Grosse Pointe CitySeptember 6, 2012
Growing VillageFest fills downtown Grosse Pointe City with fun for whole family
By K. Michelle Moran
C & G Staff Writer
GROSSE POINTE CITY — It may have a new name, but VillageFest — formerly Grosse Pointe’s Greatest Block Party — features all of the activities, entertainment and dining opportunities local residents have come to expect.
Presented by Beaumont Health System and produced by the Grosse Pointe Village Association, the sixth annual VillageFest will take place from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8 and noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9. John Denomme, marketing and promotions manager for the Grosse Pointe Village Association, said about 12,000-15,000 are expected to visit the downtown Grosse Pointe shopping district during that period, and they’ll find sample specialties from 16 local restaurants in Taste of Grosse Pointe, which is sponsored by the Dirty Dog Jazz Café, located just down the road in Grosse Pointe Farms. An art show, vehicle show, entertainment and programs for children are also on the schedule.
For 28 years, the Village hosted Grosse Pointe’s Greatest Garage Sale, and that event title became the basis for its successor, Grosse Pointe’s Greatest Block Party. But Denomme said the similarity of the two names led some visitors to believe the garage sale was still going on.
“Over the years, we received feedback that the community was confusing Grosse Pointe’s Greatest Block Party with Grosse Pointe’s Greatest Garage Sale,” said Village Association President Mike Kramer in an email interview. “The block party is a community festival and the garage sale was a flea market. Our hope is that VillageFest more accurately communicates the celebration of food, art, music and cars that this annual fall event has become.”
Kramer, a Village business owner, is the general chair for VillageFest, and his wife, Joann, is chairing Taste of Grosse Pointe. Diners will find Italian, Middle Eastern and Polish cuisine, as well as barbeque, seafood, burgers and pizza, and an array of desserts, some of which are gluten-free, he said.
Denomme said “Art & Sole,” the juried art fair, has grown greatly this year to include urban art and speed painting demonstrations, henna tattooing and auctions of sketches done on-site to raise money for the Belle Isle Aquarium. The Art Road mobile art classroom, produced by MRA, will be on-site as well, and children will be able to make their own creations inside. “Art & Sole,” sponsored by Renewal by Anderson, runs 11 a.m.-dusk Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.
Youngsters will find arts and crafts to create from Pewabic Pottery, a bounce house, a giant slide, a coloring contest, silhouette artist and other interactive fun during Kids on the Block, presented by Beaumont Health System and running 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.
Sunday’s Pooch Parade, organized by the Michigan Humane Society, starts at 1 p.m. Sunday, but Denomme said the 150-200 participants start lining up with their four-legged friends around 12:30 p.m. for the popular walk around the Village. He said there are prizes in various categories, including biggest and smallest.
“The kids absolutely love it,” Denomme said. “It’s like a flash mob for dogs.”
A variety of musical acts are on the bill on the McDonald’s VillageFest Stage, which will feature performances from noon-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday by the Americana string band Balduck Mountain Ramblers, sentimental favorites sung by the Shoreline Sounds Chorus, classic rock with a dash of comedy by Double Vision, Paul Carey’s Organ Trio featuring vocalist Benny Reeves, jazz standards and Latin jazz with the Paul Vornhagen Jazz Quartet, the ever-popular DJ Jason Parent, and the witty, rocking polka of the Polish Muslims, along with selections from the upcoming production of “Oklahoma” by Grosse Pointe Theatre.
The Saturday Night Dance Party, presented by Grosse Pointe Urgent Care, runs from 7-10 p.m. and features the horn-driven R&B musical stylings of Dr. Pocket.
“They played last year and people loved them,” Denomme said of Dr. Pocket.
The Village Car Show, sponsored by Ray Laethem Motor Village, was introduced last year and already it has expanded. It runs noon-6 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday, and features classics, antiques, hot rods, muscle cars, exotic vehicles and more.
“This car show is just growing like a weed,” Denomme said. “We’re very excited about the growth of the event.”
What once basically just occupied Kercheval has now spread to encompass the entire Village.
“There’s growth in every area,” Denomme said of VillageFest.
The beloved kickoff for fall offers fun for everyone from little tykes to seniors.
“We think we have a nice balance,” Denomme said. “There’s plenty for the kids to do, and as a community event, we’ve always made sure all (attendees) are entertained.”
Kramer said the many volunteers who work on VillageFest — especially the chairs of different elements — are key to the festival’s success. He said the “food, the music, the art, and the cars, and most importantly, seeing and visiting with your friends and neighbors,” are what keep people coming back year after year.
The festival also gives Village merchants a chance to introduce newcomers to their wares.
“There’ll be lots of great shopping that weekend as well,” Denomme said. “(Visitors) will find some really unique offers and items.”
For more information, call (313) 886-7474, log onto www.thevillagegp.com or visit the Village Facebook page.
- Last 24 Hours
- Last 7 Days
- Last 30 Days
- City, mayor settle whistleblower case - Warren
- Chupa named to 37th District Court bench - Warren
- Local man’s song sung by former ‘Beach Boy,’ Chris Farmer - St. Clair Shores
- LOOKING BACK: Roy Kaul and Santa Claus c. 1940s - St. Clair Shores
- Madison Heights police union files complaint against city - Madison Heights
- Drunken driving: The ultimate consequence is life - West Bloomfield
- Arson under investigation in Hazel Park - Hazel Park
- Looking Back: Harper Woods High School - Harper Woods
- Missing Southfield man found dead in Sterling Heights field - Sterling Heights
- Police arrest four for Christmas shopping through theft - Commerce Township
- Ukrainians rally in support of ‘Euromaidan’ demonstrators - Warren
- Police continue to investigate woman’s death - Warren
- ‘Tis the season to lace up those ice skates - Metro Detroit
- Vista Maria brings after-school program to Harper Woods - Harper Woods
- Lions Thanksgiving halftime show spotlights WLC band, cheer teams - Walled Lake
- Missing woman found dead - West Bloomfield
- Looking Back: Selinsky-Green Farmhouse c. 1898 - St. Clair Shores
- New Macomb Mall owners to redevelop Crowley’s building - Roseville
- BHS Orchestra selected to perform at Carnegie Hall - Berkley
- Local resident opens toy company at Partridge Creek - Clinton Township
- Community gets ready for 38th annual Grosse Pointe Santa Claus Parade Nov. 29 - Grosse Pointe City
- Sterling woman hurt in shooting - Sterling Heights
- Christmas comes to the Shores - St. Clair Shores
- County board considers regional water authority proposal - Macomb County
- Hams looking for taller towers in Roseville - Roseville
- BHS Orchestra selected to perform at Carnegie Hall
- Lions Thanksgiving halftime show spotlights WLC band, cheer teams
- Local resident opens toy company at Partridge Creek
- Child prodigy becomes youngest artist exhibited at Park West Gallery
- All in the family
- Christmas Wonderfest brings holiday wonder to Novi
- Ferndale resident taking part in Potters Market for first time