LaughFest Events at GRCC
As a part of LaughFest, Grand Rapids Community College will host the following events, all of which take place at Ford Fieldhouse. Students are encouraged to volunteer with these and other events included in LaughFest.
Saturday Nite Teen Zone
When: March 8 at 7 p.m.
People and Pets
When: March 9th, noon – 2 p.m.
Gilda’s fourth annual LaughFest is the nation’s first-ever community-wide “seriously funny” festival of laughter. It has given people yet another reason to visit Grand Rapids and the students of Grand Rapids Community College even more opportunity to get involved in their community.
The 10-day festival runs March 6 -16 and features stand-up, improv, film, authors and community showcases, some of which happen right in the Ford Fieldhouse. New this year, a FUNderwear 5k run, ping pong tournaments and more have been added to the mix.
Entertainers who have already been announced for this year’s LaughFest include: Jay Leno, Lily Tomlin, Chris Tucker, and LaughFest veterans like Jim Gaffigan. Others like Carly Aquilino, Chris Distefano, and Andrew Schulz of MTV’s hit reality comedy series, Guy Code, and many more were recently added to the lineup as well.
“Aside from all of the new talent that is coming to the festival, there are plenty of other new events. So far the FUNderwear run has generated a lot of buzz, so it will be fun to see that unique event happen on the streets of Grand Rapids,” said Erik Wolenberg, LaughFest Marketing and Public Relations Manager. “There are also events at Perrin Brewing Company and the Grand Rapids Art Museum that provide new ways for people to take part in the festival.”
LaughFest was launched in March 2011 by a team at Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. Proceeds from the festival go to support the free cancer, grief and emotional health programs offered through Gilda’s Club. So far the campaign has raised $10,000 of the $100,000 goal it hopes to reach this year.
As a part of LaughFest, Grand Rapids Community College will host the FUNderwear 5K, the Seriously Funny Family Adventure Challenge, People and Pets, Super Saturday Kids Zone and Teen Nite, all of which take place at the Ford Fieldhouse. Students are encouraged to volunteer with these and other events included in LaughFest.
“This community event wouldn’t happen without our volunteers so there are plenty of ways for students to get involved, from helping with the distribution of festival materials to helping out around the office,” said Wolenberg.
Those interested in applying for volunteer positions during LaughFest should go to bit.ly/laughfestvolunteer. From there you can make a profile and apply for volunteer positions. In order to be in the running for a position you must submit an application and choose a specific area that you want to help with. Once you’re assigned with a position, which will be announced on your profile, all volunteers are required to attend a team meeting to learn more about their roles and receive training necessary to fulfill them.
“It [LaughFest] is truly a celebration of laughter for the health of it,” said Wolenberg.
Last year, LaughFest caught the attention of 55,000 people from 33 states and Canada and this year numbers are expected to be even higher.
LaughFest 2014 will include over 200 free and ticketed shows that feature over 60 artists at 40 different venues in Grand Rapids, Allendale, Lowell, and Holland. Ticket prices are from $7 to $60. These are available at the VanAndel Arena Box Office or at Ticketmaster outlets through the last day of the Festival.
Another great way to give back is to donate at one of the Michigan Blood drives leading up to the festival that benefit the High Five campaign. “Everyone who attempts to donate will get some swag and be entered to win tickets, plus Blue Care Network will donate $10 in their honor to the children’s programs at Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids,” Wolenberg said.
Individuals interested in donating to the “High Five” campaign may do so by purchasing a button at a participating restaurant or business in West Michigan, or by donating at laughfestgr.org.
No matter the age, sense of humor, interests, or way in which one wishes to get involved to raise money for Gilda’s Club, there is something “seriously funny” for everyone. For more information about LaughFest, events, or shows during the festival go to laughfestgr.org.