MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — One year ago, Muskegon's events calendar was nearly empty and the big celebrations and festivals the city is known for were canceled because of COVID-19.
Now it's May 2021 and the events calendar Visit Muskegon is filling up with gathering, celebrating food, art, motorcycles and classic cars.
This Saturday, Muskegon Rescue Mission's ForeShore Adventure Race makes a return to Pere Marquette beach.
The run will feature many new trails through various terrains, including wooded, dunes, grass, sandy areas and watercourse barriers. The 25 obstacles vary from crawling under tires, swinging through water hazards, running through beach balls and ending with a 50-foot waterslide.
In an effort to address COVID-19 concerns, event organizers are also taking many new precautions for the run.
"The health of our participants, as well as those in our community and beyond, is our top priority, and we've made many changes accordingly," said Dan Skoglund, Executive Director of the Muskegon Rescue Mission. "Our event has always featured a staggered start, but this year, runners will be released at a slower rate to keep groups at 35 or less. All participants, staff and volunteers will also be required to wear masks during check-in and registration and take measures to socially distance themselves from others by a minimum of six feet."
The event is held to raise awareness about homelessness and hunger needs in Muskegon County and support those who find themselves without shelter or food.
"Your registration will provide roughly 27 meals to men, women or children that are homeless right here in Muskegon County," said Muskegon Rescue Mission Director of Development Melissa Boughner.
On June 8, the Back to the Bricks Promo tour returns to Muskegon's downtown. The multi-city event sponsored by General Motors makes its final overnight stop in Muskegon. Around 250 classic cars are expected to be parked on Western Avenue from 7th to Terrace Street by 3 p.m.
"It's one of the first big events of the summer and back after the pandemic," said local promotor John VanWyck. The event is free and open to the public. "You get to talk with the owners of the vehicles about the kinds of engines," said Van Wyck. "These are pieces of art."
Muskegon Bike Time is set to welcome back motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the country to downtown Muskegon July 15-18. The event will include special attractions, entertainment and food.
“Over the years, Muskegon Bike Time has been an economic boon to hotels, restaurants, bars, gas stations, local retailers and other local tourist attractions,” said Tim Lipan, spokesperson for Muskegon Bike Time. “All of the events surrounding this special motorcycle weekend provide a huge economic impact to the local economy and showcases all we have to offer in Muskegon and along the lakeshore.”
Rebel Road is also returning with events that will take place July 15-17.
Some of the other events taking place in Muskegon this summer include Muskegon Summer Wine Up, Lakeshore Art Festival, a condensed Parties in the Park and the Unity Music Festival.
"Good to hear that we can put those on our event calendar," said Bob Lukens with Visit Muskegon. "As more and more people get vaccinated people become more confident in being in larger groups. I think they'll feel safer at outdoor festivals."
The Michigan Irish Music Festival, Shoreline Jazz Festival and the Polish Festival are not returning in 2021 and all of the cruise ship stops in Muskegon have been canceled.
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