A patriotic parade followed up by lessons in Steampunk, yarn bombing and picking up marbles with your toes can only mean one thing: the heat has gone to our brains. Cool events for our hot summer days, yeah, only REVUE knows how you like it—quirky, different with a side of Popsicles.
Hollyhock Lane 4th of July Parade
Ottawa Hills Neighborhood
Calvin & Alexander SE
July 4, 8 a.m.
Families and kids around the neighborhood enter the most patriotic (and earth friendly) floats at the super-adorable Hollyhock Lane parade in the Ottawa Hills Neighborhood. The parade has hometown heroes such as police and fire trucks, motorcycles and a band made up of dancing neighbors. See decorated bikes and wagons and the streets lined with people. "I've been a part of it my entire life and I'm almost 45," said Wendi Moore, committee member. One of the longest running backyard parades, this gathering features a special speaker, candy, balloons, flags and a spot for coffee, cookies and Popsicles. Neighborhood kids represent Uncle Sam and Miss Liberty and start the group singing of the national anthem after the parade. It's all about dressing up in red, white and blue and watching floats and having a good time in the most charming of community settings. So, you're in, right?
Steampunk Mousetrap Message Clips
Grand Rapids Public Library-West Side Branch
713 Bridge St. NW
July 11, 4-5 p.m.
grpl.org, (616) 988-5400
If you don't tan and are sick of the pool scene, take a break and go Steampunk for a bit. Part of the summer reading challenge, this event is a lesson in Steampunk subculture, where you can test your knowledge, learn more and get creative. "Steampunk takes elements of the Victorian era and the idea of mechanical things and combines them into new, different things," said Marketing and Communications Manager Kristen Krueger-Corrado. The Grand Rapids Public Library knows what gets teens excited and this hands-on mousetrap project is just the thing for "teens, preteens and kids that are very interested in working with their hands or crafts or arts or that like to think creatively." Recommended for ages 11 to 18, teens will take a mousetrap and different objects and design them with unique mechanical movements or with Victorian structures so rather than catching a mouse you can use the reworked trap in your locker or on your fridge and clip messages and notes. This event takes an item intended for one use and makes it into something else—and that's not only practical, but pretty darn cool. If you miss the July 11 date you can catch the same program on July 18, 24, 29 and 31.
Lowell Riverwalk Festival
July 11-13, Thurs. & Fri., 6-9 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-into the night with fireworks at 10:15 p.m.
Free ($1 for Kidz Zone area)
riverwalkfestival.org, (616) 897-9161
Put some hours in at the Lowell Riverwalk Festival where many family friendly activities are happening, including an Arts & Crafts, Antiques & Re-found Treasures show, Riverwalk Cruise-in with classic cars, Kidz Zone, concerts and From the Heart Parade. "Who doesn't love a parade?" said Liz Baker, executive director with the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce. From pontoon rides, kayak and canoe races, food booths, a used book sale, street entertainers and downtown shopping, there are plenty of things to see and do and keep the kids entertained. Be a big money winner at the Duck Race, where plastic yellow ducks travel down the Grand River and the first duck collected in a downstream entrapment wins $1000 or be one of the five $100 winners. "It's fun to watch," Baker said, adding there's a lot of anticipation. New this year is a Yarn Bombing event sure to brighten moods, showcasing vibrant color along Main Street from Hudson to Monroe. Trees are decorated with yarn in hopes to "bring people out to celebrate summer," said Kacey Cornwell, project director at LowellArts!, "Also, to get the public more involved with what LowellArts! is all about—to have arts in everyday life." Children will especially love how trees come even more alive with crochet and knitting work wrapped around trunks and hung from branches. "We are just so jazzed about this," Cornwell said of the Yarn Bombing that's been happening in Europe, but now, for the first time in Lowell during the 19th year of the Riverwalk Festival.
Lunch and Learn—Splish Splash Water Fun in the Park
Celery Flats Historical Area
7335 Garden Lane, Portage
July 25, 11 a.m.-noon
Take a day to get wonderfully wet and play in the water at the Celery Flats Historical Area in Portage. A variety of fun, wet outdoor activities are on hand including a sprinkler obstacle course and games that involve water. Try your hand at squirt guns and knock down cups. You can also choose how wet you want to get with games such as a bucket filled with water and marbles where you have to take your shoes off and pick up marbles with your toes. Kids are going to have a blast because "it's a fun way to get wet," said Allison Alexander, the Celery Flats cultural events coordinator. "We all want to get wet in the summer!"