Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Recap: Winter Comedy Arts Festival

This past weekend was the Traverse City Winter Comedy Arts Festival, and I've never seen our little downtown so populated in the winter! This was the festival's fourth year, and it was an incredible success. Streets were closed downtown to make way for all sorts of wonderful activities--a full ice bar, a ferris wheel, ice skating rink, massive sledding hill, zip line, nearly a hundred ice sculptures--and the entire weekend was a BLAST. There were kids, grandparents, dogs, babies pulled in sleds...and everyone was bundled up in layer upon layer of winter gear to keep warm. But, with all the fun going on downtown, I doubt too many people were paying attention to the cold.

The festival consists of two main parts: free events on Front Street, and an impressive line-up of comedians from all across the country. Comedians this year included some big names: Rosie O'Donnell, Fred Willard, Michael Ian Black, Tig Notaro (my new favorite comedian), Tim Meadows, Stephen Lynch, and many other hilarious up-and-comers. Now that we're halfway through February (and hopefully halfway through our winter), this town really needed some laughter to warm us up. The festival definitely delivered!

My husband and I dedicated our Friday night and entire day on Saturday to manage the concessions stand at the City Opera House. We love volunteering at the Opera House for the Film Festival, and the Comedy Festival holds an equally-fond place in our hearts. People come to the Comedy Festival to have a good time, and volunteering helps us contribute to that good time and make it even better. Plus, if we're lucky, we get to catch the shows! I was thrilled to get the opportunity to catch Michael Ian Black...he has been a long-time favorite of mine, and his stand-up act was hilarious.

The other great perk to volunteering is working with a fantastic crew. All the volunteers that put the festival together work hard and help make it such an impressive event. We always end a festival with new friends of all ages, and with fond memories of our volunteering experience. If you volunteered for the festival this year, thank you!

Unfortunately for my hubby and I, volunteering full-time as managers means that we don't get the opportunity to check out all the awesome activities on Front Street until Sunday, but there was plenty going on downtown the whole weekend. The ferris wheel is always a favorite of mine during the festival. How crazy are we Michiganders for wanting to ride a ferris wheel in winter?! We did miss out on playing the frozen putt-putt course and riding the zip line, which was sad. However, the zip line ran right outside the City Opera House, so we were able to watch kids and adults ride on it all day long...pretty awesome.

That's what I love about this town: we have some weird and crazy things going on all throughout the year, and it keeps life exciting no matter what the season. There are a lot of things I know I wouldn't get the chance to experience if TC didn't allow so many different activities and events to take place in our town, and for that I am very thankful. I can't wait to see what incredible winter adventures we'll experience before summer comes!

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