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First Things

Check out back-to-back blues music performances this month.
August 2023

Something Homey

Tours feature new and remodeled homes

Twelve newly constructed houses and one remodeled home will be highlighted Aug. 3–5 and Aug. 10–12 in the Parade of Homes, sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Western Michigan.

The event will offer in-person and virtual tours of the homes, which are located throughout Kalamazoo County. In-person tours of new homes will be held from 6–9 p.m. Aug. 4, 5, 11 and 12 and 1–7 p.m. Aug. 6 and 13, with tours of the remodeled home set for 6–9 p.m. Aug. 4 and 5 and 1–7 p.m.
Aug. 6.

Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the event. The homes can all be viewed online for free. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Something Wild

Corks & Kegs event to benefit zoo

With live music, local and national beers and wines, gourmet food and exotic animals, the Corks & Kegs event Aug. 5 at Binder Park Zoo promises a wild time.

The annual event is a fundraiser for the zoo, located at 7400 Division Drive, in Battle Creek, and will include more than 20 local beer, wine and cider makers, a cornhole tournament, silent and live auctions, and chances to visit the zoo’s animals.

The hours for the event, which is for adults only, will be 3–8 p.m., but VIP ticketholders will be admitted at 2 p.m. and have access to a VIP area until 5 p.m. Tickets are $55 for general admission, $25 for a designated driver, and $100 for VIP access. They are available at

Something New

Fair Ground Festival debuts

A lineup of local, regional and national female artists will headline the first Fair Ground Festival, set for Aug. 27 at the Barry County Expo Center, at 1350 M-37, in Hastings.

The festival will feature Joseph, a folk band from Portland, Oregon, made up of three sisters. The group has appeared on several TV shows and was named a Spotify Spotlight Artist. The lineup also includes singer-songwriter Kyshona, blues artist Ruthie Foster, and Michigan bands The Accidentals, The Crane Wives, and Patty PerShayla and the Mayhaps.

Doors open at 2 p.m. for this event, which is sponsored by the Thornapple Arts Council. Tickets are $25–$50 for general attendance and $125–$250 for VIP tickets. Parking is $5. For more information or for tickets, visit

Something Musical

Back-to-back blues events slated

If you are a blues fan, the weekend of Aug. 18–19 is for you.

An evening of free blues performances by the Crossroads Resurrection Band and Johnny Burgin will be the highlight of the Friday Food Truck Festival Blues Fest, set for 5–10 p.m. Aug. 18 at Arcadia Creek Festival Place, in downtown Kalamazoo. The event will also feature food truck and merchandise vendors and alcoholic beverages. For more information, visit

The next day the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association’s Blues Bash will present six international and award-winning blues acts at Old Dog Tavern, 402 E. Kalamazoo Ave. The lineup features 2019 Emmy nominee Victor Wainwright and the Train, Annika Chambers, Paul DesLauriers, Deuce ‘n a Quarter, DownRiver Dan, and 5-Second Rule.

The music begins at 3 p.m., doors open at 2 p.m., and attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 the day of the event. For tickets or more information, visit

Something Historical

Walks explore cemetery, neighborhoods

Lynn Houghton, the regional history curator for Western Michigan University’s Archives and Regional History Collection, will lead several walks this month exploring the community’s history and architecture.
The 60– to 90–minute walks are free, and no registration is required. The tours and meeting locations are as follows:

  • Downtown Historical Markers, 8 a.m. Aug. 4; meet at Gazelle Sports, 214 S. Kalamazoo Mall.
  • Vine Historic District, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 10; meet at Pearl & West Dutton streets.
  • Riverside Cemetery, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 24; meet at Gull Road and Riverview Drive.
  • Oakland Drive/Winchell Neighborhood, 8 a.m. Aug. 25; meet at Winchell Avenue and Aberdeen Drive.

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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