GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The sun came out just in time for Tribute on the Grand Saturday afternoon. Hundreds of people came out to Ah-Nab-Awen Park for good beer, food and music, but also raise money to help restore the rapids.
FOX 17 partnered with Founders Brewing Company to raise money for Grand Rapids Whitewater. 100 percent of the proceeds will help with efforts to put the rapids back in the Grand River, bringing the city back to it's roots.
"We used to be called Grand Rapids for a reason," said Chris Muller, co-founder of Grand Rapids Whitewater. "It's been a long time since we've been grand, so the goal is to bring it back to it's historical roots as best we can. There are certain constraints we have, but we hope to bring it back to the best condition of the natural rapids we used to have and call it grand again and have it be the focus of our city."
Founders Brewing Company says it's part of their job to help restore the rapids.
"I think by putting the rapids back in the Grand River it will stimulate economic development up and down the river," said Dave Engbers, co-founder of Founders Brewing Company. "It'll give people something else to do downtown and really make Grand Rapids a cooler city than it already is."
"The river is such a jewel here in the city of Grand Rapids, so we want to take care of it and bring greater awareness of that jewel," said John Green, chairman of Founders Brewing Company.
Restoring the rapids will help boost economic development and bring more people and businesses downtown.
"It's about our namesake, Grand Rapids," said Green. "I think people look at the Grand River and wonder where are the Rapids? By removing some of the dams in the area it'll create a rapid environment, draw more attention to the waterfront, drive more economic impact in the downtown area, bring more jobs and really enhance the lifestyle that we're so proud of as people in Grand Rapids having this incredible downtown."
To learn more about Grand Rapids Whitewater and their effort to restore the rapids, click here.