These 12 Can’t-Miss Grand Rapids Events Will Keep Your 2015 Calendar Full!

It’s going to be a busy year on Michigan’s west side! Today, our guest blogger from Experience Grand Rapids shares the scoop on twelve can’t miss events happening in the city in 2015. 

Happy New Year!  If you’re like me, you have a fresh 2015 planner just waiting to be filled with the fun things to do this year.  Whether it’s a summer playcation, a weekend away, a date night or a day trip, Grand Rapids is a city chock full of fun in 2015.  Here are twelve big deal events to look forward to this year.

Art Prize PM

Photo courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

ArtPrize 2015
What: The 7th annual open art competition covers the city in a variety of art in all mediums.  Vote for your favorites or take a tour of the juror’s top twenty.
When: September 23rd-October 11th

What: Gilda’s Club in Grand Rapids has one message-  Laughing is good for your health!  Remind yourself of how good it feels to cackle and check out the impressive lineup of comedians headed into town.
When: March 5th-15th

What: This is a brand new festival in Michigan and is centered around an international exhibit in its first US showcase.  DisArt features all artists who have disabilities and “Art of the Lived Experience” will be displayed at a number of local museums surrounding the festival.  DisArt includes more traditional mediums but also features film, fashion, dance and music.
When: April 10th-25th

What: This year will be the third annual Grand Jazz Festival in Grand Rapids- it’s two days of wonderful music and company in Rosa Parks Circle of Downtown GR, and it’s FREE!  If you like jazz or want to fall in love with it, check this out.
When: August 15th and 16th

Freedom Cruise
What: Fifth-Third Ballpark and the DeltaPlex Arena are teaming up to host a huge classic car and bike show to help raise awareness and funds for West Michigan veterans.  Check out the vehicles, enjoy live music, food, and say thanks to the men and women who have served so bravely.
When: June 24th-28th

Photo Courtesy of Pat Evans.

Photo Courtesy of Pat Evans.

Festival of the Arts
What: For 46 years, Grand Rapids has reserved this first weekend in June to celebrate food, music, art, and the beginning of summer.  Six stages are reserved for poets, musicians, storytellers, dancers and film, while Calder Center is transformed by art sale tents.  Check out the juried exhibitions around the downtown area as well.
When: June 5th-7th

Japanese Garden Opening
What:  The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden has been in the works since 2012 and will add eight acres of beauty to the already breathtaking Frederick Meijer Gardens.  Have tea in the authentic Japanese Tea House, walk amongst the waterfalls, or sit and rest in a zen garden.
When: June 13th

What: This year, West Michigan’s Tullymore Golf Resort is excited to host 144 LPGA hopefuls in the Symetra Tour.  The top ten women will win tour memberships for LPGA 2016 and the winner leaves with $15,000.
When: July 3rd-5th

 KBS Week
What: Kentucky Breakfast Stout is an imperial stout brewed with chocolate and coffee and left in the caves beneath Grand Rapids to age for a year in oak bourbon barrels.  It has made beer lovers into fanatics and now merits its own week of celebrated releases.  Kegs are sent all over town in coordinated releases before bottles hit the shelves so try it first in Grand Rapids!
When: March 9th-14th

Experience Pink
What: Susan G. Komen of West Michigan brings you the 2nd annual Experience Pink, a whole month of support and fundraising for the foundation that has brought so many breakthroughs to breast cancer researchers.  Watch the GR Drive, dodgeball between local hotel employees, an exciting match from the GR women’s roller derby team, and a four-course wine dinner at the Holiday Inn in downtown Grand Rapids.
When: February!  An assortment of events on the 9th, 11th, 21st, and 26th

Photo Courtesy of The Electric Cheetah.

Photo Courtesy of The Electric Cheetah.

Cool Brews. Hot Eats.
What: If you like beer AND food, this event was designed for you.  Purposefully planned around GR’s Beer Week and the MI Brewer’s Guild Winter Beer Festival, CBHE marries beer and food in unique ways as chefs get creative in their kitchens.  Dozens of local restaurants are participating so plan to eat out…a lot.
When: February 16th-28th

Restaurant Week GR
What: Just a few short months after CBHE comes Restaurant Week, GR’s proudest culinary weeks on the calendar.  During the peak season for Michigan agriculture, chef’s around town are challenged to produce MI inspired menu items that will wow their guests.  Many design multiple courses or gear the tasting towards couples so grab a partner and try to decide where to eat!
When: August 12th-23rd

What events do you have penciled in your planner for 2015?