The Rapidian

Celebrating dads, diversity at the Burton Heights reunion

The Third Annual Burton Heights Reunion will begin at 12 p.m. in Garfield Park on Sunday, June 18, 2017. Featuring free food, fun, and a live DJ, this event is for the whole family to celebrate Father's Day with the neighborhood.
Garfield Park at the corner of Madison and Burton

Garfield Park at the corner of Madison and Burton /Amy Carpenter

Third Annual Burton Heights Reunion

Garfield Park, Madison and Burton SE

  • Sunday, June 18
  • 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Free food, fun, and a live DJ
  • Open to all kids and families
  • "Straight Outta Burton Heights" T-shirts for $15, 2 for $25
  • Sponsored by Burton Heights Community Leaders
  • Learn more on the Facebook page or call 616.635.5930
Hillside RoRo is the lead organizer of the Burton Heights Reunion

Hillside RoRo is the lead organizer of the Burton Heights Reunion /courtesy of Hillside RoRo

Flyer for the Burton Heights Reunion

Flyer for the Burton Heights Reunion /courtesy of Hillside RoRo

This Sunday, June 18, families from all over the Greater Grand Rapids area are invited to Garfield Park to celebrate Father’s Day with the Burton Heights neighborhood. The Third Annual Burton Heights Reunion will begin at 12 p.m. in the park and will run to 8 p.m. There will be food, games, and a live DJ, all free of charge. People who grew up in the neighborhood are welcome to come renew old friendships, and people who want to get to know Burton Heights better are welcome to come and meet new people.

The lead organizer of the event is Hillside RoRo, who runs an entertainment company out of the Heights.

RoRo said the Garfield park gym will be the home base for the Reunion. “All food will be prepped and served inside the gym and cafeteria-style tables will be available for seating. We'll also have access to additional restrooms.” RoRo shared that the kitchen is preparing to serve 400-500 kids this year.

On his reason for throwing the neighborhood party, RoRo said, “I grew up in Burton Heights and I just wanted to do something that would bring us all together in a good light. Something that the community could be proud of every year.”

RoRo shared, “Growing up in the Heights was great, the best part being the ethnic diversity. We had and still have every ethnicity in our community. As I got older I learned how it helped me relate to a lot of other people in life.”

RoRo started the event a few years ago with a few of his friends and fellow entrepreneurs from the neighborhood. He said while the neighborhood comes together to help sponsor the event, he and his friends do most of the organizing work. “And that’s okay. We don’t mind taking a day out to give back to the kids and the community.”

The organizers have worked hard to promote the event in the neighborhood and surrounding areas, putting up posters and selling T-shirts that say “Straight Outta Burton Heights” followed by the words “Reunion 2017.”

When RoRo and his friends started the event three years ago, “We wanted to attach it to one of the summer holidays and Father’s Day just seemed to fit.” He said he enjoys giving families a place to celebrate the day together.

RoRo is a father himself to three girls and three boys, ranging from age 2 to 20. When it was pointed out that he’s already working hard as a busy dad, he laughed. “Who are you telling? They’re my team, though.”

Anyone interested in donating or volunteering can contact Hillside RoRo through the event’s Facebook page or by calling 616-635-5930.

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