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First Things

June 2024
JumpstART Weekend kicks off summer

If you like to pack a lot into a weekend, then Downtown Kalamazoo’s JumpstART Weekend was made for you. The June 7–9 festivities include art fairs, a Pride event, a parade and an outdoor concert.

Lots of art
The second-longest-running art fair in the country, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Fair in Bronson Park, will feature more than 100 artists. This juried fair will run from 3–8 p.m. June 7 and 9 a.m.–5 p.m. June 8. A block away, Art on the Mall will feature more than 60 artists, plus demonstrations and live music, from noon–8 p.m. June 7 and 9 a.m.–5 p.m. June 8. For more information, visit

Kalamazoo Pride
This two-day celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community at the Arcadia Creek Festival Place will include drag performances, music, exhibitors, food and dancing. This annual event, set for 6–11:30 p.m. June 7 and 2–11:30 p.m. June 8, attracts an estimated 8,000 people. Tickets cost $8 for one day or $15 for both days. For more information or to buy tickets, visit

Do-Dah Parade
This year’s theme of Board-Amazoo for the parody parade will bring out board-game-related entries. The parade, which is celebrating its 40th year, starts at Portage Street at 11 a.m. and follows a route west down Lovell Street, north up Rose Street, east on Michigan Avenue and south on Portage Street back to Lovell.

Concert in the Park
JumpstART Weekend will close on June 9 with a performance by the Kalamazoo Concert Band at 4 p.m. in Bronson Park.

Flock of Seagulls lands in Paw Paw

The band Flock of Seagulls, best remembered for its lead singer’s gravity-defying hairstyle and its synthesizer-heavy ’80s pop, will perform June 29 at Warner Vineyards, 706 S. Kalamazoo St., in Paw Paw.

The New Wave electronic rock group had hits with the songs “I Ran (So Far Away),” “Space Age Love Song” and “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You).” While the band has seen members come and go, lead singer Mike Score still heads the band, minus his towering hair.

Strangelove, a Depeche Mode tribute band, will also perform.

The show begins at 7:30 p.m., and tickets cost $30-$35. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Three Rivers to hold Water Festival

For three days, from June 13–15, Three Rivers will celebrate its watery heritage with a festival in its downtown area. Among the activities planned are a parade, a car show, carnival rides and games, food vendors, arts and crafts vendors, live music and fireworks. For more information, visit the festival’s FaceBook page at

Local events mark Juneteenth

Several local events this month will commemorate the Juneteenth holiday, which celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth, generally celebrated on June 19, became a federal holiday in 2021 and marks the liberation of the country’s last slaves, in Texas in 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Among the local events celebrating Juneteenth
will be:

Rootead’s Juneteenth Celebration, 3–9 p.m. June 15 at Bronson Park. This family-friendly celebration of Black culture will include music, local artisans, businesses, community organizations and vendors. There will be performances by Kandace Lavender, DJ Boogie and Rootead’s Youth Drum and Dance Ensemble. For more information, visit

Juneteenth Community Day, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. This event will include a recording of quilt artist Faith Ringgold talking about her book, Tar Beach. Other books by Black artists will be available to read. There will also be a large community paper quilt where families can add personal squares to tell their stories. For more information, visit

Juneteenth 5K Walk and Run, June 17 at Mayors’ Riverfront Park, 251 Mills St. Families and individuals will have an opportunity to walk, run or jog to celebrate Juneteenth in this event hosted by Run This Town-Kalamazoo (RTTKzoo). Packet pickup starts at 5 p.m., and the event begins at 6:10 p.m. The cost is $25. For more information or to register, visit

Participate in a ‘bioblitz’

Two “bioblitz” events this month will give people a chance to exercise their citizen-scientist skills and aid conservation.

A bioblitz is an intense period of biological surveying to record all living species within a designated area utilizing community volunteers. The term was coined by a National Park Service naturalist for an event held in 1996 in Washington, D.C.

The Kellogg Biological Station Bird Sanctuary, at 12685 East C Ave. in Augusta, will hold a bioblitz event from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. June 15. KBS naturalists and local scientists will lead groups around the sanctuary to explore and document the diversity of life, or biodiversity, in the preserve. The morning session begins at 9, and the afternoon session at 12:30. For more information or to register to participate, visit

From 10 a.m.–noon June 29, the Portage District Library and Portage Parks and Recreation will hold a bioblitz around West Lake Nature Preserve, located at 9001 S. Westnedge Ave. Using the iNaturalist app, participants will take a family-friendly hike around the preserve to find and identify as many species as possible. For more information, visit

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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