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HollyJolly, a new retail focused holiday event, to make its debut on December 2 | Arts & Culture

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HollyJolly, a new retail focused holiday event, to make its debut on December 2
HollyJolly, a new retail focused holiday event, to make its debut on December 2

The downtown based HollyJolly, a new traditional retail focused holiday event, will make its Grand Rapids debut on December 2, 2011 and is presented by Independent Bank. (Independent Bank presents HollyJolly Grand Rapids.)

The 2-day event will kick off outside the cafe by the Christmas tree of the Grand Rapids Art Museum as a Downtown Development Authority/Downtown Alliance's retail focused event.

Day One of the HollyJolly event begins on Friday, December 2 just after 5PM with a community musical program and lighting of the tree outside the Grand Rapids Art Museum running until approximately 5:40 p.m.

Performing at the GRAM's traditional tree lighting ceremony will be an exhibition skate, the Renaissance Church of God in Christ's choir and many surprise guests including a special appearance by Santa Claus who will bring a magical ending to our program.

Immediately following the program the public will be encouraged to visit any one of our record breaking 47 retail storefront businesses (not restaurants) that will be competing in the HollyJolly window dressing competition. The public will be able to cast their vote on the HollyJollyGR.com website starting December 2 at 6 p.m. (Voting ends December 14, 2011 at 6 p.m.

Friday night's programming ends at 9 p.m. with guests encouraged to take advantage of our downtown restaurants, many of whom will be decorated but not competing in the event.

Day Two the HollyJolly begins at 10 a.m. in the city of Grand Rapids downtown with a very special holiday focused collection of children's programming for the whole family at the Grand Rapids Art Museum and Schuler Books on Monroe Mall.

Later at Noon the HollyJolly expands to a citywide partnership including the business districts of Uptown, East Grand Rapids, the small businesses of Breton Village and A K Rikk's. The event runs all day Saturday.

After 9 p.m. Saturday night, guests are encouraged to congregate at Rockwell's/Republic (45 S. Division Ave) for the official HollyJolly After Party with Todd Ernst producing a night of guest DJ's along side specially priced elixirs.

Attendees will be able to navigate easily downtown through the use of a trolley service from 5:30 - 9:30 p.m. on Friday and then citywide between our business district partnerships on Saturday, December 3 from Noon - 6 p.m. (Breton Village and A K Rikk's will be served by a shuttle partnership.)

HollyJolly would not be possible without the DDA or our event partnerships and sponsors including our presenting sponsor, Independent Bank.

Additional sponsors include: A K Rikk's. Amway Grand Plaza, Heartside Business District, JW Marriott Grand Rapids, Clark Hill, EPS, Founders Bank & Trust, Griffin Properties, Haworth, Open Systems Technologies, RMG Technologies, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.

We also have two very special partners, ExperienceGR will assist as our Marketing Partner and Local First will act as our Education Partner.

The HollyJolly event is the brainchild of Tommy Allen, V.P. of Marketing and Sales at Levitation Staging - an event company with local and national clients in the sporting, festival, fundraising and political industry.

In 2010, Allen teamed up with Tina Derusha, co-founder of Spotlight616, an event production and promotions company that brings innovative concepts in fashion, music, art and photography to the greater Grand Rapids area. Once the Independent Bank presents HollyJolly Grand Rapids event expanded into a two-day holiday affair, Jim Murray of A K Rikk's and Fashion's Night Out came on board to solidify the partnerships with the area business districts that surround the Downtown Grand Rapids boundaries.

"This team has always felt from the very start that 'all ships rise,'" says event co-creator Tommy Allen, "Murray's involvement with Fashion's Night Out along with his first hand data backs up our team's mantra. It became a no brainer that if we are to change the conversation as we frame the future then we need to make sure we bring others along for the ride."

For more information on the Independent Bank presents HollyJolly Grand Rapids visit www.hollyjollygr.com.

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