Bulldog Family & Friends Weekend to kickoff Friday

Ferris State University students have the opportunity to explore downtown Big Rapids with their families and friends this weekend during Bulldog Family & Friends Weekend from Friday, Oct. 19, to Sunday, Oct. 21. In addition to several activities planned throughout the weekend, many local businesses also will be offering deals and incentives. (Pioneer file photo)

BIG RAPIDS — Local businesses in downtown Big Rapids will open their doors to Ferris State University students and their families this weekend for Bulldog Family & Friends Weekend.

The third annual event is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 19, through Sunday, Oct. 21, with activities and time for families and friends to connect with their students throughout the weekend.

Melanie Mulder, coordinator of outreach programs at FSU, said the activities were planned to try to encourage students to bring their families to downtown Big Rapids and increase the university’s interaction with the parents.

“The event is about making (students and their families) more aware of the community and its resources — Big Rapids is a gorgeous town,” she said.

Mulder added 20 businesses are participating in Bulldog Family & Friends Weekend by offering deals and special incentives to FSU families who stop by.

Mecosta County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jennifer Heinzman said the event is a good way to show off what Big Rapids has to offer.

“We’re really excited to introduce students and families to the downtown area,” she said. “We encourage everyone to get out and take advantage of it.”

The weekend will kickoff on Friday with activities such as a family movie night, featuring the new Marvel movie, “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” playing at 7 and 9 p.m., and an FSU home hockey game versus Mercyhurst at 7 p.m. at the Ewigleben Ice Arena.

Also on Friday, people can join open skate at the ice area after the hockey game from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m.

On Saturday, following check-in from 8:30 a.m. to noon, where students and families will receive Bulldog Family & Friends Weekend wristbands for admittance to most activities, people can attend several events throughout the day.

This will include taking a shuttle bus from campus to historic downtown Big Rapids from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to visit local businesses.

Heinzman added the chamber also will be open on Saturday and will offer cider and doughnuts to everyone exploring the area.

Other Saturday events include a volleyball game at 3 p.m., an FSU hockey game against Mercyhurst at 7 p.m. at the Ewigleben Ice Arena, the Tuba Bach Chamber Music Festival at 7 p.m. featuring music from Mexico, and a performance from the Chicago Boyz Acrobatic Team — a professional gymnastics troupe — at 8 p.m. in Williams Auditorium.

People can register to attend these events through midnight tomorrow, Oct. 17, online at ferris.edu/bff.

Mulder explained the College of Education and Human Services Luncheon and Games Challenge from 1 to 3 p.m., and the FSU tailgate party from 5 to 6:30 p.m., both on Saturday, are now closed to registration.

She added events such as Tuba Bach and the Chicago Boyz Acrobatic Team performance are first come, first serve.

“We are encouraging everyone to go early to the events they want to go to,” Mulder said.

There were no events scheduled on Sunday, Oct. 21, to allow students time to connect with their families, Mulder explained.

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Posted by Taylor Fussman

Taylor is the cops and courts reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review newspapers. She can be reached at (231) 592-8362 or by email at tfussman@pioneergroup.com.

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