The Rapidian

Grand Rapids, get ready to laugh

Comedic 10-day festival boasts 150 free and ticketed events with over 40 different venues for various fun-loving crowds.
LaughFest gears up for its annual festival that attracts 40,000 to 50,000 each year. Photo courtesy of LaughFest Facebook page.

LaughFest gears up for its annual festival that attracts 40,000 to 50,000 each year. Photo courtesy of LaughFest Facebook page.

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The common saying “laughter is the best medicine” refers to the ability of how humor and funniness can cure some of the more grim parts of our lives. It’s scientifically proven to help reduce stress, let loose insecurities, and distract from the unfortunate circumstances in life that we sometimes face.

That’s why Gilda's Club in Grand Rapids is putting on “LaughFest,” a festival that celebrates the idea of laughter with events geared toward audiences that enjoy stand-up comedians, improv sketches, humor-oriented musical performances, and more.

The self described “festival of laughter,” which runs from March 8 to March 18, will feature a mix of different entertainers with different comedic styles, including acts from famous comedians “Weird Al” Yankovic, Cameron Esposito, Trevor Noah and Greg Hahn.

The festival has events lined up for diverse audiences, whether it be age, cultural background, or sense of humor. Those with mature tastes might enjoy comedic performers like Adam Degi or Zach Martina, in the “Dirty Show,” on Friday, March 16 at the Pyramid Scheme, 68 Commerce Ave. SW at 11:59 p.m., or those with children could enjoy the inflatable ride filled carnival “Super Saturday Kids Zone” taking place on Saturday, March 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m in the GRCC Ford Fieldhouse, 111 Lyon St. NE.

All the proceeds for ticket sales will go to Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, which offers free emotional healthcare to those affected by a cancer diagnosis, or experienced the loss of a loved one to cancer.

Sydney Zeien, marketing coordinator for Gilda's Club Grand Rapids, said the purpose of the festival is to not only raise awareness of the services offered by Gilda’s Club, but also on how laughter can be beneficial in difficult times.

“I just think that, regardless of what's going on in anyone's life, we can always come together and laugh,” she said. “You can always find things to laugh about with someone else, no matter the struggle you might be having.”

Tickets for each event can be found on the LaughFest website, or at LaughFest Central 40 Monroe Center St. NW, headquarters for LaughFest, to avoid the fee of online purchasing.

In anticipation for the start of the festival, Zeien said this year LaughFest is encouraging the community to “Yellow-Up” on social media, by taking pictures of themselves in yellow gear, or otherwise celebrating the color yellow, through the hashtag #yellowup for a chance to win prizes.

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