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The Grand Rapids skyline

With something for everyone, Grand Rapids, Michigan, is ready to host NAEC expo and convention attendees.

Photos courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

A place known affectionately as “Beer City,” Grand Rapids promises a good time for all who visit. The second-largest city in Michigan features modern attractions and historic sites and will also be home to the National Association of Elevator Contractors’ (NAEC’s) 70th Annual Convention & 2019 Exposition taking place at the Amway Grand Plaza and DeVos Place Convention Center on September 16-19. Located on the Grand River, the city features art of all kinds, more than 80 breweries, historic museums and activities for all ages.

For the 70th year, the NAEC is hosting an event to bring together people from all across the vertical-transportation (VT) industry. The event will include a number of activities for attendees, in addition to the educational sessions, roundtable discussions and exhibitions. (Details can be found at www.naecconvention. com/agenda)

Monday, September 16:

  • The Official Golf Tournament — 8 a.m. shotgun start at the Golf Club at Thornapple Pointe
  • Lakeshore Dunes & Saugatuck Village Tour— 10 a.m.-3 p.m., a tour of the area that begins with a dune ride, continues with lunch and dessert on the beach and ends with shopping opportunities on the village sidewalks
  • Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation (EESF) Party — 8-10 p.m., hors d’oeuvres, drinks and fun to benefit the EESF Tuesday, September 17:
  • Fun Run ’19 — 6-7:30 a.m., a 5K run/3K walk over the Grand River’s foot bridges
  • Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Tour — 1-4:30 p.m., a picturesque tour of the 158-acre site overflowing with botanicals and world-famous art

Wednesday, September 18:

  • Celebrate NAEC’s 70th Anniversary — 7-10 p.m., join the Platinum Jubilee for a Studio54-inspired party atmosphere at 20 Monroe Live Thursday, September 19:
  • Dregs Party — 7-8:30 p.m., sample some of Beer City’s finest drafts and spirits at the block party on the historic Gillette Bridge

Grand Rapids also has many other activities to fill the hours between the events of the convention. Art lovers and people looking to score the perfect pic will enjoy visiting La Grande Vitesse at Calder Plaza. The large sculpture attracts many visitors and even has a designated “selfie spot.”

If you’re looking for some wilder entertainment, the John Ball Zoo is home to more than 1,800 animals and has many exhibits. The zoo has a ropes course and zip line, and you can even continue the VT fun with a funicular ride to the second-highest ridge in Grand Rapids.

Other Grand Rapids attractions:

  • The Gun Lake Casino — Home to five restaurants, poker games, blackjack, live shows and more, the casino is open 24/7.
  • Schwallier’s Country Basket — Take a break from the city experience for a chance to pick apples, pumpkins and more, and even pet some farm animals.
  • Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum — The resting place of the 38th president of the U.S., Gerald R. Ford, and his wife, Betty, the museum features artifacts from the president’s

lifetime and has displays of some of the former first lady’s famous gowns and dresses.

  • Circle Theater — With a goal of entertaining the community in an intimate setting, the theater offers multiple performances throughout the year. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will be performed in mid-September.
  • TreeRunner Grand Rapids Adventure Park — For the more adventurous visitors, the park features ropes courses ranging from beginner to expert.

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