The Prosperity Agenda: Festivals Helping Create Sense of Place in Our Communities

prosperity-agenda-thumbWe are right in the middle of another great Michigan summer – one that gives you a chance to get out, see the state – and maybe visit your favorite festival to see your town or a town nearby in a little different way. Some Michigan cities are really well known for their festivals. It’s hard to think of Traverse City without the National Cherry Festival, or Battle Creek without its world famous Balloon Festival. Around the state, almost every city and village has a festival of its own – a chance to carve out its own little sense of place, provide an economic shot in the arm, make its people feel welcome and to attract visitors from around the county, around the state or even around the nation and world. Just as important, a festival can help a community create an identity that has long-lasting benefits not only year-round but for decades. So I hope you kick back, enjoy the lighter side of our show, and listen as we talk to experts about the festivals just over, those to come, and some worth visiting in your region. My co-host for this month’s show is mlive entertainment reporter John “Gonzo” Gonzalez, who covers the state’s festivals, food and beverage scene. Our guests are Sue Bila, executive director of the Michigan Festivals and Events Association; David Lorenz, acting vice president of Travel Michigan at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation; and Jon Witz, president of Jonathan Witz and Associates and a founder of the Arts Beats and East festival in Royal Oak. The Michigan Prosperity Agenda is a monthly radio show that challenges listeners to help make Michigan a better place to live, work and play by creating vibrant and prosperous local communities. It has aired on News/Talk 760 WJR since 2010. The hour-long radio program is hosted by me, Dan Gilmartin, CEO of the Michigan Municipal League (the League). The show is sponsored by the League and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). The League’s next show airs at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 22, 2015 on News/Talk 760 WJR, but you can listen anytime at the League’s website or by subscribing to the FREE iTunes podcast. Learn more about the placemaking concept here as well as on this blog.