A Guide to Festival 2017 – for Families

Festival of the Arts

Festival of the Arts Kicks Off Summer

Festival of the Arts is always the first full weekend in June and is widely known as the unofficial kickoff of summer in Grand Rapids. Festival is a FREE three-day community event that features several performance stages, a juried Regional Arts Exhibition, and a wide variety of food booths. It also includes creative activities for children and adults as well as the option to purchase art from West Michigan artists.

In this, the 48th year of Festival, visitors will celebrate the history of the last 4 decades with the theme “Make It a Family Tradition.” Dates for Festival 2017 are June 2, 3, and 4.

For all the latest information about Festival of the Arts, including performance schedules, activities, and food booths, visit festivalgr.org or check out the organization’s Facebook page.

Festival of the arts performance

Visit the NEW Kids’ World Stage at Rosa Parks Circle

This year, organizers are revamping the children’s activities and performances to create a “Kids’ World,” which will be located at the Rosa Parks Circle stage during all three days.

Friday stage performances at Rosa Parks Circle stage include the Gemini Brothers, Kevin Kammeraad, and Miranda of “The Miranda Show.” Saturday features Jim the Spoon Man, John Ball Zoo, Dilly Songs, and the Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities.

festival of the arts rosa parks circle downtown Grand Rapids


There’s Cool Stuff at the Other Stages, Too

The other popular Festival stages, Calder, City, and Outer Fringe will be open and hosting a wide variety of performances by artists hailing from eight West Michigan counties. New this year is the Kendall Stage, located on Pearl Street between the Ferris State KCAD main building and the Kendall Galleries.
Festival of the arts performance

Hands-On Activities for All Ages

Everyone gets a chance to join in on hands-on participation fun with Adult Paint-In and Swingin’ Art, and returning for the first time since the late ‘80s, Festival is bringing back block printing to the Printmaking Booth. You can also participate in screen printing – just bring your own material or purchase a t-shirt at the venue and then get crafty (youth and adult sizes available).
Kids can also participate in Children’s Activities – Paint In, Glue In, Face Painting and more.
Paint In Festival of the Arts Grand Rapids Glue In Festival of the Arts Grand Rapids

SEE ALSO: Grand Rapids Summer Camps Guide – 2017

 And Don’t Forget the Food!

Last but certainly not least, Festival continues the tradition of including the culinary arts in its mix, where year after year visitors experience flavors from around the world along the streets of downtown Grand Rapids. More than twenty-five food booths operated by non-profits will be offering a variety of items from the popular souvlaki sandwich to popcorn and much more.
Festival of the arts food Grand Rapids

Tips from a Mom who Went Last Year

  • Last year, Parking at the Van Andel Arena was easiest for us and only $5. This year, you can find a good place to park using this interactive tool.
  • Last year there was free face painting for kids behind the Calder/federal building
  • There is Paint-In (free painting for just the kids) before you reach the Calder stage
  • Booth #3 will be selling popsicles.
  • There is an indoor changing/feeding area for infants with regular bathrooms too. You go into the Festival headquarters behind the Calder and take the elevator downstairs
  • Georgetown United Methodist Church (booth #14) sells Hudsonville Ice cream in waffle cones! It’s a yearly staple for so many people who visit Festival.
  • Kids can get a festival balloon near the Calder.

Paint In Festival of the Arts Grand Rapids

For all the latest information about Festival of the Arts, including performance schedules, activities, and food booths, visit festivalgr.org or check out the organization’s Facebook page.

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