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First Things

June 2023

Some Things Celebratory

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 “Family Reunion,” from 3–7 p.m. June 17 in Bronson Park, a family-friendly event with food, drumming and dance. Kandace Lavender, also known as “DC,” will emcee, and DJ Boogie will deejay. The Rootead Youth Drum & Dance Ensemble (RYDDE) will perform, and there will be games, family activities, a drum-and-dance tutorial, and food and craft vendors. For more information, visit rootead.org.
  • Juneteenth Community Day, from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. June 17 at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, an event that will include screenings of Tar Beach by artist Faith Ringgold, a story time, and creation of a community paper quilt. There will also be docent-led tours featuring works by African American artists in the KIA’s permanent collection. For more information, visit kiarts.org.
  • A Juneteenth Activity Table for children and adults from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. June 16 and 9 a.m.–5 p.m. June 17 at the Portage District Library. The library will be closed June 19 for the holiday. For more information, visit portagelibrary.info.
  • A Juneteenth Celebration and ribbon cutting for the new Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park, at 1000 ML King Drive, Portage, at 11 a.m. June 16. This new park includes five bronze sculptures of King, a Garden of Hope, meditative benches, shade trees and an interactive kiosk highlighting King’s legacy. For more information, visit portagemi.gov/calendar.
  • The Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom Black Film Fest from 5–8 p.m. June 16 at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, 230 N. Rose St. will feature a screening of the 2021 documentary Summer of Soul and a community discussion with a panel of Kalamazoo musicians. For more information, visit kalamazoomuseum.org.

Something Seared

Colon offers Magic City Grill Fest

Get out those tongs and grill forks because there’s grill magic happening this month in Colon.

The Magic City Grill Fest — formerly known as the Magic City Egg Fest in honor of the Big Green Egg grills it featured — will be held from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. June 17 at 123 E. State St.

The event is a culinary competition and barbecue festival for enthusiasts of all types of charcoal briquette, lump charcoal and smoking grills and smokers. There are four categories — ribs, chicken, Waygu beef sliders and an open category — where teams of up to four cooks will compete.

Tickets are $15–$20 and include tasting of the entries. Event proceeds will benefit Colon American Legion Post 454. For more information, visit magiccitygrillfest.com.

Something Musical

Toad the Wet Sprocket at Bell’s

Celebrating more than three decades since they first performed as a band, Toad the Wet Sprocket will bring their alternative pop music to Bell’s Eccentric Cafe at 8 p.m. June 27.

The band found success with hits that included “Walk on the Ocean,” “All I Want,” “Something’s Always Wrong” and “Fall Down.”

The warmup act for the show will be Marcy Playground, best known for their 1997 hit “Sex and Candy.”

Tickets are $44 in advance or $49 the day of the show, with VIP tickets priced at $130. They are available at bellsbeer.com.

Something Humorous

Jordan Klepper to visit Kalamazoo

While it may no longer be possible get a ticket to see Jordan Klepper’s presentation Celebrating Books While They’re Still Legal! at 7 p.m. June 30 at Miller Auditorium (it is at capacity), you might still be able to get the comedian to sign a book for you.

Klepper, who has not written a book, will sign a book of your own that you bring to the Kalamazoo Public Library between 4 and 5:30 p.m. that day.

Klepper is a writer, producer and comedian perhaps best known for his segments as a correspondent on The Daily Show on Comedy Central and for his recent stint hosting the show. He is also the creator and star of the Comedy Central docu-series Klepper. A Kalamazoo native, he graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School and Kalamazoo College.

If you don’t have a book to bring, you may purchase one at the Friends of the KPL Bookstore, in the lower level of the library.

Something Silly

Do-Dah to parade through downtown

You’re likely to see a few of your favorite Dr. Seuss characters in downtown Kalamazoo June 3 when the Do-Dah Parade takes to the streets at 11 a.m.

The theme of this year’s parade is “Kalama-Seuss: Children’s Stories Take to the Streets!” The parade, now in its 39th year, features floats and groups in whimsical costumes that reflect the theme or involve some kind of parody. The parade will start at the intersection of Lovell and Portage streets and proceed west on Lovell, north on Rose Street, east on Michigan Avenue and south on Portage Street back to the starting point.

For more information, visit kelcevents.wixsite.com/dodahkzoo.

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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