LaughFest postpones final three days

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Gilda's LaughFest is postponing the final three days of its festival. Photo via fb.com

UPDATE (4:30 p.m. March 13, 2020): Fortune Feimster's show was rescheduled for 7 p.m. May 22 at Fountain Street Church. For those interested in purchasing tickets for the rescheduled show can visit laughfestgr.org.

The city’s festival of laughter is taking a serious step.

Gilda’s LaughFest said Friday it is postponing the final three days of the Grand Rapids-based festival due to the spread of COVID-19.

“We greatly appreciate your support as we navigate a chapter that none of us have ever journeyed before,” the festival said in a statement on its website.

“Gilda’s LaughFest was designed to raise awareness of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids and its free emotional health support of children, adults, families and friends on any kind of cancer journey or those grieving a death due to any cause. As an organization supporting those on a cancer journey, it is only appropriate that we cancel the remainder of the festival beginning with events scheduled for Friday, March 13 through Sunday, March 15.

“We recognize the need to protect our community from the potential spread of COVID-19 and will follow the recommendations set by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which encourages the cancellation or postponement of large gatherings.”

Gilda’s LaughFest will postpone the below events. Details regarding the rescheduling of these shows will be released at a later date. Tickets will be honored for the rescheduled shows, or individuals can request a refund at the point of purchase.

  • Maria Bamford at Wealthy Theatre
  • Fortune Feimster at Fountain Street Church
  • Signature event featuring Jeff Foxworthy at DeVos Place
  • Rockin’ Home Grown at The Intersection
  • River City Improv at Wealthy Theatre

Other impacts

With the cancellation of the festival and the postponing of the signature event featuring Jeff Foxworthy that was to be held Saturday at DeVos Place, a majority of the over 700 meals that were to be served will be donated Mel Trotter Ministries, which helps those experiencing hunger and homelessness.

Other meals will be served during Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids suppers for the organization’s members.

In addition to the food donations, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids will extend its High Five donation program and is asking the community to consider donating virtually to the renamed “High Elbow” appeal.

High Five proceeds contribute 15%-20% of Gilda’s Club’s general operating fund.

“The unexpected cancellation of the festival will have a major impact on our revenue stream, as our time to ask the community for a ‘High Five’ gift has been reduced. We are asking individuals to rally with us in solidarity to help ensure no one must face a cancer or grief journey alone, by making a virtual ‘High Elbow’ donation to Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids,” said Wendy Wigger, president of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.

Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids runs entirely on charitable donations and currently serves more than 10,000 individuals each year at its clubhouses in Grand Rapids and Lowell, in various schools and community centers.

Those wishing to participate in the “High Elbow” campaign can do so at laughfestgr.org, Gilda’s Club’s Facebook page or by calling (616) 735-HAHA.

A portion of the money raised during the appeal will be matched by the Herman Miller Cares and Peter C. & Emajean Cook foundations.

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