Posted In:   From Issue 813   By: Robert E Martin

23rd July, 2015     0

FirstMerit Bank Event Park has just announced a series of festivals and a color concert to excite music lovers, inspire those eager to experience a broad range of delicious foods served by top area restaurants, and quench everyone’s thirst!

Titled as the Saginaw Next Series, according to General Manager Matt Blasy, the objective behind this series is “to effectively brand the quality events that SMG organizes at TheDow and FirstMerit Event Park. “We picked the name “Next” because we felt it was fitting to focus on the positive developments in Riverfront Saginaw and are excited to be part of it with attracting people downtown for events,” he adds. “Our focus is creating unique event experiences with value added options to maximize our audience potential. Tickets for these events typically fall in the $5 - $20 range and the ‘higher’ prices include sample tickets.”

Here’s a rundown on four exciting Saginaw Next events currently on the table:


Taste or the Great Lakes By Region • July 28th

Runs from 4:30 – 8:30 pm

Admission: $15.00 includes five sample tickets for food, wine or beer.

Presented in partnership with the Downtown Saginaw Farmers Market, this special experience allows patrons to experience taste treats from some of the best restaurants around the Great Lakes Bay Region. Additional sample tickets will be available for $1 each. Enjoy some of the finest restaurants from the region including The Maple Grille, Frankenmuth Brewery, Pretty Delicious Design, Dude’s Gumbo, Maria’s Mexican Restaurant, Tino’s Tamale Hut and G’s Pizza while listening to live music from the Leo Feith Band and Tom Dolson. A silent auction will also occur to benefit the Downtown Saginaw Farmers Market and their construction of a new permanent location for the market.

According to Blasy, this will be the second year for this event and the first time it will be held outdoors, seeing as inclement weather last year forced the event inside to The Red Room.  “The focus is upon promoting 10-12 restaurants in the region through our partnership with the Downtown Saginaw Farmers Market, where a portion of the proceeds will be going.”

“We had a lot of positive feedback from vendors and patrons last year and look to build upon that with the same focus.”


3rd Annual Rock ‘n Rib Fest • August 13th

Runs from 5:00 – 10:00 PM

Admission to this event is free and parking is only $5 per vehicle.

Features live music throughout the evening while offering guests the opportunity to taste some of the best barbeque in the region! Guests will help decide the winner of this year’s “People’s Choice Award” and can purchase beverages from the cash bar where a commemorative Rock N’ Rib mug will be available for purchase for $5 and will include $1 off each beverage purchase.

“For years Bay City did an outstanding job with their annual ‘Pig Gig’ and we would love to get our event to the level they established over the years,” notes Matt. “We will be bringing in 10-12 BBQ vendors from the area this year. We have modified the structure every year to see what fits best. This year, the event is free with parking $5 per car. You will be able to sample from each of the vendors for $3-$5. We feel this will be the most effective way   to maximize attendance and exposure to support local business.”


MIX 106.3 Color Concert with Plain White T’s • August 14th

Doors open at 6 PM.  $15 general admission.

Digity’s Mix 106.3 brings you a first in the Great Lakes Bay Region! You’ve seen those 3k and 5k color runs…but with this event you can forget the running and start the strumming with The Mix 106.3 Color Concert, with live entertainment by The Plain White T’s! People can also get their own Plain White T-shirt covered in colors at the show...With special guests Life of Dillon!  Opening the show will be Christian Burghardt and Daya.

“This is our first Color Concert and it is different than the other festivals as this event is more headliner driven with the Plain White T’s who have several hit songs, along with great support acts such as Life of Dillon, Christian Burghart and Daya,” notes Matt.

“We are basically taking the Color Run concept and applying it to concerts. We are encouraging everyone to wear "plain white T's."  We are excited about this concert as it falls in line with creating a unique event experience in the Great Lakes Bay Region.”


2nd Annual Great Lake Gathering Irish Festival • August 22nd

Runs form 10:30 AM – 11:00 PM

$12.00 general admission / $25 VIP Tickets includes pint glass & food voucher.

Kids 12 and under free admission.

Presented in partnership with The White Crow Conservatory of Music, featuring the best of Irish music and culture. This day-long festival includes performances of traditional and contemporary Irish music, workshops in Irish dance, song, instruments and language throughout the day, vendors and local cultural organizations. Traditional Irish food will be available as well as an Irish Whiskey tasting experience and traditional FirstMerit Bank Event Park concession offerings. For more information including a schedule of events and workshops, please visit

Headlining this year’s festival are Makem & Spains, Blackthorn and Finvarras Wren. Once again, First Merit is working in partnership with Siusan O’Rourke & Zig Zeitler and relying heavily upon their input and connections within Celtic music circles to get this festival established within the region and around the state.  According to Blasy, “the feedback we received last year was extremely positive from the artists, vendors and patrons, so we are looking to build upon that in the second year.”

“We are very pleased with the way things have been progressing with FirstMerit Bank Event Park,” concludes Matt. “We opened the season with our largest crowd yet...over 4,000 people for Godsmack. We have 5 touring artists this summer including Cole Swindell (Aug 20) and Aaron Lewis (9/4) as well a new festival this year, Bacon and Beer, on 9/19.”

“In addition, we have increased the number of community events compared to last year and expect that to continue to expand in future.  The other exciting thing is we are going to be adding permanent bathrooms that should be completed by the end of the event season. We are very pleased to secure the funding for this and add this amenity to our first class venue.”

All events will occur at the FirstMerit Bank Event Park directly across from the Dow Event Center. More information about these events can be found at and tickets can be purchased now by visiting, the Dow Event Center Box Office, or by calling 800-745-3000.





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