Boat Show, Fat Tuesday party and more...

GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- Mardi Gras is just a couple of days away and downtown Grand Rapids has a Fat Tuesday event lined up as well as a boat show, movie premiere, new art exhibit, and more. Open up your social calendar to jot down these Top 5 things to do around town.

Grand Rapids Boat Show

Now in its 70th year, The Grand Rapids Boat Show's tradition of bringing the broadest array of power boats, pontoons, motor yachts, cruisers, fishing boats, personal watercraft and more continues at DeVos Place, 303 Monroe Ave. NW, from Wednesday-Sunday, Feb. 18-22. Dozens of boat dealers will offer "show only" deals at the event.

Professional wakeboarders Adam Errington, Rusty Malinoski, JD Webb, Adam Wensink and Kevin Henshaw will be on-hand Friday and Saturday. Other entertainment includes live music and food, a Zorb (giant hamster ball) pool, and appearances by Twiggy the waterskiing squirrel. The Water Wonderland Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society will once again feature an impressive display of wooden boats as well.

Private sailing and sunset cruises will be given away as prizes; the grand prize giveaway is a Starcraft Stardeck Pontoon complete with engine and trailer.

Show hours are 3 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 11 a.m to 9:30 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $4-$10 at the door, DeVos Place box office, Ticketmaster outlets, or in advance at or 800‐745‐3000. Children 5 and younger are free. More at

Fat Tuesday at The B.O.B.

Celebrate Mardi Gras with authentic creole cuisine, a masquerade contest, live music and more at The B.O.B.'s annual Fat Tuesday celebration on Feb. 17. The family-friendly and free event runs from 2 p.m. to midnight.

Professional and amateur chefs will compete in the Gumbo Challenge, vying for a grand prize one-week trip to The Redstone Inn in Colorado and a trophy. Samples are available for 50 cents and the winner will be determined by public vote. A $500 cash prize will be handed out to the first place winner of the masquerade party mask contest. A celebrity judge panel will determine the winner at 7:45 p.m.

Live music will begin at 4 p.m. and feature bands Channing & Quinn, Blue Train, Those Delta Rhythm Kings, Zydeco, and Kathy Lamar. Roaming musicians, jesters, fire eaters and contortionists will perform throughout the venue.

B.O.B.'s Brewery also will feature a special 21-and-older event that brings together the best craft beer, coffee, and cuisine beginning at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20 plus $1 tasting tickets. Beer and coffee infused small plates, barrel aged craft beers, and more are highlighted.

For additional information, contact The B.O.B., 20 Monroe Ave. NW, at 616-356-2000 or visit

Foodie Film Series at Downtown Market

The four-month film series focusing on food at Downtown Market 435 Ionia Ave. SW, continues with the screening of the documentary "Food Chains" on Tuesday, Feb. 17, at 6:30 p.m. A panel discussion and tasting will follow the film.

"Food Chains" addresses the issue of the treatment of the labor force that picks fresh fruits and vegetables. Viewers are challenged to consider their food sources and their positions as consumers as this film shows the story of exploited farmworkers fighting for a fair wage and fair treatment. Actress Eva Longoria is the executive producer and the film is narrated by Forest Whitaker.

"GMO OMG" will be shown in March and "Ingredients" will be shown in April, each featuring a screening, panel discussion, chef demo and tasting. The series is designed to spark community discussion about local, healthy foods. A cash bar will be available.

Tickets and upcoming show details are $15 at

'The Alley Cat' Michigan Premiere

The Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition will present "The Alley Cat," a film written, directed and produced by Grand Valley State University professor Marie Ullrich, at Wealthy Theatre 1130 Wealthy St. SE on Feb. 18 at 8 p.m.

The film was the winner of the Chicago Award at the Chicago International Film Festival in October. The plot revolves around Jasper who leaves an alley cat race and goes on a physical and spiritual journey on her bike, through Chicago's nighttime streets, to a destination that holds an emotional secret.

A Q&A session with Ullrich and the screenings of two of her other shorts "Faster!" and "Ghost Bike" will be included in the evening. A reception will take place prior to the film. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 day of show. Advance tickets and more at

Portraits by James Lacroix

Each year the UICA, 2 W. Fulton St., awards one artist from the Festival of Arts Regional Arts competition a solo exhibition. This year's winning artist is James Lacroix. His new exhibit opened this weekend and will be on display through March 15.

Lacroix, a recent graduate of Kendall College of Art and Design, has exhibited at the 100/50/01 VSCO show and has received recognition as "Best Mobile Photographer" and "Best of College Photo" awards.

Admission to the UICA is free for members and $5 for non-members. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday from noon to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. More information is at

Written by Todd Chance. Todd is the West Michigan Entertainment Concierge for MLive/Grand Rapids Press. Email him at or follow him on Facebook , Twitter, Google Plus