battle Creek, I have great memories from my childhood going to trick-or-treating through the zoo during ZooBoo.  I especially remember how much fun it was to put on my costume, get into the minivan and then drive through the zoo entrance and see all the decorations.

Since its start, ZooBoo has grown and now includes so much more than just the trick-or-treating trail.  ZooBoo is an amazing Halloween festival in the zoo, it is creating happy and fun memories for so many kids. Here are some reasons why Binder Park Zoo’s ZooBoo is so special.

Photo courtesy of Calhoun County CVB

Photo courtesy of Calhoun County Visitors Bureau

Community Pumpkin Carve
Every year before ZooBoo starts, Binder Park Zoo holds a pumpkin carve. Anyone can come and help carve the hundreds pumpkins that will be displayed throughout the zoo. Kids are so excited to come back and find where their pumpkin is placed.  It gives visitors a sense that they contributed to making this event happen. This year’s carve is on October 14 from 4-7pm.   It’s so much fun that our whole CVB staff will be there to help carve this year.

It’s in a Zoo
Everyone loves the zoo.  Coming to the zoo when it is all decked out in Halloween and fall décor makes it seem magical.  It’s worth a visit to see the zoo at night during such a fun, festive event.  All the decorations in the main zoo are “merry-not-scary” decorations so this event is great for all ages.

Photo courtesy of Calhoun County Visitors Bureau

Photo courtesy of Calhoun County Visitors Bureau

More than just Trick-or-Treating
Yes, the main attraction is the trick-or-treating for the kids but there is so much more to do! There are animal presentations, the fall classic straw maze, black light mini-golf, a carnival, carousel rides, and even a Haunted Hayride through Wild Africa. Yes, you heard me right. Binder Park has an Africa that makes you feel like you went on an African safari. The Haunted Hayride is for those that want a little more adventure!

ZooBoo is a great event for families and your kids will want to go back every year. You will too! Even as an adult, I still love ZooBoo and want to go back because I love the Halloween spirit that the zoo gives off this time of year. The memories it creates are timeless.

ZooBoo runs from October 15-30.
Wednesday – Friday: 5-8pm
Saturday – Sunday: 3-8pm
Haunted Africa is on Friday & Saturday ONLY from 6-8pm

Screen-Shot-2014-05-31-at-8.55.38-PM-250x194Becca Freybler is the Digital Media Marketing Manager for the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau, handling all of their digital platforms.  She has worked for the CVB since 2010. Becca is a Michigan State University graduate and a lifelong Battle Creek resident. Outside of work she enjoys sports, cooking, being outdoors, and owns a Collie named Simba.

Transforming the Grand Rapids Downtown Market for ArtPrize 2014

The first round of votes are in and the top 20 entries at ArtPrize 2014 have been revealed! As we head into the final week of the art competition in Downtown Grand Rapids, guest blogger Claire Duthler tells us how one of this year’s first-time venues, the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, was transformed into a public art gallery for ArtPrize.

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 11.32.30 AMThe Grand Rapids Downtown Market celebrated its one-year anniversary on Labor Day weekend, with several exciting updates such as becoming LEED Gold certified, the opening of a new sushi bar and Creperie, and announcement of Food A’Faire, a fundraiser to benefit the Market’s Education Foundation. And what better way to continue that celebration through September and into fall than being a first-time venue in the sixth annual ArtPrize?

Downtown Market businesses are excited to be part of the action, welcoming ArtPrize crowds to “See our art. Taste our food.” Six pieces of art are exhibited at the Downtown Market, with installations located on both levels indoors as well as outdoors in the Market Shed.

ArtPrize is an excellent way to invite more community members in the doors to see how the artists have transformed the public spaces, as well as experience what else the market has to offer: 20 artisan food vendors, a picturesque greenhouse, beautiful patio to sit and enjoy a meal and an outdoor farmer’s market on Saturdays through November.

The Downtown Market’s mission includes engaging with the community in multiple ways and increasing accessibility to healthy food and nutrition education. In addition to welcoming guests in for public events such as ArtPrize, the Market works with local organizations on job training and programs such as the Healthy Eating for All scholarship program. Healthy Eating for All provides class scholarships to those with low-income to ensure they can learn about healthy eating and have the resources to purchase fresh produce at the Market

The Downtown Market’s education department even got in on the ArtPrize fun, hosting classes that combine our love of food with the season’s Art theme, such as “Play with your food”, “Artful Food Photography” And “Artful Dishes for ArtPrize.” While those classes are over now, the October schedule is full of upcoming classes filled with fresh local food themes, such as canning, cooking with seasonal produce, preserving root vegetables, homemade pasta, and more!

See our Art:

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 11.32.12 AMEntering the Market, guests are greeted by “Bloom Bloom,” Dana Lynn Harper’s overhead creation made of construction flagging tape and chicken wire. This beautifully bright piece is suspended from the ceiling of the Market Shed, blowing in the breeze, inviting onlookers to stop for a moment and look up.

Under the stairs to the second floor, Emily Moore’s “Ornamental Invasion” utilizes materials, ornamentation, location, and size as a means of processing Western society’s role in the degradation of nature and historical disparagement of anything understood as “feminine.”

Suspended from the ceiling and visible from both the downstairs and upstairs, “Mississippi Flyway: Alive in the Sky,” by mother-daughter duo Joan and Catherine Game, illustrates the path of migratory birds who use the Mississipppi River flight path to travel north and south. Thirty-four birds are represented as painted paper kites, with information below about each species.

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 11.35.39 AMIn the second floor atrium, “Oil Flowers,” a group of brightly colored, cartoonish flowers take on a more somber character when you read that they are created from plastic bags, which are made with substances derived from oil. This installation by Jerry Bleem addresses the ecological concerns associated with the material.

In the second floor hallway, two sets of paintings completes the ArtPrize art at the market. “A B See?” by Joel Schoon-Tanis is composed of 26 alphabetically themed canvases, approaching painting through a child’s lens. “Dinner Party,” by Christy De Hoog Johnson is a series of three abstract narrative paintings, each representing one piece of a story: The first is Cocktails; the second, Conversation; and the third, Charades.

An ArtPrize popup shop is also located in the Market Hall for art browsers to purchase ArtPrize gear. And a kids coloring area in the open seating area lets little ones get in on the action too by creating their own masterpieces for the refrigerator at home!

See more of the art featured across downtown Grand Rapids in the video below! Be sure to vote for your favorite piece by October 9th at midnight.

claireClaire Duthler is the special events and leasing manager at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, handling inquiries about being a Market tenant and coordinating special community events hosted by the Market.