'Cider Week' in Grand Rapids includes festival on the Blue Bridge


GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- Hard cider lovers in Grand Rapids will want to mark their calendars for the week of April 17-22.

The Michigan Cider Association and Experience Grand Rapids plan to hold the first-ever "Cider Week GR" event celebrating the apple-based alcoholic beverage. The celebration includes an international cider competition, local tap takeovers and a festival on downtown Grand Rapids' iconic "Blue Bridge."

As the country's second largest producer of apples and with a growing number of craft hard cider-makers, Michigan is well positioned to make a name for itself in the worlds of cider and perry.

For the uninitiated, perry is a product similar to cider,  but made from fermented pear juice instead of apple juice.

The week-long event in Grand Rapids coincides with the Great Lakes International Cider and Perry competition (GLINTCAP). The competition, in its 12th year, features professional and amateur cider and perry makers competing for awards in three different categories.

The competition, which is closed to the public, runs from April 19-22 and is hosted at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids.

The week culminates with an opportunity to toast to the success of Michigan's cider industry with a sparkling glass of the stuff, all on the historic railroad bridge now open to pedestrian traffic crossing the Grand River.

The event will run from 2-7 p.m. on Saturday, April 22. Attendees will enjoy a line-up of local musicians alongside cider and food, available for purchase from area vendors. Tickets to the Blue Bridge event are available for $25 each through Eventbrite.

Though only a handful of events are posted on the Experience Grand Rapids website in connection with the week-long celebration, organizers promise to announce more events in the days ahead.