GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Nov. 23, 2022 – After being virtual in 2021, the nation’s first-ever community-wide festival of laughter, Gilda’s LaughFest, will return in person March 16-20, 2022. The festival returns for its 12th year, with lead sponsor Gun Lake Casino.  LaughFest provides added awareness of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids’ mission of emotional health support for those on a cancer or grief journey. Additionally, the proceeds from the festival help ensure Gilda’s Club services remain free and available to anyone who needs them. 

Though headlining artists will be announced in early 2022, gift certificates for the 2022 festival will be available for purchase starting in December, which allows the tradition of “Giving the Gift of Laughter” for the holidays to continue. Certificates will be available to purchase by calling 616-735-HAHA (4242).

This year’s festival will feature nearly 50 events, social media contests and seriously fun and funny events for all ages.

“After being virtual in 2021, we are excited to return live and in person,” said Zack Berends, events and festival manager for Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids and Gilda’s LaughFest. “From the festival’s beginning, our goal has been to bring laughter to West Michigan during the gray days of March and raise visibility and funds for Gilda’s Club mission.  Our team has been working behind the scenes since the close of LaughFest 2021 to bring a safe festival back in 2022 that continues to inspire community togetherness and laughter for the health of it.”

Gilda’s Club will kick off the festival by marking 20 years of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids in 2021 with their 20th Anniversary Red Door Gala on March 15. The Red Door Gala will celebrate the thousands of lives impacted by Gilda’s Club in the last two decades and will provide entertainment that is sure to make individuals laugh.

“We’re thrilled to be able to safely celebrate our 20th Anniversary Red Door Gala with the supporters and organizations who have made the last two decades of free cancer and grief emotional health support at Gilda’s Club possible,” said Wendy Wigger, president of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids and Gilda’s LaughFest. “With later stage cancer diagnosis on the rise and many still processing grief from the last 18 months, our support program is a vital lifeline that is more important than ever. If there is something we all could use right now, it’s a little something extra to smile about.”

Many LaughFest fan favorites will be returning such as: the Clean Comedy Showcase, nationally known comedians, Laughter Yoga, Kids Joke and more.

Also returning is the Laughter Rx Symposium, a conference with continuing education credit opportunities for health care professionals, will return in a hybrid format with in person and  virtual attendance options.  And in keeping with tradition, downtown Grand Rapids will once again play host to the Seriously Funny Family Adventure Challenge. Teams will tour downtown Grand Rapids while following clues and prompts provided at various stops.

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About Gilda’s Club 

Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids provides free emotional healthcare to children, adults, families and friends on any kind of cancer journey or those grieving the death of someone in their life due to any cause. Its comprehensive program, delivered by licensed mental health professionals, meets individuals where they are, when they need it, with a variety of social and emotional support options to choose from, including support groups, educational opportunities as well as healthy lifestyle and social activities.

 

Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids runs entirely on charitable donations and currently provides in-person, virtual and hybrid support options through its clubhouses in Grand Rapids and Lowell, Mich., and community programs in various schools and community centers. An affiliate of the Cancer Support Community – the largest professionally led nonprofit network of cancer support worldwide, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids is independently owned and locally operated. At Gilda’s Club no one faces cancer or grief alone.  For more information, visit gildasclubgr.org.