Once again, a lucky business trip happened to be timed with Grand Rapids' annual Art Prize festival! This year, I was able to soak up more of the artwork, reconnect with a friend, eat delicious food, and enjoy the beautiful fall weather!
On my first night in town, I joined the "Nerd Walk" supporting the local PBS station, which was kind of a kickoff event for the festival. I marched behind the GVSU band and enjoyed the great energy! I also saw some art exhibits in The Morton hotel building, which is being gutted to construct apartment I believe. Saw some very modern/freaky stuff. Also enjoyed a walk around The B.O.B.
My friend MW, who grew up in Grand Rapids, met up with me for both the walk and dinner. We joined her son and her parents at San Chez, a fantastic tapas restaurant, for a true feast. There was just so much deliciousness! I couldn't take pictures fast enough to capture all the plates. The patatas bravas were excellent (always a tapas favorite) and my dessert, the empanadas de manzanas, were like a gourmet McDonald's apple pie, in all the best ways.
The next day, after my business meetings, I enjoyed a run around the downtown area. The river and surrounding area was perfect for a relaxing jog, and filled with things to see. I met up with MW again at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, to see some more exhibits. This festival has everything... I saw installations, robots, woodwork, even a display case filled with BEES. Live bees, making art on art. Crazy!
Those are real bees on the right.
Really cool how you look at something from one perspective... then another, and it's WOW!
For dinner, we met up with MW's parents again, this time for delicious burgers at Cottage Bar, a delightful little hole-in-the-wall with great food. It was just so fun to eat places with true locals; MW's parents have been volunteering for the festival ever since it started five years ago, and everywhere we went they were stopped by people who knew them. I felt very special to experience the city with them! Not only were the burgers at Cottage Bar delicious, but they had beer-battered waffle fries. Grand Rapids has such good beer and food, I feel like I could live there if it weren't for the harsh winters!
I really like Grand Rapids.
P.S. Congrats to SHAUNIE, who won my Red Gold apron and cookbook giveaway! Check your e-mail so I can get you the prizes.