The popular Street Performer Series in Downtown Holland continues this Thursday July 22 from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm featuring the “Michigan Moonwalker”! Every Thursday evening during the Street Performer Series, Downtown Holland is filled with performing artists and groups from every background – including musicians, balloon twisters, magicians, dancers, caricature artists and more! The Street Performer Series is proudly sponsored by Gentex Corporation.
A new fan favorite, performing artist Jacob Thompson, will return to Downtown Holland this Thursday. Thompson, known as the “Michigan Moonwalker,” has a unique act as a Michael Jackson dance impersonator. He was inspired to learn to dance like Jackson five years ago, after watching the classic 1997 live performance of Smooth Criminal on TV for the first time. Thompson was so amazed by Jackson’s dancing that he wanted to learn to dance just like him.
Thompson began practicing at home, steadily improving his dance skills until a couple years later, when he decided he was ready to share his secret talent with the world. While this is Thompson’s first year performing in the Street Performer Series, he has also danced at his school talent shows and special community events. His favorite song to perform is “Billie Jean.”
“What I love most about the Street Performer Series is that I get to share my talent of Michael Jackson dancing, entertain everyone, and have a good time,” Thompson said. Head to Downtown Holland this Thursday to get “struck” by Jacob’s “smooth” moves!
Each Thursday night through August 19, 20 performing artists and groups will perform free for the public on 8th Street between Columbia and Pine Avenues as part of the Downtown Holland Street Performer Series. 8th Street will be closed to traffic for the event for crowd safety purposes. While the Series is free to attend, tipping the performers is highly encouraged. In addition to the exclusive event sponsor, Gentex Corporation, the Street Performer Series is also supported by the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs through the Holland Area Arts Council.
Street Performer Series Line-Up for July 22
A retired math teacher, Bruce brings a lifetime of music appreciation to performing folk, gospel, blues and American Standard jazz songs on a variety of instruments to the Street Performer Series. He also enjoys performing at church and in schools both in bands and as a soloist.
Calico is made up of Peg Becker, Dave Kinsman, and Gary Vruggink. Together, the group has played an eclectic mix of country, folk, gospel and Celtic music punctuated with audience participation and a touch of humor for over 25 years. They are Street Performer Series regulars who look forward to spending another summer performing in Downtown Holland.
Caricatures by Britta
Britta Lindemulder is Holland native who holds a degree in Illustration from Grand Valley State University. She first learned to draw caricatures in 2007 during a summer job at Michigan’s Adventure and has been a street performer in Downtown Holland since 2012. Britta is currently a tattoo artist and loves interacting with people through her art.
Dan Mutschler is a self-taught balloon artist who performs regularly at birthday parties, scouting events, art fairs and at Logan’s Roadhouse. He also volunteers weekly at several nursing homes, performing card tricks and visiting with elderly residents.
Dann the Band
Dann Phillips has been a professional solo and group musical artist for over 40 years. Dann has thousands of performances plus national tours under his belt. He engages the crowd by performing familiar songs that provide audiences the opportunity to sing along.
Doug Marlink first began playing banjo in the mid-1970’s. He performs mostly bluegrass and some jazz music on the banjo. He is a street performer regular who can often be found both in Downtown Holland and at the Holland Farmers Market.
Grand Rapid’s Got Talent runner-up Drew Alkema began playing guitar 27 years ago and has been playing professionally for 16 years. Since becoming a solo guitarist, he has played both nationally and internationally with artists like Spencer Elliot and The Voice's runner up, Lauren Dusky. He is also featured in the movie, “Acoustic Uprising,” the globally released documentary about fingerstyle guitar.
Dying Will Be Easy
Brothers James and Ben Woiwode, along with friend Cameron Hurd, have been playing music together on and off for more than 10 years. The three have compiled an extensive repertoire, with a sound that includes roots blues, traditional folk songs and 30+ original songs the band has written over the years.
Easy Does It
Easy Does It features Dean Michaels on the harp and Greg Howard on the guitar. This duo has been performing their mix of classical music and popular tunes together at weddings, dinner parties, receptions and church services since 1990. They’re looking forward to returning to the Street Performer Series again this year.
Greg Phillips with Group Therapy
Greg Phillips loves to play music just as much as possible now that he’s retired. He can often be seen playing solo Downtown Holland or at the Holland Farmers Market. Greg has played with the classic rock cover band Group Therapy, from the Flint area, for the last 45 years and has played a local venues and open mic nights here since moving to the area.
Henna Tattoos by Anna Schierbeek
Anna has been performing for the public for 12 years and made her first Street Performer Series appearance when she was 17. She has both her BFA and Masters in Drawing from Kendall College of Art and Design. Anna loves to be a part of the community and connect with others through drawing.
The Floor Fienz is an exciting group of break dancers that have been performing for over ten years as part of the Street Performer Series and other community events. In addition to keeping the tradition of break dancing alive, they aim to set a positive example for youth in our
Gavin Frody has played the cello for seven years and has been a street performer in Downtown Holland every year since. He also plays classical cello at weddings and special events. This fall, he will head to college where he plans to major in cello performance.
Jacob Thompson been dancing like Michael Jackson for nearly five years. In 2016, he saw a 1997 video of Jackson performing “Smooth Criminal” live and was so blown away that he began practicing every day until he felt ready to share the talent with others. Jacob has performed at high school talent shows and other special events and can’t wait to perform on the streets of Holland!
Jahanara Begum has been a Street Performer in Downtown Holland since the beginning of the Street Performer Series. She is a highly skilled and experienced henna artist who uses all natural ingredients that are safe for the skin. Her designs never fail to impress her fans of all ages!
Lauren & Maddy
Sisters Lauren and Maddy Kok have been performing together for over 15 years. Beginning in the living room of their childhood home, they’ve performed in school musicals and at their church almost all of their lives. They even both had lead roles in their high school musicals! They began performing in the Street Performer Series two summers ago and are excited to be back this summer.
Matthew P. Kilroy
Matthew P. Kilroy is a human statue who comes to life to play music! He has been a solo performer for over 40 years with eight different musical instruments under his belt. In 2012, he began his act entitled “The Irish Street Musician” which he has performed at many venues
Random Cloud and the Moon
Random Cloud and the Moon is comprised of Albert Gemmen and Jamison Worst. The pair were part of a full band off and on for about 20 years and are now playing as a duo. Together, they sing and play guitar primarily in acoustic, folk style.
Still Life is a band from Holland that has played in churches throughout West Michigan. Their music is designed to be familiar enough to sing along with, however the arrangements are an attempt to breathe fresh air into the songs. With an unusual set of instruments such as hammer dulcimer and 5 string electric violin, as well as guitar, bass and lots of percussion, if you come across Still Life, you can expect to hear a unique sound.
The Balloon Guy
Jim Perry, also known as “The Balloon Guy,” has been twisting balloons for over 40 years. He is a graduate of the world-famous Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Clown College. Jim can make more than 100 different balloon animals, along with swords, flowers, hats and more.