Chances are, if you’ve been to an event in Downtown Kalamazoo, you’ve probably seen Deb Droppers dashing around or overseeing all of the goings on. Deb heads up the volunteer forces of quite a few big events in downtown for a few nonprofit organizations, including DKA Charities, Community Advocates and Wright for Kids, all of which are a great way to get involved in the Kalamazoo community AND attend a fun event at the same time!
Hundreds of volunteers are necessary to make these events successful. Deb has some volunteers that just love being involved in anything: she says, “I just love the ones that come to me and say, ‘What do you need me to do next? I can come back tomorrow to help too.'” But, volunteers can also sign up for specific shifts, too.
Whatever your preferences, check out these community events and consider becoming a volunteer for one or all of them!
Downtown Kalamazoo Events
Art on the Mall | June 3-4
A total of 78 artists will sell original works of arts and fine crafts. From jewelry to pottery, unique garden art to incredible sculptures, this event produces the best shopping in Kalamazoo. Downtown merchants will join in the celebration by hosting a summer in the city sales event.
The event, sponsored by Downtown Kalamazoo Inc., will have displays extending from the Kalamazoo Mall to Water Street.
Do-Dah Parade | June 4
It’s the official parody of anything and everything. This is the one time where silly and satire rules the streets of downtown Kalamazoo. Join over 80 businesses, nonprofit organizations, and community individuals as we enjoy the absurd, the goofy, and the downright un-political nature of a parody. It’s the Do-Dah and it’s reined the streets for years. Admissions is free, and $25 to participate.
Mixer on the Mall | July 6, 13, 20, 27 and August 3
It’s an after-work party that features fantastic, unique, and up-and-coming musicians along with great beverages; and the opportunity to network and meet new people. Check out the web site for a complete schedule of bands including Afro-Latin jazz, alternative, rhythm and blues, blues, rockabilly, and great Motown covers. This event is costs a mere $1 donation and is sponsored by DKA Charities.
Community Advocates’ Ribfest | Aug 4-6
Ribfest is Community Advocate’s major fundraising event. Thanks to the support of the people who attended and the businesses that sponsored, $82,000 was raised for programs that are targeted to improve the quality of life for all, but especially to improve the quality of life for our community individuals with developmental disabilities. The money raised through Ribfest supports programs in our community helping people who live in your neighborhoods, work at your place of employment, and maybe go to school with your kids.
Rock for Kids benefiting Wright for Kids |Aug 19-20
Rock for Kids is a two day rock concert featuring national rock bands. Hosted and produced by Wright for Kids, the event will raise money to support programs at The Community Healing Center that support children who have been abused and neglected and other programs for children. This event is hosted by Wright for Kids, a 501-c-3 nonprofit organization, and will feature food vendors, beverages, and music.
Safe Halloween | October 29
Create art you can wear, visit the haunted house, see “Nightwalk” in the Planetarium. Wear your costume.
Holiday Parade | November 12
This annual event serves as the kickoff to the holiday season in Downtown Kalamazoo and the entire community. The event features giant helium balloons – along with nearly 90 other community organizations, businesses, and bands. There are over 100 units that make for a fun-filled and wonderful celebration.
New Year’s Fest| Dec 31
New Year’s Fest is a 501-c-3 nonprofit organization. The New Year’s Fest Board of Directors work diligently to recruit and secure an entertainment line-up that will amaze and create wonderful memories of a great New Year’s Eve celebration. On behalf of the hundreds of volunteers and our sponsors, we hope you enjoyed the event.
Of course at the Volunteer Center, we have MANY other special events listed that happen throughout the year in need of volunteers! Children’s face painting at Art Fair, customer service at a farmers’ market, distributing shoes to elementary school children, or ball running for the Boys’ Nationals Tennis Championships….there are a zillion things to do! Check out that ever-changing list here.