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LaughFest kicking off with mannequin challenge

March 8, 2017
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LaughFest staff mannequin challenge
LaughFest staff hold their positions in a mannequin challenge. Photo via

The city’s 10-day festival of comedy plans to do a mannequin challenge at its Community Kickoff event tomorrow.

The challenge

Gilda’s LaughFest is inviting the community to don yellow and join the challenge, which festival organizers hope will be West Michigan’s largest attempt so far.

The event is planned for 6 p.m. at Rosa Park’s Circle in downtown Grand Rapids, at 135 Monroe Center St. NW. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m., and the event concludes at 7 p.m.

Mannequin challenges — a viral internet video phenomenon in which participants freeze in place while a moving camera films them — rose to popularity last year, and hundreds of colleges, professional athletes, entertainment personalities, musicians, towns and cities joined the trend.

LaughFest, which runs from March 9-19, previously posted a mannequin challenge video in December to promote ticket sales.

“We had a great time doing the mannequin challenge for our ticket package sales and thought doing it again on a larger scale would be a fun way to start LaughFest 2017,” said Joanne Roehm, director of strategic initiatives and LaughFest.

“We’re excited to have the support of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Deep End Films, Brian Kelly Photography and the City of Grand Rapids to make this year’s kickoff a success.”

Brian Kelly will take a group photo of participants at Rosa Parks Circle at 6 p.m. before Deep End Films records the mannequin challenge video.


Participants are encouraged to register in advance at LaughFest Central, the festival's headquarters at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

LaughFest will be giving door prizes to the first 100 participants to register.

Opening night

Following the filming, there will be a free Preview Show at Dr. Grin’s at The B.O.B. at 10 p.m.

LaughFest Central will be open during the event, and food trucks will be on hand.


Gilda’s LaughFest was created by a team at Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids in 2011.

Since inception, LaughFest has averaged 50,000 attendees per year.

Proceeds from the festival support the free cancer, grief and emotional health programs offered through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.

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