Celebrating laughter for the health of it may look a little different in 2021, but Gilda’s LaughFest today announced plans to continue the festival in a shortened, primarily virtual event with Gun Lake Casino as presenting sponsor. In its 11th year, Gilda’s LaughFest, is scheduled for March 11-14, 2021.


This year’s festival will feature 20 events plus social media content and contests. In addition to bringing smiles and laughter following a challenging year for many, the festival brings added awareness to Gilda’s Club’s mission of providing free emotional health support for those on a cancer or grief journey. Gilda’s Club is celebrating its 20th year of operation, having first opened its doors to the public on February 15, 2021.


“It’s been a tough year, yet we remain ‘in this together’ and look forward to delivering smiles in a new way to West Michigan and beyond in 2021,” said Festival Director Joanne Roehm. “Our goal is to retain the spirit and community impact of the festival while providing a unique celebration as part of Gilda’s Club’s 20th year of operations.”


“For over a decade, Gun Lake Casino has aligned its philanthropic efforts with Gilda’s Club and LaughFest. This year, we are thrilled to become the very first presenting sponsor of the annual festival, demonstrating our strong support of LaughFest’s mission – to provide free cancer and grief support to our community through the channel of laughter,” said Carter Pavey, assistant general manager for Gun Lake Casino. “There is no better time to expand our partnership, the services provided by Gilda’s Club are needed now more than ever. Sadly, many of our own team members have experienced pain due to the loss of a loved one, and as a dedicated employer and community partner, we recognize that through our continued collaboration, we have the ability to assist many during their journey through cancer or grief.”


Headlining acts, which will be part of the festival’s premium (paid) content will be announced in February, along with the full festival schedule. LaughFest will continue to host free activities virtually, including: Family Improv Workshop, Kids Joke Time, Laughter Yoga and more. The Laughter Rx Symposium, a conference with continuing education credit opportunities for health care professionals, will continue to be part of the festival.


In keeping with tradition, downtown Grand Rapids will once again play host to the Seriously Funny Adventure Challenge scavenger hunt. Teams competing in the socially distanced event will have all four days of the festival to tour downtown Grand Rapids while following clues and prompts provided at various stops,


“We remain committed to offering something for everyone within the festival, including family friendly programming and clean comedy, in addition to highlighting the importance of the health benefits of laughter,” said Roehm.


Full details about the festival and upcoming announcements are available at www.laughfestgr.org




About Gilda’s Club

Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids is a free emotional health support community of children, adults, families and friends on any kind of cancer journey or those grieving a death due to any cause. Its comprehensive program, delivered by professionals, includes education, structured sharing times, networking, lectures, workshops and social activities. Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids is one of the largest and busiest of the 44 affiliates in North America. The organization runs entirely on charitable donations and currently serves more than 10,000 individuals each year at its clubhouses in Grand Rapids and Lowell, Mich., in various schools and community centers. For more information, visit www.gildasclubgr.org.