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First Things – May 2023

May 2023

Something Interesting

A tour and talk on architectural sculpture

A walking tour of downtown Kalamazoo’s architectural sculpture — meaning sculptural details incorporated by an architect or sculptor into the design of a building or other structure — will be offered May 18 by local historian Lynn Houghton. The tour will be followed by a presentation by the author of a book on Michigan architectural sculpture.

Houghton (a frequent Encore contributor) will begin the tour at 4 p.m. at the Kalamazoo Public Library entrance at Rose and South streets. It will feature architectural sculpture found in the 2022 book Guardians of Michigan: Architectural Sculpture of the Pleasant Peninsulas, by Jeff Morrison. At 5 p.m., immediately after the tour, Morrison will talk about the architectural examples featured in his book. His talk will be presented in the Van Deusen Room of the Kalamazoo Public Library.

The book includes 250 examples of building sculpture across Michigan, including sacred places, Albert Kahn–designed newspaper buildings, skyscraper banks, academic buildings and county courthouses. It was named a Michigan Notable Book by the Library of Michigan and received a State History Award from the Historical Society of Michigan.

The events are presented by the Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission, Southwest Michigan Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and Kalamazoo Public Library.

Something Mineral

Rocks, gems and more at annual show

One of the largest rock and gem shows in Michigan will be held at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center May 5–7.

With more than 50 booths of vendors selling everything from fossils and meteorites to precious gems, the show will also have demonstrations of skills such as wire wrapping, Petosky stone polishing and gold panning. There will also be children’s activities, including digging for fossils and educational presentations.

The hours for the show are 4–8 p.m. May 5, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. May 6 and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. May 7. Tickets for this family event are $5 for those 12 or older and free for those under 12. Admission is cash only. For more information, visit

Something Funny

Sam Morril coming to State Theatre

Stand-up comedian Sam Morril, co-host of the We Might Be Drunk podcast, will perform at 7 p.m. May 7 at the Kalamazoo State Theatre.

Morril was a regular on Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar and named one of the cable channel’s Comics to Watch in 2011.

Tickets are $39 and available online at

Something Festive

Band, dancers to perform for Cinco de Mayo

If you’re looking for an authentic celebration of Cinco de Mayo — the annual May 5 observance of Mexico’s victory over France in 1862 — head to Bell’s Eccentric Cafe.

Performing there at 7 p.m. will be Cuatro Norteño — an ensemble that plays regional music genre of Northern Mexico — and the Latino dance troupe Ballet Folklorico de Mi Tierra.

Cuatro Norteño, based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, will perform Norteña songs from traditional to modern, featuring the traditional instruments acordeón and bajo sexto, a Mexican 12-stringed instrument in the guitar family. The dance troupe is from the Kalamazoo Latino community organization El Concilio.

The show is for patrons 21 and older. Tickets are $12–$15 and available online at or at the Bell’s General Store.

Something Spoked

Bike Rodeo at Mayors’ Riverfront Park

Kids can get ready to roll for the summer at a Bike Rodeo from 5–7 p.m. May 17 at Mayors’ Riverfront Park.

This free event, sponsored by Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation, will teach bike safety and provide other bike-oriented information.

Open Roads Kalamazoo will provide a bike-fixing station for minor repairs and tune-ups, and Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety officers and kids will make their own slushies with cider and berries on Fresh Food is Fun’s bike blender. There will also be goodie bags with educational bike information, fire truck and police cruiser demonstrations, and helmet fittings by public safety officers. In addition, there will be prize drawings for kids’ bikes; registration online is required to participate in the drawings.

For more information or to register, 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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