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The Laughs are Back

Festivals join forces for a weekend of laughter and fun

Rick Coates - February 4th, 2013  


After a one year hiatus, Traverse City Winter Comedy Arts Festival is back and with a new partner, The National Cherry Festival.

“For all the right reasons, we’re taking our wintertime efforts that went into producing the Winter WOW!Fest over the past six years, and this year we’re putting them to great use by working together with the Traverse City Film Festival to make a world-class event that will benefit the entire community,” said Trevor Tkach, executive director of the National Cherry Festival. “We will be incorporating all of the popular events from past Winter WOW!Fests.”

DON’T FORGET THE COMEDY

Back also will be founders Michael Moore and Jeff Garlin who will serve as the hosts of the four-day festival that takes place February 14-17 in downtown Traverse City.

“The expanded comedy festival, which will make use of the Winter Wonderland we call Northern Michigan, will be presented and run by the Traverse City Film Festival, in partnership with the National Cherry Festival,” said Michael Moore in a recent press release. “It will run pretty much the same way as the summer festival, except for the tire chains.”

Operating under the slogan of “two dozen comedians, a bunch of movies, thousands of laughs -- and 200 inches of snow,” the festival will feature top nationally-renowned comedians in concert each night, the best up-andcoming comics in the U. S., an improv group or two, comedy films, family comedy, and comedy filmmakers -- including Mike Birbiglia, who is returning to Traverse City with his film “Sleepwalk With Me.”

ALL OUT WINTER FEST

One new aspect of the festivities will be part of Front Street, which will be turned into an ice rink to offer free skating. Organizers are also bringing in a ferris wheel, a big sledding hill, ice sculptures, a hot chocolate contest, outdoor light shows after dark, the return of the infamous Williams Bros. and lots more family events produced by the National Cherry Festival.

“The Sunday morning’s pancake breakfast will benefit the area’s food pantries, and it is hoped that the festival will pump revenue into the entire local economy,” said Moore. “In five years, planeloads of people, fruitlessly trying to escape global warming, will come to Traverse City, Michigan to enjoy comedy in the freezin’ cold.”

Venues for the festival include the State Theatre, the City Opera House, the Old Town Playhouse and the InsideOut Gallery. Organizers also have committed to pricing events so that all people will be able to attend -- and some of the events will be free.

Here is a partial listing of events:

COMMUNITY BONFIRE

Friday, February 15, 7:00- 8:30 pm Corner of State & Park Streets Hosted by Century 21 Northland and WKLT fm the evening with feature free s’mores and music around a bonfire.

SOUP’R BOWL SOUP COMPETITION

Saturday, February 16, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm ECCO (121 W. Front St., across from Golden Shoes) Tickets: $8 for 8 samples. Like soup? Don’t miss the friendly neighborhood soup throwdown between a dozen Traverse City restaurants who’ll be serving up steaming hot soup samples.

LASER LIGHT SHOW

Saturday, February 16, 7:45 & 9:00 pm Downtown Front St. near Cass St. Hosted by the Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau. DayStar will be setting up the big lasers and this family friendly show is free.

CHERRY PANCAKE BREAKFAST

Sunday, February 17, 9 – 11 am Hosted by the Park Place Hotel Tickets: $3 Kids, $6 Adults. Join us for a delicious very cherry breakfast to benefit area food pantries. We’ll have pancakes with all the trimmings, sausage, fruit, face painting, and balloon twirling. All proceeds go to benefit the Fresh Food Partnership.

HOT CHOCOLATE MADNESS

Sunday, February 17, 1:00 – 4:00 pm Local hot-chocolatiers battle it out to see who has the tastiest cocoa on Sunday. Front Street merchants will be home to tastes of these delicious beverages, fill out your score card and have a chance to win a $100 downtown gift certificate. Participants include: Good Harbor, Kilwin’s, Old Mission Traders, Morsels, Grand Traverse Pie Co., Patisserie Amie at Fustini’s Oils & Vinegars, and Grocer’s Daughter at American Spoon Foods.

 
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