LaughFestIt’s March, and yet Mother Nature hasn’t quite gotten the message that spring’s supposed to be on the way. In these last days of snow, slush, mud and gray skies, who couldn’t use a good laugh? Which is why Gilda’s Club, a free cancer support community in Grand Rapids is holding LaughFest this week – a 10-day comedy festival that is the first of its kind in the country.

With headliners like Bill Cosby and Betty White, plus many other performers and events, LaughFest is sure to bring a chuckle or two (or many!) to your lips.

Running from March 10th through March 20th, LaughFest offers a ‘seriously funny’ lineup of events and performances, over a hundred of which are free, at various venues around town. At what other event could the Kickoff Party include an attempt to break the world record for number of people tossing rubber chickens, or are you able to learn Laughter Yoga? There are many options specifically aimed at families and kids, including:

  • Super Saturday Kids Time on March 12th ($7) that offers laser tag, an extreme obstacle course, music, big screen video games and more.
  • Kids Joke Night (free) is a combination of pre-recorded and live kids jokes – you can sign your kids up to participate on stage or just watch (and laugh) from the audience.
  • Dan Zanes & Friends ($7/$10) – see the popular children’s singer.
  • Pet Look-Alike Showcase & Contest (free) – includes activities, treats, music, photo booths, prizes, and more.
  • Baby Loves Disco ($7/$10) is a dance party for toddlers and preschoolers.

Even many of the regular comedy performances are designated as ‘clean’ (without vulgarity) as well, so there’s plenty of laughs to be had for all ages. Some of the comedians slated to perform include Alan Zweibel (an original SNL writer), popular comic Margaret Cho, Kevin Hart (from BET’s “Comic View: One Mic Stand,”), Chonda Pierce (Visionary Awards Christian Music Hall of Fame’s Comedian of the Year in 2009), and three Last Comic Standing finalists (Roy Wood Jr., Myq Kaplan and Rachel Feinstein). Not to mention the two ‘big’ headliners – “An Evening with Betty White”  includes dinner, and a moderated conversation with the Emmy-winning actress. Tickets for the dinner are quite pricey, but the event will also be simulcast at a second location as well. Bill Cosby’s afternoon performance is sold out, but there are still tickets available for Sunday evening’s show.

Along with providing laughs sure to get your smile muscles working overtime, LaughFest also looks to be a lot of fun – with a 19-hole indoor mini golf course designed by artists, and a creatively decorated bra auction to help raise funds to support Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids’ cancer, grief, and support programs. Almost 27,000 LaughFest tickets have been sold, but there’s still plenty of chuckles, hoots and guffaws to go around if you’re looking for a fun way to help get through these last few days until spring finally makes an entrance!

For more information, you can visit the LaughFest website, read their blog, follow them on Twitter or ‘like’ them on Facebook. If you’re going to be near Grand Rapids over the next 10 days, be sure to stop and laugh along with us – but even if you can’t be here to giggle in person you can see photos and video from the event on Flickr and YouTube.

Deb writes as West Michigan TravelingMom as well as at Mom of 3 Girls and Just a mom’s take on things…. You can also find her on Twitter – she’s @DebMomOf3.