Summer wraps up with Bulldog Beginnings

Families browse the racks full of clothes set up for the 2017 Summer Fest during Bulldog Beginnings. This year’s Summer Fest will be from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25, and will feature sports contests, sidewalk sales, live music and more. (Pioneer file photos)

BIG RAPIDS — Ferris State University students are gearing up for the next semester and to welcome new and returning pupils back to campus, the Big Rapids Downtown Business Association and the college will host Summer Fest.

Summer Fest, one of the many events planned during a 16-day Bulldog Beginnings schedule designed to greet incoming FSU faculty, staff and students and introduce the school community to downtown Big Rapids, will run from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25.

The inflatable archway featuring the Ferris State University bulldog mascot dominated part of Michigan Avenue during a previous Summer Fest. Summer Fest is designed with a focus toward the community from noon until 3 p.m., and the students from 3 to 6 p.m.

“This is a great opportunity for not only the incoming students to familiarize themselves with all that downtown Big Rapids has to offer, but for the community to see what is new as well,” said Rick Swinson, Big Rapids JCPenney general manager and Summer Fest committee chairperson.

Swinson said one of the goals of the event is to create fun and excitement for the students as they explore the downtown area.

“From amazing restaurants, bars and breweries to unique shops and services,” he said about some of the area assets. “Summer Fest also is an opportunity to show off the personal, hometown hospitality we are known for, which is why downtown Big Rapids has been coined with the phrase — ‘You Will Love it Here!'”

Events for Summer Fest include a sports competition — complete with archery, basketball, football toss, corn hole, softball pitch, ammo can press and pull-ups; a scavenger hunt, for which participants can download an app to compete for a prize basket valued at $500; Bulldog motor sports car show; street dance with Katy Bee; and aerialist Rachel Finan performing 25 feet in the air over Michigan Avenue.

Summer Fest attendees also will find an open mic at Quinn’s music store; a live Balsam Brothers performance from noon to 2 p.m.; a live Outlaw Express performance from 3 to 5 p.m.; art on Michigan Avenue; ride the Bulldog Express, a train that will travel through downtown Big Rapids; sidewalk sales; inflatables; a climbing wall; prizes and more.

Summer Fest is designed with a focus geared toward the community from noon until 3 p.m., and the students from 3 to 6 p.m. Shuttle transportation will be available for FSU students.

For the rest of Bulldog Beginnings, which will continue through Saturday, Sept. 8, community members can find an ice cream social and multiple booths with giveaways during Founders’ Day, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30, on campus. The night will come to a close with the opening football game, which will begin at 7:30 p.m.

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Posted by Meghan Gunther-Haas

Meghan is the education reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review. She can be reached at (231) 592-8382 or by email at mhaas@pioneergroup.com.

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