- change ups
LaughFest reports proceeds
The final numbers are in for Gilda’s LaughFest.
LaughFest said today that more than 50,000 people from the U.S., Canada and the U.K. came to Grand Rapids last month for the fourth-annual comedy event.
LaughFest estimates more than $235,000 was raised during the event, bringing the four-year total to more than $1 million raised for free emotional health care programs for children and adults living with cancer, grief and loss.
The proceeds from this year’s event account for about 15 percent of the annual budget for the nonprofit Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.
“The community continues to come out and support the festival and the important role laughter plays in emotional health,” said Wendy Wigger, president, Gilda’s Club. “Without their continued support, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids would not be able to provide quality programming and care."
The 10-day humor festival began by unofficially breaking the record for the most people wearing sunglasses in the dark, with 1,675 people donning shades.
There were 278 events at 54 locations in Grand Rapids, Lowell and Holland, with 30,517 paid tickets and more than 19,000 people attending the free events.
LaughFest also said the event comprised 370 sponsors and partners and 1,200 volunteers.
“Without the amazing staff, volunteers, talent, community partners, sponsors and community support, we would not be able to put together such an amazing event year after year,” Wigger said. “We are grateful to everyone who supports this event and cause. Together, we’re able to build the success of the festival, bring dollars into the local economy and share a collective laugh."