GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (March 19, 2014) — Just months after part of Fifth Third Ballpark was destroyed by a fire, part of a brand new five-day event is planned there this summer.
Organizers announced details of the inaugural Freedom Cruise, set to take place June 25-29.
The idea started out four years ago as a classic car show in downtown Grand Rapids. But when organizers decided to include veterans, the event got a whole lot bigger.
In fact, organizer and Kent County commissioner, Tom Antor, remembers pitching the idea to the Whitecaps staff January 3.
“About a half hour later when I left, everybody’s watching the news and of course, Fifth Third Ballpark was on fire,” said Antor.
Dozens packed Village Motor Sports, the event’s title sponsor, for the big announcement. Veterans and active servicemen and women were the guests of honor. Proceeds from the Freedom Cruise will go towards veterans affairs.
According to Antor, Kent county is last in the state when it comes to funding. But while commissioners have made veterans a priority, they knew they could do better.
“Providing them with maybe electrical needs, heating their house, braces for their kids, doctors,” explained Antor. “Things that we could help put money in their pockets right away without it getting filtered through administration.”
Other events planned include:
- Wednesday, June 25, Freedom Cruise 2014 will kick off at the Fifth Third Ballpark featuring WLAV ‘Blues on the Mall’, a custom car and bike show, food, beer and entertainment. At 7:00 p.m. at Fifth Third Ballpark a game will be played between VetSports and Grand Rapids Area Fire & Police department members. VetSports is nationwide non-profit helping veterans achieve better physical, mental, and emotional health through sports, physical activity, and community involvement.
- Throughout all five days of Freedom Cruise 2014, honor rides will be held from Grand Rapids to various cities throughout Kent County, and in downtown Grand Rapids. Honor rides will have a participation fee with proceeds going to Finish The Mission.
- Thursday, 4-10, Village Motor Festival, in the Village of Sparta will be closing down Main St. car and bike show, along with entertainment, food, beverage.
- Friday, June 27, the DeltaPlex Arena will host the Freedom Cruise Car & Bike Expo from 2:00 – 10:00 p.m. with over 250 booths and guest starring the History Channel’s American Restoration, Rick & Kelly Dale and the Motorcycle Club from We’re The Fugawi’s.
- Saturday, June 28, the DeltaPlex Arena will host the second day of the Freedom Cruise Car & Bike Expo with special evening event Freedom Rocks Grand Rapids concert.
- Saturday, June 28, will feature the American Fallen Soldier Project presentation for Spec. Brandon Stout. The American Fallen Soldiers Project makes available at no cost to the family an original portrait of their fallen loved one that fully captures their appearance and personality. Danny “The Count” Kolker and his band Counts 77 will perform at the DeltaPlex Saturday evening immediately following The American Fallen Soldier Project.