Friday, July 30, 2010

Construction Has Begun at Van Andel Arena!

Construction began yesterday for the new addition on Van Andel Arena. Check out these pictures to see what's happening now!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

All-new Ringling Bros.® experience coming to Van Andel Arena®

The mystery of magic and the mastery of skill will leave audiences spellbound as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents ZING, ZANG, ZOOM®, a mind-blowing circus spectacular where family fun is no illusion. Magical Zingmaster Alex and his assistant, the alluring Levitytia, lead audiences through a kaleidoscope of color and imagery that reveal extraordinary worlds of fantasy and phenomena that celebrate the uplifting spirit of the circus and also ward off a cynical Mr. Gravity and his team of Heavies who try to bring everyone down.

ZING ZANG ZOOM provides hours of thrilling entertainment that is fun for the whole family for about the price of a movie ticket. Ringling Bros. offers the greatest value in family entertainment making the circus Ticketmaster’s number one most purchased family event.

Tickets for ZING ZANG ZOOM go on sale Monday, August 9 at 10 a.m. and are available through, Ticketmaster (, or the Van Andel Arena box office.

Circus goers will watch in amazement as the high flying circus is literally turned upside down. They will witness apprentice illusionists from the audience mysteriously levitate their parents, and they won’t believe it, as a four-ton elephant disappears before their very own eyes. Spectators’ jaws will drop wide open when they behold Mr. Gravity transform from a human into ferocious tiger.

Illusions and magic won’t be the only acts to excite and astound audience members. This all-new circus has some of the most incredible thrill acts ever seen. Families will be breathless as they watch fearless human cannonballs blasting through the air in a dramatic display of daring bravery. Moms, Dads, and kids will teeter on the edge of their seats as they watch the Qi Qi Har Chinese Swinging Log Trapeze act making its debut in North America. A treacherous never before seen quadruple Russian fire-swing sends acrobats crisscrossing two stories in the air and the renowned dangerous dueling wheels of steel defy gravity and logic.

But perhaps the most magical of all will be the amazing and incomparable array of exotic animals, which includes a herd of grand Asian elephants, magnificent Bengal tigers and elegant Arabian and Friesian horses that join forces with human performers to create an experience that will surprise and delight Children of All Ages.

Arrive an hour before show time for the Ringling Bros. Clown College® All Access Pre-show – FREE to all ticket holders, and meet performers and animals, learn circus skills and enjoy a taste of the performance before the show even starts!

Performance Schedule
Thursday, Sept. 16- 7:00 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 17- 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 18- 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 19- 2:00 p.m.

Tickets are $15, $20 and $25, with $30 VIP floor seats also available. There are also a limited number of $41 front row seats and $68 Circus Celebrity seats available. All tickets for Opening Night, excluding premium seating (VIP, front row, Circus Celebrity) are just $12. All seats are reserved, and tickets are available at or by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. For group rates and information, call 616-742-6185.

Take a look at what you can expect from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's mind-blowing circus spectacular!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The U.S. Army's Spirit of America

The U.S. Army’s Spirit of America is coming to Grand Rapids for the first time ever to pay tribute to the sacrifices and triumphs of the American Soldier. Grand Rapids will have the opportunity to celebrate the spirit, strength and history of our nation with more than 300 Soldiers from the U.S. Army Military District of Washington.

During the show, Soldiers in period uniforms reenact key moments in the U.S. Army and American history. The reenactments include battle scenes with short periods of simulated gunfire, and performances by the Army’s elite ceremonial units.

The show features the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” and Soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), the oldest active-duty infantry unit in the Army. Elements of The Old Guard include The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the Caisson Platoon, the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard, the Continental Color Guard and the U.S. Army Drill Team.

This FREE, live-action, patriotic show is like no other as it tells the history of America through the eyes of the American Soldier. While the show is FREE, tickets are needed and can be obtained early by contacting Van Andel Arena. Show times are Friday, September 24th at 10:30 AM and 7:30 PM, and Saturday, September 25th at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM.

To obtain tickets:
-Fill out the ticket order form on and mail it in.
-Visit the Van Andel Arena Box Office in person between 10:00AM and 6:00PM
-Order through Ticketmaster for a nominal fee.
-Groups of 10 or more, please call 616-742-6366 to request tickets.
-For accessible seating, please call 616-742-6600.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Kids' Food Basket is Moving!!

From their beginnings serving 125 kids each school day with sack suppers, Kids' Food Basket has become a force for attacking childhood hunger. With your help, over 2,500 kids now receive sack suppers each weekday during the school year and at over 20 sites throughout the summer.

The success of the sack supper program, along with growing poverty rates in our community, have created an increased demand for Kids' Food Basket's services. Hundreds of volunteers and supporters like you have stepped forward to help meet the need - so much so that they've run out of room!

That's why they're excited to share that Kids' Food Basket will soon have the space to match their community's support and meet the growing need for sack suppers! They hope you'll join them for the next phase in their attack on childhood hunger.

Their new address:
Kids' Food Basket
2055 Oak Industrial Drive NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505

Why move?
Their current space has been maximized, while the need for their programs continues to grow and more volunteers offer their help. In the first three years in their new home, Kids' Food Basket will double the number of kids receiving sack suppers.

How will the move affect volunteers?
Until late August, volunteers will continue to come to the current location. Later this summer they will announce details about volunteering at the new location, including specific moving dates and times, an open house event, and more.

When will the move happen?
They will begin the building process at their new space in July, move to their new location in late August, and begin operations there in September.

Can I help?
Yes! They are grateful to many friends who have already offered to help Kids' Food Basket move or have made a donation to support moving costs. To volunteer or make a gift, please go to

How will the move affect sack supper delivery?
The sack supper program will not be interrupted by the move. Summer sack supper packing and delivery to local parks will take place at the current location, and sack supper packing and delivery for the 2010-2011 school year will be launched at the new location during the third week of September.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

GR Griffins Announce Summer Photo Contest on Facebook

Grand Rapids Griffins fans are invited to enter the team’s summer photo contest by submitting photos via the Griffins’ Facebook page of themselves, friends and family sporting Griffins gear (hats, shirts, jerseys, etc.) in Grand Rapids and beyond.

Prizes will be awarded for the most unique photos, the most people in a photo sporting Griffins gear, and the photos taken the farthest from Grand Rapids. Three winners in each category will receive autographed Griffins memorabilia, while the grand prize winner in each category will also receive the opportunity to take pictures from between the benches during one period of a Griffins 2010-11 regular season game.

To enter, simply “like” the Griffins’ fan page at and upload your photos to their wall, making sure to include important details such as who is in the picture and when and where the picture was taken. Winners will be announced on Aug. 30.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tyler Perry's "Madea's Big Happy Family"

Tyler Perry’s “Madea’s Big Happy Family” is hitting the road again. The first leg of the tour was a tremendous success and Madea and her family are embarking on another leg starting in September 2010 in cities nationwide including New York, Washington D.C, Miami, New Orleans and Houston. The show co-stars Tyler Perry, Cassi Davis, Cheryl “Pepsii” Riley and Chandra Currelly, and comes to Van Andel Arena on Thursday, October 28th at 7:30 PM.

Inspired by his own story, Perry has created his 12th stage play. The live stage production of “Madea’s Big Happy Family” brings entertainment and music telling the stories of the real life situations we all encounter in our own families. It delivers powerful messages of love, hope and immense expectations from beyond through Perry’s signature style which blends hilarious comedy and emotional tears. It is filled with great singing, great acting and of course takes us back to where it all began with the one and only Madea, who is in rare form.

The production consists of 14 cast members, state of the art lighting and staging, two video screens and a 12-piece orchestra band that includes three backup singers.

Tyler Perry, starring as Madea, has a cast of familiar and new characters. Cassi Davis (Aunt Bam) is Ella from House of Payne. Cassi is a two-time nominated NAACP Image Award and a 2010 winner! Cheryl “Pepsii” Riley (Joyce) and Chandra Currelley (Shirley), both stellar R&B artists, have been in several of Mr. Perry’s plays and movies; Palmer Williams, Jr. (Uncle Monroe) from House of Payne and other previous productions; Tamar Davis (Kimberly) and Crystal Collins (Tammy) both from previous productions as well. Two new members of the cast, Jeffery Lewis (Byron) and Zuri Craig (Donnie) were discovered on YouTube!

Starting in September, Madea’s Big Happy Family will tour various cities, filling up major arenas where typically multi-platinum selling rock, pop & R&B concerts perform. Look for this mega production to bring pure entertainment that transcends all ages and cultures to your city! Don’t miss this extraordinary and electrifying stageplay. For more information, visit the website:

Tickets ($57.50 & $67.50) go on sale Friday, July 23rd at 10:00 AM, and will be available at the Van Andel Arena box office, Ticketmaster ticket centers including D&W Stores and select Family Fare locations, charge by phone: 1.800.745.3000 or on-line: Groups of 20 or more save $5 per ticket. For group tickets, call 616.742.6185, e-mail or order on-line at

American Idol Live! Tour Pictures

Pictures from the American Idol Live! Tour that took place at Van Andel Arena on Saturday, July 3, 2010.

WWE Presents SMACKDOWN World Tour

Pictures from the WWE event that took place at Van Andel Arena on Saturday, July 10.

Meijer State Games of Michigan featuring Matt Giraud

Van Andel Arena is Rated #43 on List of Top 100 Arena Venues WORLDWIDE!

The Van Andel Arena made its way onto Pollstar's "Mid-Year 2010 Special Edition" as one of the Top 100 Arena Venues Worldwide!!!

Check out the following link to see how Van Andel Arena measures up! (We're #43 on page 24.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tonight! Star Wars: In Concert

Star Wars: In Concert. TONIGHT! at the Van Andel Arena. Tickets are still available, so come out and enjoy this multi-media event. There will also be an exclusive exhibit with costumes, artifacts, props, and production artwork! Don't miss out on these never-before-seen items!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kids Food Basket Award

Kid's Food Basket is the Van Andel Arena entertainer gift donation of choice as thanks for playing our venue. Kids' Food Basket was recently recognized as the Outstanding Volunteer Program of 2010 at the Governor's Service Awards for the state of Michigan. We agree that Kids' Food Basket Volunteers are the BEST in the state! At the volunteer appreciation we were excited to announce the value of volunteers for the past year to be $684,138.18. That's INCREDIBLE!

Kids' Food Basket, a non-profit organization that attacks childhood hunger in West Michigan, is excited to announce their recent recognition as Outstanding Volunteer Program of the Year by Governor Jennifer Granholm the Michigan Community Service Commission.

The award acknowledges the impact an organization or club makes in community life. Kids' Food Basket strives to ensure children in the community don't go to bed hungry. They provide healthy, tasty, efficient, and cost-effective sack suppers to children who are nutritionally at risk, five days a week. More than 3,000 volunteers help Kids' Food Basket achieve its mission, assembling evening meals, creating recognition projects for donors, picking up food, making sandwiches, performing administrative duties, packaging trail mix, delivering evening meals "sack suppers," and much more! In 2009 alone, volunteers contributed more than 23,000 hours of service to Kids' Food Basket - which allowed the organization to finish out the school year feeding more nearly 2,600 kids. The program's volunteerism rate alone has increased by 45 percent in the past year, allowing more and more young people to be served every day.

"Being named Volunteer Program of the year as an organization is an incredible honor. It is recognition that has been earned by hundreds of volunteers who dedicate themselves to attacking childhood hunger every day, one sack supper at a time," said Bridget Clark Whitney, executive director of Kids' Food basket. "It is also a huge honor for two of our biggest supporters to be finalists. Mary K and Kyle have worked tirelessly to make Kids' Food Basket a successful organization that our community loves and supports."

Over 130 nominations were received for the 2010 awards, with 35 finalists being selected in the seven categories. Winners were announced at a ceremony on June 24, 2010 in Detroit, Mich. at the Gem Theatre.

Kids' Food Basket attacks childhood hunger by providing nutritious sack suppers to nearly 2,600 children in schools throughout Greater Grand Rapids. Each sack supper provides approximately 1,000 calories and represents five food groups. Learn more at

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blenda Rodriguez Makes Cameo Appearance On Colbert Report

Blenda Rodriguez, one of the Harlem Globetrotters’ top dribblers, recently made a cameo appearance on the Colbert Report. You can now see the footage at

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tomorrow night- WWE presents SMACKDOWN World Tour

The WWE SMACKDOWN World Tour will be at Van Andel Arena tomorrow night (7/10) at 7:30PM. Come see the World Heavyweight Championship Match: Rey Mysterio vs. Jack Swagger. Tickets are still available and start at just $17!!

Tickets are available at the Van Andel Arena Box Office, Ticketmaster ticket centers,, or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Globetrotters Make Offer to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade

LeBron James has always insisted winning is his top priority.

Harlem Globetrotters Chief Executive Kurt Schneider wants to know whether he's ready to back that up.

The Globetrotters launched a marketing campaign this week to sign James and Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade when the two become free agents on July 1. The Globetrotters already have No. 3 ''D-Wade'' jerseys and No. 6 ''King'' jerseys for sale on their Web site.

''We're offering them the chance to be guaranteed to be part of a winning team,'' Schneider said. ''LeBron talks all the time about how winning is important to him. Well, the last time we lost to our opponent was 1971. That's a pretty good winning percentage.''

The Globetrotters have an all-time mark of 23,646-345 for a .986 winning percentage. Of course, they only beat up on the Washington Generals.

Schneider understands that the concept of James and Wade leaving the NBA for an entertainment act ''is a long shot.'' But he also believes the Globetrotters are making a comeback in popularity, they play around the world and he is willing to give the two stars ownership in the privately held company and 51 percent of their merchandise sales.

The Globetrotters broke 73 of their own box-office records last season in their 84th year of touring. They broke 62 ticket records the season before that, showing Schneider that the family entertainment act is again becoming a fan favorite.

The Globetrotters have reached out to James' people, but have not heard a reply. James' publicist did not respond to the Beacon Journal when asked whether James would ever consider the idea.

James will probably make more than $18 million next season from the NBA as part of a new maximum contract. Schneider can't pay him that much in salary, and wouldn't divulge what he would pay, but hopes the lure of ownership and merchandise revenue would offset what the two stars would lose in base salary.

Schneider said the percentage of ownership the Globetrotters would be willing to surrender depends on whether they're even in the conversation.

''Are we even in the realm of consideration or not?'' Schneider asked. ''It's a long shot. The unknown in this is the ownership factor and how much this company grows in value. If this becomes huge and was sold to someone else, that could be worth an awful lot. I can't compete in salary, but I can compete by doing a couple of other things.''

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined $100,000 last month for declaring his interest in acquiring James, but NBA Commissioner David Stern's power doesn't extend beyond the league. That leaves Schneider free to publicly court the two stars all he wants.

''We say it takes three things to be a Globetrotter,'' Schneider said. ''You have to be a great basketball player, a great entertainer and a great person. We think both of those guys have that.''

NBA stars have previously suited up for the Globetrotters, including Wilt Chamberlain, Connie Hawkins and Nat''Sweetwater'' Clifton, the first African-American to sign an NBA contract. Magic Johnson played a handful of games for the Globetrotters in 1997 and again in 2003. More recently, Cavalier Jamario Moon played with the Globetrotters in 2004 before establishing himself in the NBA. He said last season he earned about $2,000 a week playing with the Globetrotters.

For comparison's sake, James makes more than $300,000 a week from the Cavs.

Schneider called James the world's best player and chose Wade because of his admitted fondness for the Globetrotters while growing up. It's easy to accuse Schneider of taking advantage of the publicity surrounding this free-agent class simply to sell a few jerseys.

''If you were CEO of this company and you were trying to grow this globally, wouldn't you try to get the two best basketball players in the world when they're available?'' Schneider asked. ''Shame on us if we didn't go after these guys.''

Bob Kaser Wins AHL's Ellery Award For Outstanding Radio Coverage Bob Kaser Wins AHL's Ellery Award For Outstanding Radio Coverage

Bob Kaser, the Grand Rapids Griffins’ vice president of community relations and broadcasting, has been named the recipient of the American Hockey League’s 2009-10 James H. Ellery Memorial Award in the radio category, in recognition of his outstanding coverage of the league.

After 10 seasons, Kaser’s play-by-play of Griffins hockey on Newsradio WOOD 1300 AM remains the gold standard in Michigan sports. Since 2002, his broadcasts alongside color commentator Larry Figurski have received five Michigan Association of Broadcasters awards and three Michigan Associated Press awards.

Last season, Kaser was instrumental in putting nine of the Griffins’ games on ESPN 96.1, a new all-sports FM station, and he instituted a new feature to his broadcasts profiling former Griffins and other AHL graduates now playing in the NHL. He also made frequent appearances on local TV and radio shows to promote the Griffins, the AHL, alumni with the parent Detroit Red Wings, and the team’s numerous events in the West Michigan community.

In addition to his broadcast duties, Kaser directs the Griffins’ community relations efforts and was instrumental in the organization garnering the AHL’s 2008-09 Western Conference award for community service. Under his leadership, the Griffins have helped generate more than $2.4 million for local charities over the last eight seasons, including nearly $330,000 during the 2009-10 campaign alone.

Kaser, who founded many of the team’s innovative community programs, also serves as president of the Griffins Youth Foundation, chairman of the foundation’s annual golf classic, co-chair of the Great Skate Winterfest, and director of the Griffins’ youth hockey camp.

A Kalamazoo native who grew up in Flint, Kaser has been involved in hockey since 1979, most notably spending 10 seasons (1990-2000) as director of communications and broadcasting for the International Hockey League’s Kansas City Blades. He was twice awarded the Bob Chase Award as IHL Broadcaster of the Year (1993-94 and 1997-98), and his public relations staff earned recognition as the best in the Western Conference on four occasions (1994-95, 1995-96, 1997-98 and 1999-00).

In his free time, Kaser assists with several worthy causes in West Michigan, serving as a board member for Southern Little League baseball and Cornerstone University's Champions of Character program, and a member of the Advancing Excellence committee for East Grand Rapids Schools.

Kaser becomes the fourth local winner of an Ellery Award for outstanding media coverage during the Griffins’ nine seasons of AHL membership, joining Fox 17’s Tim Doty (2007-08), former Grand Rapids Press sportswriter Joe Conklin (2002-03), and WOOD TV-8 (2001-02). No other AHL market has been home to as many Ellery winners or has had honorees in every category (radio, TV, newspaper) during that span.

This also marks the fourth time in the last four seasons that the Griffins’ front office has been recognized with an AHL award. Last season, in addition to the community service honor, Grand Rapids won the league’s Western Conference award for overall ticket sales growth, while senior director of public relations Randy Cleves won the 2006-07 Ken McKenzie Award as the outstanding executive in public relations and marketing.

American Idol Ticket Giveaway- We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Heather Hampton, our American Idol Trivia Contest winner...we hope you enjoy the show! Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the contest! Become a follower of our blog for more exclusive information and future contests. Thanks again!