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Going Green in Grand Rapids

We were leaning against a wall along the Grand River at a party when a friend came up and offered to take our picture saying, “You look like you could be standing by the Seine.”

Well, the river that runs through Grand Rapids isn’t exactly the romantic waterway of the City of Light with its Beaux Arts buildings lining its curving edges, but it’s not too shabby.

We noted the juxtaposition of the old and new–hospitals, medical school with the beautiful old church.  Who wouldn’t enjoy the contrast between the glassy smooth water above the fish ladder and the churn below.









As I said, not too shabby.

We were hanging out in this beautiful spot on a perfect August night because the Friends of GR Parks threw the first Green Gala on the terrace of the Plante Moran building.















Loyal supporters showed up wearing green cocktail dresses, green bow ties  and traditional ties and assortments of other green accessories.  The Irish part of me expected some good Guinness to be served and maybe a jig or two played with gusto by an Irish fiddler. Instead a Country Western band performed soulful songs during the cocktail hour. The focus clearly was on Sustainability not Michigan State or my favorite Emerald Isle. It was great.   Green is good.













A techno song/dance band with blaring effects, light show and charismatic sound drew folks to the dance floor after dinner.

Tommy Fitzgerald, a flamboyant chef, well known on the GR party circuit, created a medley of food, some specifically speaking to the Fish Ladder theme.







I hope this party catches on.  The cause is terrific.  The group supports the Grand Rapids Parks Department by purchasing trees, getting volunteers out to do maintenance and whatever they can.  Their focus is on sustainability and creating environments for folks to enjoy the city.  God Bless ‘em.


If you want to see party goers, mugging it up for cameras, go to the web site at Grand Rapids Social Diary and the Green Gala web site.


For a post on another really fun party in Grand Rapids, go to UICA’s Odd Ball-– for sure a DesignDestination.  We also loved the Anniversary Bash in Lisbon at our hotel. What an unexpected and fun that event turned out to be.  The young Lisbon folks from the local acting school made me smile.



Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.


  1. posted by
    Aug 29, 2011 Reply

    Susan, your life is rich with adventures of many kinds. I salute you. sallie

  2. posted by
    Sep 13, 2011 Reply

    It was a good party and I know that if people care about this city and its park amenities, it will “catch on”!

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