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Local First throws Lakeshore Street Party

Local First throws Lakeshore Street Party

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Local First is traveling to a lakeshore town tomorrow to throw an inaugural street party with a diverse lineup of food, beverages, musicians and activities — which reflects the surrounding neighborhoods.

"Microcosm" of its mission

Grand Rapids-based Local First, a nonprofit that advocates local businesses, will host the Lakeshore Street Party from 3-9:00 p.m. at Washington Square in Holland.

The event, which is free to attend, is meant to engage businesses and residents.

The afternoon will feature a range of vendors: New Holland Brewing Co., Vander Mill Ciders, Electric Cadillac Delicatessen, Beechwood Inn, Ray’s Tamale King, The Latin Project, Vinylicious and more.

Between band sets, the local dance troupe Circle Junkeez will perform breakdancing, while WaZoBia plans on conducting interactive Afro-Cuban drumming with families to kick off the party.

Other entertainment will include hula hooping with Audacious Hoops and children’s activities provided by the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holland.

Michele Lonergan, Lakeshore membership coordinator for Local First, said the focus of the street party is to feature local businesses and engage a diverse community.

“The great thing about Washington Square is it is a microcosm of what Local First is all about,” Lonergan said. “It is a great mix of locally owned, independent businesses. There is everything from a yoga studio that has been there for about a year to a 30-year-old restaurant, Pereddis, and incredibly involved business owners. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to put on a street party there.”

Neighborhood interest

With the event in a two-block retail square settled among a vibrant residential area, Lonergan said there’s been positive feedback and excitement from residents, churches and nonprofits.

“The Boys and Girls Club is located right around the corner from Washington Square, so they are going to have a lot of the kids who are involved with Boys and Girls Club come down to the square and street party to do all of the kids’ activities for the day,” Lonergan said. “We have had a lot of calls from the churches in the area, some of the Spanish-speaking churches are really excited about it. It is one of the reasons we printed all of our publications in both English and in Spanish, because we wanted to reflect the demographics of the neighborhood.”

Moveable Party

Local First developed its inaugural Lakeshore Street Party after it was approached by many businesses on Washington Square, asking the organization to take the lead in planning a celebration similar to its Grand Rapids street party, according to Lonergan.

“We wanted to do a street party in some form on the Lakeshore, but it was actually the businesses on Washington Square, many of which are Local First members, who approached us,” Lonergan said. “That was a great thing, because we had buy-in from all of the businesses on the square itself. Many of them had attended the street party in Grand Rapids and loved the idea of tying it in with local businesses.”

For original news article, click here.