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Today’s story is about the Central Park Players and how they are going to raise the money for the very much needed Grand Haven Community Center Acacia Auditorium stage floor. Central Park Players is a community theatre organization dedicated to providing high quality theatre at affordable prices to Grand Haven, Michigan and the Tri-Cities area since 1959. Vibrant, compelling, engaging theatre and community outreach are all part of CPP’s plans for the future. Central Park Players is proud to be an important Tri-Cities asset and continues to build on that solid foundation laid nearly 150 years ago.

Summer....got a little more fun on the Lakeshore this year with the announcement today of the 7 Steps Up Summer Sessions Concert Series at the beautiful new Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium in Grand Haven.  Opening the series this season will be Los Lonely Boys on July 1st and July 18th the super sounds of the 70's with Poco, Pure Prairie League and Firefall to get your retro vibes going.  Two more shows will be announced as the Summer progresses but the ball is rolling and great show experiences will be growing as the years go by and it's from the dedication of some pretty visionary promoters who brought what come consider one of the most unique live music experiences to West Michigan ever. 7suFor Tickets to The Summer Sessions Click Here

Gary and Michelle Hanks own 7 Steps Up in Spring Lake and have built a reputation of putting on jaw dropping concerts, for no more than 100 people and change in their intimate setting.  Big names, like John Waite, Johnathan Edwards, Albert Lee and more.  You'll also find up and coming artists and unique bands that break the mold of the "norm".  It's a spot for music adventure, a very up close and personal experience with those who make music and if you've ever been there, you know it's a night you won't son forget.

As they have worked to book their club, they have also grown to book an outdoor concert series as well as music for the Grand Haven Farmers Market and the logical next step is to go a little bigger and the clear spot...Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium.

Seating 2500-3000 at the new spot on the channel in Grand Haven, the new and improved stadium will offer plenty of different uses for occasion.  Maybe it's the fireworks to accompany the Coast Guard Festival, The Musical Fountain or the new Summer Sessions Concert Series, it will be big enough for "large" shows but, it will still feel like the intimate setting that 7 Steps Up has perfected in bringing their shows to the area.  Tickets for any of the Summer Sessions shows will be available at the new 7 Steps Up website and prices will be in line with any tickets for current shows, maybe a little lower even. 

I met up with Gary and Michelle at 7 Steps Up for the big announcement and to talk about their path to getting here.  Take a listen.   


Bring it!  It's a beautiful setting, it's a short drive and it's another reason to celebrate great music on the shore this season or any.  Could they be building to give Meijer Gardens a run for their money?  Time will tell, but the fact is that every music fan comes away a winner with more options to enjoy in spectacular settings.  Gary and Michelle of 7 Steps have put so much heart and soul into growing their venue simply for their love and passion for music.  To see them elevate to bigger productions is a HUGE victory for dreamers who work on passion for what they do, and work tirelessly to give back to all of us.  

ls stadiumPhoto Courtesy Progressive AE

  We quite often tout the amazing things that go on at the library now a days.  The days where the library was defined by the somewhat short tempered lady behind the desk who was quick to get her index finger to her lips and shush anyone who dared speak above a whisper are long gone.  Yes, the library is still a place where courtesy is still best practiced when it comes to shared space with others, but they have also become centers for cultural happenings, media outlets and community gatherings centered around interesting speakers and topics that you'll probably not hear anywhere else.  They are especially important in communities to share historical knowledge and to bring in exhibits that you'd be very hard pressed to find anywhere else on topics of any kind.  Books are great, but what if you were able to bring those books to life for people and invite in those who fill the pages?  What if too, you were able to bring in someone to speak first hand on someone who left a lasting impression on their field and inspired so many others?  Well, that's happening tomorrow night, November 16th at the Loutit District Library in Grand Haven. grimshaw posterLearn More About the Grimshaw Event on Facebook

  Laura Grimshaw is the widow of renowned artist Gary Grimshaw.  Back in the 60's Gary spent some time in the Navy and while in San Francisco, he got to spend some time at some "psychedelic" concerts.  He went to the Avalon and the Fillmore and saw the light operators at work.  After his time in the service, he came back to Detroit and Russ Gibb hired Gary to perform light shows at his new venue called the Grande Ballroom.  Gary designed the first poster to spread the word about a show coming.  The show was to be "A Dance Concert in the San Francisco Style" by a band called The MC5.  You might have heard of them.  Gary went on to design not only a great deal of the art for shows and venues around Detroit, but he also did commercial work for other companies and endeavors and worked with some other remarkable artists along the way.  He was pretty politically active at points.  His artwork appeared in "underground" publications like "The Berkeley Tribe" "The Fifth Estate" and "The Ann Arbor Sun".  He spoke out against the Vietnam War, he was arrested on a marijuana charge which he later beat in court and for a while there, he was an associate art director for Creem Magazine, if you can remember back then.

garyart logo guitar2018 2See Gary Grimshaw's Art Online

  Well, all of that art...and all of that experience is now being told by his wife of 25 years Laura Grimshaw.  She's still in Detroit, right in the same neighborhood where it all went on all those years ago, and she's brought her collection to Grand Haven to speak about and for you to see until the end of November.  On display will be some of the bigger pieces.  Some of the commercial art as well as some of the more famous pictures that you'll recognize.  As we were setting up to tape, I was even kind of surprised at how many passers by stopped and said  "I remember that".  Sure, it was just before I was hatched...but those memories for some are like yesterday.  

  I had a chance to meet Laura Grimshaw as she was just coming in to Grand Haven to start getting set up for the show.  Take a listen to our chat below. 


  A pretty facsinating topic, from a pretty fascinating time.  Head down to Grand Haven to meet Laura and hear her talk about Gary.  I am sure there will be plenty of fascinating stories and you'll get a chance to see first hand some of the amazing art she's kept over the years and brought to share.  The exhibit runs until the end of November but you get one night to meet Laura and her her stories.  Don't miss it.  For more at the Loutit Library, click on their logo below.

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Some come with 900 pounds of ribs to cook and sell because that's the kind of draw the Grand Haven Ribfest has.  It's an event filled with food, fun and purpose and it's set early in the season so the excuses for you to have something else going are slim.  When you add in that it's a fundraiser to help our Veterans of the Lakeshore and there is plenty of entertainment, beer, activities for the young and old and a feeling that your good time is going to help some pretty incredible people. ribfest 2019Ribfest 2019 on Facebook

It's been going on for 15 years, and it's been growing steadily.  It's a competition between those who fancy themselves as pit-masters and those who see themselves as foodies.  Different cooking styles come into play, secret rubs...sauces and techniques.  Cultures palates come along next to see who's made what and which restaurants of food trucks they will be following around all Summer.  Names like A&E BBQ, Big Moe's, Daddy Pete's, Famous Dave's, Holy Smokers, Old Iron, Paisley Pig, Pork N Stein and Stable Inn will be applying their tricks of the trade to impress the crowd and judges. 

Music, they have that.  Mr. Whoo Ha, Perfect Storm, Northbound and more.  For the kids, there will be face painting, underwater robot building, balloon animals and more.  Something sweet?  Goobers and Ma's Kettle Corn will be there too.  Add in plenty of frosty cold beverages and NO COVER CHARGE and you have the makings of a great party. 

Do keep in mind though, this is at the VFW.  Yes, everything you're up to is benefiting those who have served in the military and were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.  Mike Baauw is the Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs for Muskegon County and the work they do extends way past just Muskegon.  They serve thousands and thousands and they continue to grow who and how they serve.  Anything from a food pantry for some essentials to helping navigate the rather difficult system for Veterans benefits.  The hold group meetings, they help special specific needs and they also advocate for veterans needs on a higher level.  Amazingly good things happen out of the Muskegon Department of Veterans Affairs, and our support is the least we can give.

Mike and I sat down for a chat about this year Ribfest.  Take a listen.


Save the date - or dates.  They may need a hand with 900 pounds of ribs from just 1 vendor, may need being the key phrase.  It's going to be a foodies delight and a place to party like no other and the purpose is one anyone can agree with.  It's a great time for a great cause.  Head to Grad Haven and enjoy the 15th Annual Ribfest and do a good turn for some incredible hero's. 

It's time to start thinking about the meat sweats.  Yep, we're talking ribs as far as the eye can see and more smokey good flavor, fall off the bone tenderness....I could go on and on, but it's honestly making me hungry...so, let's just say...if you like ribs, beer, music and a great cause, you need to save the dates for the Grand Haven VFW Rib Fest.  It's going on May 25th and 26th and all the proceeds go to benefit our local veterans on a number of levels.  It's an awesome and rapidly growing event.  Rib Fest 2018 Poster with AddressRib Fest 2018 On Facebook

It's been going on 14 years now and you know when an event gets to the point where it takes up the whole street, things are going in the right direction.  There is an interactive tent for the kids sponsored by the USS Silversides Museum where they will have some underwater robot building going on.  They will like that.  There will be food form Big Moe's, Famous Dave's, Daddy Pete's BBQ, Stable Inn, Old Iron Bar and Grill, Up in Smoke, Paisley Pig Pub and Porkensteins!  Bands??  Foundation and Perfect Storm play on Friday night and Saturday it's Bill Ellingboe, Three's a Crowd and Mr. Whoo Ha.  

But you know, it's really all about so much more than that.  Sure, it's all packaged up as a good time and all, but the proceeds to go help those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for all of us at one point or another.  Our local veterans.  Men and women who served in our military need our support and it's provided at places like the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, The area Department of Veterans Affairs branch offices and more.  They host a multitude of things for them.  Everything from support groups to pantry needs.  There are services specializing for women veterans with WINC which we've featured here on The Muskegon Channel and there is help for all vets to navigate the system to get the benefits they so truly deserve.  

Locally, Mike Baauw is the guy in the Muskegon County Dept of Veterans Services.  If memory serves me correct, Mike is retired US Navy and he makes sure that our area's vets best interests and needs are all met and then he goes on to help organize things like this to help even more. Take a listen to our talk about the Rib Fest and lick your chops!

If you're just in need of an early season outdoor festival or you want to enjoy some of the best ribs around with a couple of cold ones and some friends, or maybe you'd like your dining dollar to benefit some true American hero's...it's pretty clear you need to be at the Grand Haven VFW 2326 VFW on May 25th and 26th.  Out thanks to Mike and his staff for their dedication and hard work and our thanks too, to the men and women who served.  We hope it's a great weekend for the festival!  


If you are looking for something fun to do I have just the thing. Cast members from the Central Park Players Presents Sylvia a play by A.R. Gurney. I had a chance to sit down with some of the cast to get some inside information.  cppFollow the Central Park Players on Facebook
Sylvia is about empty nesters that are trying to find who they are in their new relationship without children in the home. I was also told that one of them go out and get a dog to try and fill that void but their spouse is less than happy with them. Shoot I'm not an empty nester and that already sounds like my marriage, I got a dog for the kids and I and my husband was not too happy about her. I do have to mention that there are some scenes that contain strong language so this is not something that would be fit for younger viewers.
Sylvia will take you through all of the emotions. You will be laughing so hard you cry. You are going to be able to sympathize with both Greg (the husband) and Kate (the wife) as they go through some of the biggest changes in their marriage. In the end you are going to walk away with such a warm feeling from the base message of the road that their marriage takes.
You will be able to find your Tickets and other information on this production along with others fun information about Central Park Players in the link below.

I first met Sandy Baker through No More Sidelines of Muskegon.  Her son Eric, or as he was known by all of his classmates "Big E", participated in No More Sidelines and he made quite a splash in his days at Reeths-Puffer Schools as the prom king, announcement reader and all around source of awesomeness.  They are avid fans of the Muskegon Lumberjacks and no matter where they go, they seem to collect amazing people to help them further what has become a truly remarkable nonprofit that is growing by leaps and bounds.  Sandy has crafted a model by which young adults can find their way to as much independence as they can handle.  Eric has Downs Syndrome, but he's really never been any different than the other kids.  And like any other kid, there comes a time that they need to spread their wings a little. gg logo with roots 002Gracious Grounds on Facebook

Yes, kids with Downs grow up and where they might need a hand from time to time, they are like anyone.  Funny, smart.....there are the "teen years" who doesn't love those...but as young adults, how do you keep them from wanting to continue with life like anyone else?  Simply put you don't.  Now the question becomes...where do they go to get that taste of "adulting".  Sandy got to work, and in a matter of a few years of research, hunting, non profit forming and again, surrounding herself with all the right people.. Gracious Grounds was born.

A former Hospice residence was found to plant the first Gracious Grounds flag, nestled away on a quiet street in Grand Haven.  The house has 6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms, common areas, a kitchen, office, a really awesome home theater in the basement and every resident has their own personal room.  They can decorate in their theme... Big E happens to love the Dukes of Hazzard so as you can imagine...there's plenty of that.  Some like Star Wars, some like sports...it's really no different than any other you.  They have their own televisions, fridges, bathrooms...personal care items....you name it.  It's a remarkable facility...and a remarkable mission.  

I had a chance to stop in and see Sandy at Gracious Grounds, take a listen to our chat.






There are people in this world who create miracles.  As Gracious Grounds grows, both in and outside of Grand Haven, you're watching one happen.  It's amazing what a mothers love..and a pretty good background in her field..young people with unique abilities will know what it's like to be a grown up.  Some of the residents there have shown "remarkable progress" in life as well as independence.  We all understand what it feels like to accomplish something on our own...it's really amazing.    Be the good!  If you'd like to know more, make a donation or maybe get tickets to the gala...click on the photo below!


gg treeGracious Grounds Online

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