The Rapidian

Street party brings the best beer, food and music Grand Rapids has to offer

The ninth annual Local First Street Party, presented in part by Founders brewery, attracted a large crowd of local business supporters to Weston Street for the festivities. The party featured all local food, beer, wine and music.
Underwriting support from:

Additional Sponsors

Celebration Cinema, Printing Productions Ink, Ellis Parking, Horizen Hydroponics, St. Julian Wine, Clark Communications, GR Now, WYCE Radio, Empress, Image Shoppe and Gemini Publications.

Horn player from Grupo Aye

Horn player from Grupo Aye /Ryan Yuenger

Crowd waits for La Familia

Crowd waits for La Familia /Ryan Yuenger

Crowd before Afro Zuma

Crowd before Afro Zuma /Ryan Yuenger

On a day when temperatures reached the 90s, the Local First Street Party last Saturday was as crowded as ever, featuring a handful of local bands and even more local food choices. Taking place on Weston Street in front of Bistro Bella Vita, the party largely serves as a vehicle to promote local businesses and get the public to support them. As always, there was no charge for entry to the party.

“It is important to us that admission to the Street Party is free because we view the event as an extension of our educational programming,” said Local First executive director Elissa Hillary. While there was no fee to get in, attendees were advised to bring their cash and ID’s because local vendors awaited them towards the back of the party grounds.

“All of the food stands look and smell great,” says attendee Jenny Coen, “but the trucks are what really intrigue me.” On the opposite end of the grounds sat two local food trucks, The Silver Spork and What the Truck.

One particularly popular spot was What the Truck food truck.“These Korean pork tacos are amazing,” Coen says. The tacos consisted of braised local pork, kimchi slaw, sesame sriracha aioli and cilantro, served in two corn tortillas. Other food vendors included Grand Rapids Pizza Delivery, San Chez, Stoner Taco and Little Pearl Cupcakes.

Leading off the music lineup was progressive bluegrass band Fauxgrass Quartet. With the sun scorching the ground, attendees slowly filed in as the quartet plucked their strings and created some heat of their own on stage. Currently touring around Michigan, Fauxgrass Quartet has 11 more shows in June and July, including appearances at Billy’s Lounge, GRAM on the Green and Freidrick Meijer Gardens. Their energetic string picking started the high quality atmosphere of the entire evening.

Handling the beer supply was presenting sponsor of the party, Founders Brewing Company. On tap were traditional favorites Centennial IPA and Pale Ale, along with their Cerise cherry ale. “The cherry ale is delicious,” said Spencer Green, “it barely even tastes like beer. It’s like cherry juice that gets you buzzed. I love it.”

The energy continued after Afro Zuma with Grupo Aye, The Hard Lessons and local hip-hop favorite La Famiglia. Festival organizers hope that the energy of this party will continue after it’s over. “The Local First Street Party provides a stage for us to share the important role the local ownership plays in building a vibrant sustainable community,” says Hillary.  

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