Largest Volunteer Art Festival ~ Festival Of The Arts

The Festival Of The Arts is a community celebration in downtown Grand Rapids the first full weekend in June each year, this year was their 45th year.

It is the longest running festival in Michigan, and is the largest volunteer art festivals in the county. There are free art activities for the kids to enjoy and great food to choose from from many different countries that are operated by local nonprofit organizations. They also have dance performances, music of all types, theatre, poetry, storytelling, and other great activities.

It is a tradition for us to attend the Festival Of The Arts as a family each year. This is an event that everyone looks forward to as soon as the weather warms up, and we have many memories of.

Festival Of The Arts Grand Rapids, MI
Chalk The Walk where anyone can draw pictures along the sidewalk.

Create Boats to Float

Our first stop this year was creating boats to float in the water. They had a piece of foam, pipe cleaners, foam sheets, colored tape, and string for the kids to make their own boat with.P1130313 P1130317 P1130318 P1130319

Once they were finished making their boats, they were able to float them in one of the water structures. The boys LOVED this, plus it was a hot day so the water coming off of the waterfall wall was so refreshing!CAM00256 P1130324 P1130328

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Mad Hatter

Next stop was Mad Hatter, where kids were able to create their own hats. Because adults are not supposed to go inside of the tent, Serena and Dustin each went in and helped the little ones put their hats together.

Each of the kids get their blank hat, pick out the items they want on their hat, and then bring them to a table with helpers that hot glue each of the items on their hat wherever they want them. When their decorating is done they bring it to the exit and the fit it to their heads.

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Glue In

This would have to be one of Ethan’s favorite areas to stop at. During the glue in the kids get a piece of wood and then pick out 5 different wood pieces to glue onto the wood. They have condiment bottles full of wood glue for the kids to use to glue the items on.

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Serena helped Gabe get his done.P1130345

Printmaking

We have many of these t-shirts from over the years that have such wonderful memories from each of the years we have attended. Every year we bring our own blank t-shirts and get them designed with different Festival Of The Arts designs. Each day of the festival there is a different group of images.
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Gabe showing off his finished t-shirt.P1130350 P1130351

Anthony showing off his t-shirt.
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This is Ethan’s t-shirt, who choose to get all of the designs on 1 side of his t-shirt, but it gives you a good look at the different designs that were available this day.P1130353

This was supposed to be a group picture of everyone with their t-shirts on. But to get everyone in the picture I noticed that everyone is squished together and you cannot even see the front of their shirts, and for some reason it is a lovely picture in front of the porta potties… So it is now just a decent group shot of everyone, and Jenna our neighbor who really spends quite a bit of time with us.

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Face Painting

Our last stop for the little kids before stopping to try some of the delicious food was Face Painting. Face painting is always a favorite for all the kids, even the bigger ones.
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Air Brush Tattoos

Serena and Jenna decided they wanted to use their own money and get an airbrush tattoo.

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They turned out so nice, the girls were very happy with them.P1130368

Food Booths

Just as we do each year, each of the kids get to pick 1 thing from any of the food booths. The food booths they have are from all over the world which makes it fun for those of us who are more adventurous. Others are just happy with a waffle cone, or really almost all of them.

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During the Festival Of The Arts all of the area streets are closed off, so you don’t have to worry about cars. It also makes the side of the road a great place to sit and enjoy some ice cream.  While everyone else decided to get the waffle cones Serena, Jake, and myself all decided to eat some of the other delicious food they had. Jake had some meat skewers, Serena had deep fried Oreos, and I had some delicious fried pickles.
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Gabe loved his hat so much that we wore it around for days!
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What better thing to do after spending most of the day at the festival on a hot day then jump in the pool to cool off. The only thing about this pool is that it wasn’t even finished getting filled, so it was FREEZING cold hose water. I was surprised they stayed in at all it was so cold!

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I love Ethan’s expression in this picture he loved watching Cody jump into the pool. He must have been pretty surprised to see him jump in like that.P1130382

You can stop over and check out our festival trip from 2013, and 2012 for more summer fun we have had at the Festival Of The Arts. You can also visit the Festival website for more information about the festival.

You can see all of our other great Michigan destinations for families with kids both around Grand Rapids and other areas of Michigan by stopping by our All Things Michigan page.

I am linking up with these great linky parties stop over and visit for some great ideas.

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