[note] grkids.com is proud to be a LaughFest media partner. [/note]
[pullquote_left] by Melody V. [/pullquote_left]
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Are you proud of Grand Rapids?

I am!

In just a few short years, this community has birthed and supported two major community events- ArtPrize and LaughFest. Not to mention that Forbes named us the best metro area in the country to raise a family!

Part of our town’s charm is that we are a giving, caring community. And Laughfest has brought that to the forefront. As a laughter festival created to “honor laughter as an essential part of emotional health and well-being” as well as “raise awareness and funds …as they find their smile and laughter in the midst of a cancer or grief journey” is the epitome of giving back. I hope that you’ll continue to support this amazing event!

On to the details: Let me tell you a few secrets that will help make your LaughFest experience a serious success:

  1. Get tickets to any event ahead of time… even the small acts. LaughFest is popular. More and more people are heading out each year. Getting tickets ahead of time will ward off disappointment.
  2. Get a Fast Pass to free events. If you have a Fast Pass, you are guaranteed a seat at a free event as long as you are in your seat 15 minutes prior to showtime. Fast passes are available at LaughFest Central, which is located inside the GR Art Museum at 101 Monroe Center.
  3. Look for events labeled FAM. Using the Laughfest “Find Events” feature is pretty easy. Just choose “Family Friendly” under the content guidelines menu and you’ll be served up all Family-Friendly options. Or you can click here.
Top Stops for your Family
  • Opening Night Community Kick-Off. LaughFest is asking the community to help us break the existing Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people who are wearing false mustaches! Individuals wishing to help break this existing record at the LaughFest 2013 opening night will be provided with an official LaughFest mustache. Here’s the run down for the night:5:30 PM, mustache lineup begins near Rosa Parks Circle. 6:15 PM, world record practice and preliminary instructions. 6:30 PM, official attempt to break the existing world record. Thursday, March 7 at 5:30 PM. Rosa Parks Circle. Free.
  • Teen Improv Night. Teens are invited to be a part of the show when an improv comedy troupe performs at the library! Laugh at their ridiculous antics, or join them on stage as they lampoon their way through hilarious scenes, using their wit and your suggestions. Audience participation is encourage. For teens ages 11-18. Thursday, March 7 at 7:00 PM. Grand Rapids Public Library Main Branch. Free/ Fast Pass.
  • Family Improv Workshop. Come explore the basics of improvisational play with the queen of improv and President of Fishladder Inc., Mary Jane Pories. Active participation is encouraged, laughter is expected, and the session is open to all ages. Saturday March 9 & 16 at 11:00 AM. Dog Story Theater. Free/Fast Pass.
  • A Laugh in the Attic! The playful poetry of Shel Silverstein. When thinking about the poetry of Shel Silverstein words such as absurd, amusing, ludicrous, ridiculous, hysterical and absolutely brilliant come to mind. Since his first book for children “Uncle Shelby’s Story of Lafcadio” was published in 1963, Uncle Shel’s books of poetry have become “must read” classics for children of all ages! Come and listen to his poetry and stories, then create your own poetry or illustrate your favorite poem. Saturday, March 9 through Saturday March 16 at various GRPL locations. Free.
  •  Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. Combining deft wordplay, great storytelling and pure positivity all on top of thumping drums and sophisticated multi-instrumental pieces, 23 Skidoo speaks to kids and parents alike. Saturday and Sunday March 9 & 10 at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM. Crush at the BOB. $7.00 General Admission.
  • Pets and People. Bring your furry (or not so furry) friends for contests, games, entertainment, giveaways and treats! Contests this year include: funniest pet costume, best trick, and best look-a-like. So come on down for a seriously fun time! Sunday, March 10 at 11:00 AM. GRCC Ford Field House. Free.
  • Barrel of Monkeys: That’s Weird, Grandma. With their gigantic repertoire of material, their show changes each time as the audience votes tell them which two stories to cut from the show to be replaced by two new stories. SO, you can come see the show again and again. It’s different every time! Thursday, March 14 at 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM at Fountain Street Church. $10.00
  • Kids Joke Night. Are your kids hilarious?  Children in 5th Grade and younger encouraged to participate.  Sign them up for Kids Joke Night to get on stage and tell their funniest jokes! Also, Mr. Picklehead will be there to get the party started with some Delightful and Sillysongs – dilly songs – that are fun to sing and sing along with! Thursday, March 14 at 6:00 PM. Grand Rapids Public Library or Friday, March 15 at 6:00 PM at Lowell Arts. Free
  • Super Saturday Kids Zone. Fun for kids, and kids at heart! This year’s event will include tons of exciting activities for kids of all ages, including: Laser Tag, Extreme Obstacle Course, Boulder Dash, Ahoy Matey, Full Court Press, Dragon Hide-n-Slide, Moon Bounce, Face Painters, Micro Reality Race Track, Video Game Systems, Sand Art, Spin Art and More! Saturday, March 16 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at GRCC Ford Fieldhouse. $7.00 General Admission.
  • Saturday Nite Teen Zone. THE Saturday night hangout for teens and tweens! Enjoy laser tag, inflatables, and Live Band Karaoke with dancing, ride the mechanical bull, and try your hand at a variety of casino games while earning chips towards prizes! Saturday, March 16 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM at GRCC Ford Fieldhouse. $7.00 General Admission. Ages 13+.
  • Strawberry Shortcake: Follow Your Berry Own Beat! with very special guests The Doodlebops! Strawberry Shortcake and her best friends debut in Strawberry Shortcake: Follow Your Berry Own Beat! This musical adventure takes the audience to the whimsical land of Berry Bitty City where the whole town is buzzing with anticipation for the Glitzy Glaze Talent Show! Follow Strawberry Shortcake and the rest of the girls as they each prepare for their moment in the spotlight. Sunday, March 17 at 1:00 PM at DeVos Performance Hall. Tickets start at $15.00.

Tell us- which LaughFest events will your family take in?

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Gilda’s LaughFest was created by the team at Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids in 2011. More than 55,000 people from 25 states and Canada attended the 2011 festival. All proceeds from Gilda’s LaughFest benefit the cancer, grief and other support programs offered through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.

Visit www.laughfestgr.org or call 616-735-HAHA (4242) to learn more about Gilda’s LaughFest.

Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids is a free emotional health program where children, adults, families and friends find their smile and laughter in the midst of a cancer or grief journey.  Its comprehensive program includes education, structured sharing times, networking, lectures, workshops and social activities. Named for the late Saturday Night Live comedian, Gilda Radner, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids is the largest and busiest of the 52 affiliate clubs in North America.    The organization is run entirely through local support and charitable donations and currently serves more than 10,000 individuals each year from 33 counties in Michigan at its Clubhouses in Grand Rapids and Lowell, Mich., in various schools and in five community centers. For more information, visit www.gildasclubgr.org.