Family Weekend offers cultural events

Matt Oberski and Stephanie Allen

Grand Valley State University’s Allendale Campus will seem a little fuller this weekend when students and their families gather for the annual Family Weekend – three days packed full of Olympic-themed events.

Friday through Sunday, families can take part in dozens of activities and events on campus, including the Ravine Romp, the Shakespeare festival, Pancakes with the President, and a 5k run/walk. On Saturday, among other events, there will be a Taste of the Olympics special, which features GVSU alumna and Olympic athlete Sarah Zelenka, along with the Olympic Chef Paul, who traveled and cooked for the athletes in London.

“My family always likes coming in to see what I do for school,” said senior Jessica Wagley. She said the event is a great way for families to get involved with GVSU, but also for GVSU to get involved with the community.

“It brings the community together with ArtPrize, so it’s not just highlighting our campus, but Grand Rapids in general,” Wagley said.

For families that aren’t all able to get into Mojo’s Dueling Piano Bar in downtown Grand Rapids, the Main Street Dueling Pianos are coming to GVSU to give audiences an all-request interactive music experience, with a twist of comedy.

The all-ages event is free and located in the Grand River Room of the Kirkhof Center. Snacks and prizes for the intertwined Olympic and GVSU trivia questions will be provided by 48 West apartments.

Wagley said the trivia should help more families get involved with campus, as well as have a chance to win free prizes.

“It’s a pretty cool event for family’s to come to,” Wagley said.

To finish off the weekend, the Padnos International Center is hosting the Monde Centric International Fashion Show and Brunch. The event is co-sponsored by the International Students Club and the Grand Valley Fashion Club, and gives families an opportunity to learn about international dress and cultures. Along with the fashion show, families have a chance to test their global trivia knowledge and win prizes.

“We are very excited to announce that Padnos International Center will be giving away Study Abroad application fee vouchers to the winner of our global trivia game,” said Alissa Lane, Padnos International Center outreach coordinator.

The event runs from 10 a.m.-noon and is $8, which includes an international tea and food tasting, trivia, and henna tattoos. Lane said 20 models will be wearing the international fashions.

The weekend features several events that are already sold out, including an ArtPrize tour with GVSU Art Gallery Director Henry Matthews. For a complete list of all Family Weekend events, go to

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