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Southwest Arbor Fest 2019
By Greg Hartman

The kickoff to the 2019 festival season, Southwest Arbor Fest brings together the community for a day of food, music, and connection at Lincoln Park.  Starting at noon on Saturday, April 27th, this celebration of Arbor Day has many booths, including arts and crafts and community organizations. There are activities directed towards children, including a chance to explore with “touch a truck”.

Kicking off at noon are the primary activities, a mac and cheese cook off and beer fest competition.  For $5, festival goers can sample each mac and cheese entry and vote for their favorite. Entries come from local food trucks and restaurants, providing many takes on the comfort food classic.  For $25, those above 21 can sample beer and cider to and vote for their favorites as well. The samplings continue until supplies run out.

Also starting at noon is the entertainment for the day, which again was curated by Grand Valley Live.  The day begins with Tim + Richard from 12:00 to 1:15. The popular performers utilize acoustic guitar, vocals, and a variety of percussion with a bit of electronic effects.  A strike on Richard’s Cajon sends vibrations through wires and provides a sound base that betrays the size of the group. Expect upbeat rock and roll with infectious energy.

At 1:30, Union of None take the stage.  The band is now a trio, with local legend Kellen Micheals taking over on bass to join guitarist Drew Fields and drummer Jeff Steele.  The group provides hits from the ‘80’s and 90’s, ranging from Flock of Seagulls to Stone Temple Pilots. New songs are being added to their repertoire each week, so never expect the same set list.

Finishing off the day is the white-hot group Wave 11.  Vocalists Zac Couron and Charles Walker have recruited Suckafish drummer Derek Suiter to fill out their mix of reggae, alternative, and hip hop.  Bringing in Derek has freed Charles up to provide alternative percussion, as well as a more dynamic performance since he is not anchored to a cajon.  They recently headlined at Mesa Theater and are a big draw wherever they play.

We hope to see you all there for a celebration of our community, or at least beer, music, and macaroni and cheese.  Check out grandvalleylive.com for music and videos from the bands.