More than 60 new and returning West Michigan artist studios, galleries, locally owned eat and drink places, farms, and farmers markets are participating in the 8th annual Arts and Eats free, self-driving, back-roads tour on Saturday, October 20th and Sunday, October 21st, throughout rural portions of Allegan, Barry, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, and Van Buren counties. A list of participants and tour map are online at www.ARTSandEATS.org.
Sites are generally open both days from 10am to 5pm. Food and drink places are open during normal business hours; many will kick-off the tour the night before (Friday, October 19th). The tour is made possible with the support of Premier Sponsor: Allegan County Community Foundation and Champion Sponsors: Battle Creek Community Foundation and Thornapple Arts Council.
Art enthusiasts can visit 30 different galleries, studios and four central venues: Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, Kalamazoo Nature Center, Plainwell City Hall, and Richland Area Community Center- to view the works of local painters, potters, weavers, photographers, sculptors, and other artisans. There are two farmers markets and thirteen area farms participating, some not normally open to the public, that grow the food that we eat, the fiber we wear, or feature heritage animals. This is a great time to savor amazing seasonal creative culinary fare at 17 participating eats and drink places. Arts and Eats will host a “Best Drinks” contest starting September 28th thru tour weekend. Patrons may taste and vote for their favorite in the categories of “Best Hot Drink”, “Best Cold Drink” and “Most Unique Drink”.
The underlying ideas for Arts and Eats are to invite locals and tourists to explore and appreciate rural artists, agricultural venues and restaurants; take in an autumn drive in our beautiful fall scenic landscape; and heighten awareness of the economic, environmental, and health benefits of buying and consuming locally grown foods.
Additionally, the tour highlights Michigan artists as cultural entrepreneurs and connects farmers with local restaurants which can provide locally grown foods…economic drivers to our local economy. Residents and tourists are encouraged to make memories. Grab your favorite people to be part of the fall tour and visit a variety of sites on the tour weekend, and year-round.