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My Town: Grand Rapids area brewers begin Thank You Tour May 6

My Town: Grand Rapids area brewers begin Thank You Tour May 6

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A group of Grand Rapids area breweries is thanking patrons for putting the city on the craft beer map by winning it the title of Beer City USA.

Grand Rapids won the title outright last year, with more than 27,000 of the 50,000 votes cast I the now defunct online poll.  The vote was organized by Charlie Papazian, founder of the American Homebrewers Association, the Great American Beer Festival and a beer writer for Examiner.com.

To celebrate the final Beer City win, the founders of MIBeers and Momma Needs A Beer are teaming up with area breweries for a Thank You Tour that starts Tuesday, May 6.  Brewers, local celebrities and BeerCity team members will visit each of the businesses on the tour to hand out freebies to patrons.

My Town: Kent County Health Department names 2014 Food Safety Award winners

My Town: Kent County Health Department names 2014 Food Safety Award winners

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—If you’re looking for a clean, safe place to dine out this weekend, the Kent County Health Department has some suggestions- 471 of them, actually.

The KCHD recently announced the winners of its 2nd annual Food Safety Awards.  This year’s 471 winners were selected from more than 1700 licensed facilities that were inspected through 2013.    To qualify, each establishment had to meet the following criteria:

My Town: Outdoor Farmer's Market to feature more than 50 vendors

My Town: Outdoor Farmer's Market to feature more than 50 vendors

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— The Outdoor Farmer’s Market in downtown Grand Rapids will open for its second season this weekend.

Grand Rapids Downtown Market says the new season of outdoor shopping will start Saturday May 3.  The outdoor market will be open every Saturday in May, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The market will host its inaugural “Chefs at The Market” demonstration at 10 a.m.  A chef will showcase simple recipes you can follow using food available at the market.  This weekend’s demonstration will feature rhubarb.

Inside the market, visitors can take part in a free yoga session and enjoy live jazz music by Hugh DeWitt.  At noon, shoppers can also enjoy microgreens grown in the market’s greenhouse as part of a $5 tasting bar.

This year’s outdoor market will feature food and products from more than 50 vendors, including:

My Town: "Feed A Friend" nets thousands of pantry donations for local families

My Town: "Feed A Friend" nets thousands of pantry donations for local families

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Hungry people living in West Michigan now have more food to fill their stomachs, thanks to a food drive by hundreds of Grand Rapids area SUBWAY restaurants.

All 206 SUBWAY restaurants in the area took part in this year’s Feed A Friend food drive, collecting nearly 7,500 pounds of non-perishables for local food pantries on March 20.  Organizers say overall, more than 60,000 pounds of food was collected statewide.

The Feed A Friend campaign started in Jackson, Michigan 14 years ago.  During the one-day drive, customers who bring in a non-perishable food item and buy a regular 6-inch sub receive a second 6-inch sub for free.

Experience Grand Rapids launches personalized travel planning website

Experience Grand Rapids launches personalized travel planning website

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.---Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, recently announced the launch of its new personalized travel planning website, www.GRCityTwist.com.

The new interactive website targets 18 different interests, from “art lovers” to “thrill seekers”, allowing the visitor to customize their trip.  For example, craft beer enthusiasts can find breweries to explore, activities and nightlife related to craft beer, and accommodations for the weekend.

EXGR launched the new, mobile-friendly website on Dec. 17 at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park with the hospitality community, business and political leaders, and its Certified Tourism Ambassadors.

Local restaurants serve up free meals to veterans November 11

Local restaurants serve up free meals to veterans November 11

Some West Michigan restaurants are honoring miliatry members  this Veterans Day by serving up free meals.

Lakeshore Partnership is also offering a free meal to veterans at 19 of its local McDonald’s restaurants.  Military identification is preferred, but not required.  Participating locations include:

Kent County honors cleanest restaurants with Food Safety Awards

Kent County honors cleanest restaurants with Food Safety Awards

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Where are the safest places to eat in Kent County?

The county health department is answering that question with the 2013 Food Safety Awards.   The agency whittled down the list of 1,654 eligible restaurants to just 269 facilities, based on routine restaurant and food service inspections over the past year.  Under the county’s criteria, restaurants that earn the award must have a certified food safety manager, no confirmed violations of the Michigan Smoke Free Law and no confirmed foodborne illness outbreaks during the year.