Ribs for Art raises funds for ArtFest

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Monday’s full stomachs foreshadowed summer’s entertainment.

Gracie’s Place, 151 S. Putnam St., hosted the fourth Ribs for Art fundraising dinner on April 1 at 7 p.m. Attendees enjoyed barbecued ribs, potatoes, beans and dessert. All proceeds went toward the Williamston ArtFest, a free community event. ArtFest 2013 will be on July 27 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at McCormick Park.

Gracie’s Place owner Paul Joseph estimated that last year’s dinners raised $3,000 to $5,000.

“The thing I like best about ArtFest is how it brings so many diverse people to Williamston,” Joseph said.

Joseph and his wife, Dawn-Marie, came up with the dinner while brainstorming ways to contribute to ArtFest. The ArtFest committee purchases food through the restaurant and the city reimburses expenses.

“We do it because it is good for the entire community,” Joseph said.

Holly Thompson, ArtFest director, said the event has significantly offset city costs.

“The community has been really supportive of the dinners. Everybody seems to have a really good time,” Thompson said.

Past fundraisers have included a community 8K run and the La Dolce Vita Art Auction. Last year, the inauguration of a beer and wine tent provided additional support.

“The fundraisers are completely pulled off by volunteers,” Thompson said. “We couldn’t do it without them.”

Robin Stewart, a member of the Downtown Development Authority, was one of those volunteers. Stewart was a waitress for the night and said she enjoyed volunteering her time.

“I really enjoyed ArtFest last year,” Stewart said. “The new music in the band shell, that I really liked.”

The ArtFest began in 2001 with the help of downtown business owners. The event displays the artistic talent of hometown residents as well as the greater Lansing area. ArtFest 2012 included over 80 fine art booths, a Marshall Music instrument petting zoo, live music and dance performances and an art tent for kids.

Prospective artists, sponsors and volunteers who would like to participate should contact Holly Thompson. Were you not able to make last week’s dinner? Don’t miss the last two Ribs for Art dinners on May 6 and June 3.

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