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First Things

April 2024
Symposium focuses on African foods

An annual event that provides historical, cultural and practical insights into the region’s food systems will be an outdoor festival this year focusing on African heritage crops.

The Kalamazoo Foodways Symposium, presented by Kalamazoo Valley Community College, opens with Kenyan land steward Akoth Ambugo’s keynote address, “Healing Soils and Souls,” at 7 p.m. April 5. The address will be presented at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, with Nigerian fusion food served afterwards.

April 6 will be a day of culinary exploration and musical performances from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. at KVCC’s Marilyn J. Schlack Culinary and Allied Health Building, 418 E. Walnut St. Features will include Ghanian peanut stew, a Jollof rice from Burkina Faso, a pumpkin stew from Liberia, and a fermented porridge called Uji from Kenya as well as performances of West African dance by Rootead Youth Drum and Dance Ensemble and cooking classes.

For a full schedule or to register for cooking classes, visit

Comic-Con to fill Expo Center

Don your favorite cos-play garb April 12–14 when the Grand Rapids Comic-Con Spring Fling Road Trip takes over the entire Kalamazoo County Expo Center.

The three-day event for fans of comic-book culture and popular arts will feature dozens of creators, celebrities, voice actors and vendors. Among those scheduled to appear are Dmitriy Karas, a Ukrainian stuntman, actor and creature performer best known for his work in the Star Wars series; Teen Titan voice actors Greg Cipes (Beast Boy) and Hynden Walch (Starfire); and comic-book creators Bob Hall (West Coast Avengers, Moon Knight and Shadowman) and Howard Mackie (Ghost Rider, The Amazing Spider-Man, Mutant X and X-Factor)

Event hours are noon–7 p.m. April 12, 10 a.m.–7 p.m. April 13, and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. April 14. Advance ticket prices are $22–$55 for adults and $5–$12 for children ages 5–12. For tickets or more information, visit

Eat, drink and give to benefit Gryphon Place

What could be better than eating and drinking to help a good cause?

That’s what’s on the menu at Eat Drink Give, an annual fundraising event to benefit Gryphon Place, which provides suicide prevention resources in Southwest Michigan. The event runs from 7–10 p.m. April 26 at the Girl Scouts building at 601 Maple St. It will include an array of cuisines from local restaurants plus wine and beer, music, and an auction and raffle.

Tickets are $80 if purchased by April 20 and $95 after that. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit

Cody Jinks to perform at Wings

Independent musician Cody Jinks will bring his outlaw country music to Wings Event
Center April 13.

Jinks, who records on his own label, Late August Records, was named Music Row’s 2023 Independent Artist of the Year after receiving the most radio spins for an independent artist that year. He hit the scene in 2016 with his album I’m Not the Devil. He has recorded 11 albums since, including Change the Game, which was released in March.

Opening for Jinks will be Southern rock band Blackberry Smoke and singer-songwriter Doc Oliver. The show begins at 7 p.m., and tickets are $32.50–$250. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

The Accidentals to play at Bell’s

The Traverse City-based band The Accidentals will pay homage to those who inspired them when they play at Bell’s Brewery April 26.

The trio, consisting of Sav Buist, Katy Larson and Katelynn Corll, will play music by female artists who influenced them, including singer-songwriter Sarah Jaffe, Debbie Harry of Blondie, and other artists whose songs are included on the group’s Covers Album, which will be released this month.

The show at Bell’s will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25–$100 and can be purchased online at or at Bell’s General Store, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave.

Encore Magazine

Encore Magazine is Southwest Michigan’s Magazine, bringing readers intriguing images and stories of the good things, good works and great people of our corner of the mitten. Published 12 times a year, Encore in its fifth decade of serving Southwest Michigan, carrying on a historic tradition of being the premier lifestyle publication of the greater Kalamazoo area.

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