It’s the last weekend of summer before classes begin at Michigan State University, and it seems some local organizations have been waiting for students to return before offering their biggest events of the season. If you have your dorm, apartment or house set up and are looking for something to fill your time while waiting for friends to return — or something to entertain visiting parents and siblings — I’ve compiled information on six happenings in Greater Lansing this weekend that are sure to wipe away your pre-semester scaries, if only briefly.
The 3rd annual Eastside Summer Fest, running 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 26) in the Frandor Sears parking lot, offers a free day of activities for all ages in celebration of the eastside neighborhood and Greater Lansing as a whole.
The event was hosted on Michigan Avenue in the past, but the street was still open to traffic, and attendees had to walk across the busy avenue to reach vendors on both sides.
“When we started talking about this year’s event, we thought Michigan Avenue might be under construction, and we were kind of not wanting to do it on Michigan Avenue anyway because of the traffic,” said Bridget Doyle, vice president of the Eastside Neighborhood Organization.
However, this year’s space around Sears allows for more programming than ever before. The Eastside Neighborhood Organization anticipates upwards of 2,000 attendees, compared to approximately 1,300 last year.
“It’ll be one of our best years ever,” Doyle said.
There will be two stages hosting live performances all day. On Stage 1, Little Things will kick things off with a performance at 11 a.m., followed by Lansing Poet Laureate Masaki Takahashi at noon, Suburban Ants at 1 p.m., LVRS at 2 p.m., the Further Adventures of FatBoy and JiveTurkey at 3 p.m., Ensurance Trap at 4 p.m., Nonbinary at 5 p.m., Full House at 6 p.m., Jeremy Hurt at 7 p.m. and Kwaj at 8 p.m. On Stage 2, Johnny Burtle will perform at noon, followed by the Habibi Dancers at 1 p.m., Echoes at 2 p.m., husband-and-wife duo Tom Heideman and Mary Koenigsknecht at 3 p.m., Abbey Hoffman at 4 p.m. and Capo the Second at 5 p.m.
To highlight the businesses that helped make the event happen, attendees can participate in Sponsor Bingo between performances, with prizes including tickets to Potter Park Zoo, farmers market gift certificates and handmade items from vendors. The grand prize, awarded toward the end of the event, includes a 43-inch TV and other items from vendors.
Check out the Fun Zone for other activities, including demonstrations by the Waverly Robotics team and Lansing ghostbuster Ryan Holmes, a photo booth, life-size Jenga, corn hole, chalk art, rock painting, glitter tattoos, balloon twisting and more.
More than 100 vendors will line the parking lot, including participants of the Fledge Foundation’s Youth Entrepreneurial Program, local small businesses, artists, jewelry makers, nonprofits and resource and information booths.
There will also be 13 different food vendors at the festival, including Taqueria Monarca, Honey Bun Bakery, Lady Tee’s Soul Food, Picnic Food Truck, Superior Kettle Corn, Kona Ice, Tino’s Tasty Treats Ice Cream, Sharron’s Concessions, Blendit Ice Cream, Triple E’s Eatery, Cookies House of Soul and Toarmina’s Pizza.
Feel free to bring chairs and blankets if you’d like to bask in the sun. There will also be chairs and tents available at both stages. For a map of free parking and festival events, visit 517eastside.org/map.
Lansing Bless Fest Weekend at Adado Riverfront Park begins with Flo Fest, a free Christian hip-hop festival running 6 to 9 p.m. Friday (Aug. 25). Performers include Samsun Demonslayer at 6 p.m., Joe Brown and TBAR at 6:30 p.m., Marqus Anthony at 7 p.m., Bendito at 7:30 p.m. and Kevi at 8:15 p.m.
There will be plenty more to enjoy on top of the music, including bounce houses and games for children, a basketball three-point contest, stage games, raffles, sponsor tents with giveaways and chances to meet the performers at their merch tents. The festival will also offer free bottled water and snacks as well as shade tents and seating.
Lansing Bless Fest, running 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 26), offers performances by rock/worship duo His DNA at 1 p.m.; singer-songwriter Joe Jarvis at 2 p.m.; rock group The Veteran Band at 2:45 p.m.; spoken-word artist Reesey with “The S.M.A.C.K Show” at 3:30 p.m.; gospel groups Deon Gladney & Chosen Worship at 4:15 p.m., Spoken Praise at 5:15 p.m. and Generation 4:12 at 6:15 p.m.; Michelle Miller Bell & the Let It Flow Band at 7:15 p.m.; and rappers Deonte Hall at 8 p.m. and TJ King at 8:30 p.m.
As with Flo Fest, the event also offers a kids’ zone, raffles, free bottled water and snacks, seating and shade tents and a sports section with basketball and corn hole. There will also be free burgers and hot dogs, free clothing and shoes from GAPS Outreach, free new and gently used books and backpack giveaways.
Ending the weekend is a nondenominational worship service 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 27). Seating, shade tents and bottled water will be provided, and attendees are encouraged to bring cash for a free-will offering.
Pride Month may have ended, but there’s still one more event on the horizon: Meridian Township’s inaugural Pride celebration, running 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 26) at the Marketplace on the Green Pavilion in Okemos.
“We’re coming out of COVID, and the township board, early this year, decided they wanted to reinitiate the diversity, equity and inclusion committee. The DEI committee decided the first thing they wanted to do was hold an LGBTQ+ Pride event,” said Brian Shorkey, the township’s senior planner. “We couldn’t have it in June because that would cause a conflict with two other major Township events: our Juneteenth celebration and the Celebrate Meridian Festival. We couldn’t do it at the same time because the Marketplace on the Green was taken and we didn’t want to create competition.”
The day kicks off with a 5K Fun Run/Walk beginning at 3 p.m. at the Meridian Township Municipal Building. There are no age divisions or chip times, but there will be prizes for the first three participants to cross the finish line.
The deadline to register for the race is Thursday (Aug. 24). The entry fee is $20 and includes a T-shirt. Registrants can pick up their packets 4 to 6 p.m. Friday (Aug. 25) in the Town Hall Room of the Municipal Building or 1:30 to 2:45 Saturday at the starting line outside the Municipal Building. To register, visit recreation.meridian.mi.us and click on the Special Events tab. To view a map of the race route, visit meridian.mi.us/about-us/calendar/meridian-pride-event.
State Rep. Julie Brixie will kick off the main festivities with introductory remarks at 4:05 p.m. Afterward, attendees can enjoy music by The Time Traveling DJs, food from Tantay Peruvian Cuisine and From Scratch Food Truck, advocacy resources and art vendors. The Beer Garden will be open from 5 to 10 p.m.; Capital Area District Libraries will offer arts and crafts, book check-outs and library card registration from 4 to 7 p.m.; and Mikki Prost, a Patsy Cline tribute performer, will take the stage at 8 p.m.
There will also be a Proud Puppy Pageant at 5 p.m., offering pet parents the chance to show off all their furry friends can do. All participating pets receive a gift bag from Soldan’s Pet Supplies, and prizes for the winning pups include three $200 gift cards and three $50 gift cards to Topher’s Paw Co. Interested pet parents can contact Shorkey at 517-853-4576 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last but not least, Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum is performing weddings in the Meridian Historical Village Gazebo from 4 to 7 p.m. Interested parties must obtain a marriage license from the County Clerk’s Office, which includes a three-day waiting period. For more information, visit clerk.ingham.org or call 517-676-7201.
Get ready to groove at the Michigan Institute of Contemporary Art’s FunkFest, running 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday (Aug. 26) in Old Town. There will be two stages offering funky tunes all evening, with performers such as Grady Hall & the Disciples of Funk, Steven McCray’s The UNKOFUNK, DJ McCoy of Scratch Pilots, Melophobix, Mixed Flavors and Is Evolution.
Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com/event/6104564.
Grand Ledge’s St. Michael Catholic Church is hosting its annual FunFest 5 to 10 p.m. Friday (Aug. 25) and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 26). Friday evening, the food and beer tent opens at 5, followed by euchre and archery tournaments at 6:30, dodgeball at 8:15 and trivia at 8:45. On Saturday, the food and beer tent opens at noon, along with a bake sale, kids’ games until 4 p.m. and a silent auction until 8 p.m. There will also be a cornhole tournament at 12:30 p.m., volleyball at 2 p.m., a mass at 4:30 p.m., a chicken barbecue at 5:30 p.m., a live auction and raffle drawings at 6 p.m. and live music with Exit 86 at 8 p.m.
To view the list of auction items prior to the event, visit stmichaelgl.org/auction-items.
Visit downtown Mason 6 to 11 p.m. Friday (Aug. 25), 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 26) and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 27) for the Sun Dried Music Festival, featuring performances by a variety of local musicians as well as vendors, children’s activities and more.
Friday evening, Bill Moran takes the stage at 7, followed by the Corzo Effect at 8:30 and Jacob Moran at 9:40. Vendor Row, the children’s play area and the beer tent open at 6 p.m. Entry into the beer tent is $5, and each drink ticket is $5.
Saturday, the Fly By Night Band kicks things off on the Main Stage at noon, followed by Mama Tryd at 1:30 p.m., School of Rock East Lansing’s Youth Band at 3 p.m., Those Legs at 4:30 p.m., the Wild Honey Collective at 6 p.m., Mixed Flavors at 7:30 p.m., Rebecca Brunner at 9 p.m. and Cloudhoppers at 10:30 p.m. On the Second Stage, Hank Williams Review performs at 1 p.m., followed by Matthew James Adkins at 2:30 and 4 p.m., Collin & Gwen at 5:30 and 7 p.m. and Tim Hunt’s Dueling Pianos at 8:30 and 10 p.m.
The Mason Area Chamber of Commerce’s arts and crafts sidewalk sales run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Vendor Row, the children’s play area and the beer tent open at noon. There will be a cornhole tournament in the beer tent at 11 a.m., with registration beginning at 10 a.m. Entrants must bring their own team of two and pay a $40 registration fee.
The weekend ends with the Mason Area Ministerial Association Worship Service 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday on the Main Stage.
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