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Bands, Brews & BBQ Festival Is Back!

The Bands, Brews and BBQ Festival is back this summer at the Big Rapids Bandshell on July 10 from 2pm- 10pm, for an amazing day of Bands, Brews and BBQ.

In an effort of looking for new and exciting ways to generate greater awareness of the Big Rapids Region, the Mecosta County Visitors Bureau (MCVB) partnered with the Big Rapids Lions Club in 2019 to bring back the highly anticipated Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival. “This has been a great partnership between the two organizations,” stated Connie Koepke – Executive Director of the Mecosta County Visitors Bureau. “The MCVB’s mission is to market the area’s tourism highlights in hopes of capturing overnight stays at area hotels, as well as return visits to the hotels,” which is where the Visitors Bureau receives its funding from. The Lions Club mission is to raise funds that can be used in support of a large variety of activities that improve their communities and help people in need. Dave Hamelund with the Big Rapids Lions Club states, “Some of the Lions Club projects include assisting the hearing impaired, providing diabetes awareness and education materials, working on environmental projects and developing youth programs.”

With the two organizations working together on this amazing event, they are able to not only accomplish both of the groups’ missions and goals, but also create an extraordinary event that can be enjoyed by all. “You may have noticed a change in the name of this year’s event, altering Blues to Bands. This allows the ability to offer more variety of musical styles and bands; as this annual event continues throughout the years to come,” noted Koepke.

The day of the event is set for Saturday, July 10, from 2:00pm – 10:00pm, which is a great kickoff to fair week that begins on Monday, July 12. The festival will not only include amazing music throughout the day (Blues, Jazz, County and Contemporary) but also local restaurants, offering at least one BBQ themed item, a beer tent as well as a vendor area for community businesses and/or crafters to sell their wares. 

The Mecosta County Visitors Bureau, whom is once again sponsoring the event, noted that there is one other change in this year’s festival. There will not be a charge or ticket cost to attend. The festival will be FREE and open to public. “We are asking that those attending do offer a donation that will go towards the Lions Club and the organizations that they support along with a small portion going to help toward next year’s event expenses,” stated Dave Hamelund of the Big Rapids Lions Club. 

“We are also very excited to have Y102 as our official media sponsor of this year’s event, noted Koepke. The Big Rapids Radio Network has always been great supporters of the community and we love working with the station and their team.”

Current schedule for the day includes: Kickoff with Allison LeVeque singing the National Anthem, and a fun-filled day of nonstop Bands, Brews and BBQ.

This year’s musical lineup includes: Key West Permafrost Blues Band, Steve Somers Band with Valerie, Brenda Loomis Band and Benzing-Graves Collective. The festival’s MC will be local musical talent Kelly Quinn. 

Highlights of each group will be promoted weekly on the Bands, Brews & BBQ Festival Facebook page and on the Mecosta County Visitors Bureau’ Facebook page and website at


Local High School Schedule & Scores

Week of 1/30/23:

Big Rapids:

Tuesday 1/31:

   - Girls Bball v Cadillac - 7:00pm W 55-42

   - Boys BBall @ Cedar Springs - 7:00pm W 38-32

Wednesday 2/1:

   - Boys Wrestling v Central Montcalm - 5:00pm

Friday 2/3:

   - Girls Bball v Morely Stanwood - 6:00pm 

   - Boys Bball v Morely Stanwood - 7:30pm

   - Boys Hockey @ Petosky - 6:00pm

Saturday 2/4:

    - Boys Hockey v Mattawan - 1:30pm

    - Boys Wrestling @ Grant - TBD CSAA Tourney

Reed City: 

Tuesday 1/31:

   - Girls Bball v Manistee - 7:00pm  W 59-44

   - Boys Bball @ Manistee: W 47-42

Wednesday 2/1:

   - Boys Wrestling @ 131 Showdown - 5:30pm

Friday 1/27:

   - Girls BBall @ Howard City - 6:00pm

   - Boys BBall @ Howard City - 7:30pm


This Week's Poll

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