Get to know your neighbor at the first-ever Wyoming Winterfest

By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma


The group behind Wyoming’s one-on-one mentoring program is branching out with the first ever Wyoming Winterfest this Saturday, which is designed to get people out and talking to their neighbors.


Put together by the One Wyoming Community Collaborative – made up of a collaboration of schools, businesses, government, churches, nonprofits and residents to improve the quality of life in the community – the Wyoming Winterfest is the next step in working to bring residents, community leaders and business owners together to start the dialog of what they can do to improve their neighborhood, said Jon Shaner, the marketing director for the Salvation Army Kroc Center, one of the sponsors for the event.


“With the success of the one-on-one mentoring program, we began to look at what would be the next best thing we could do to help unite people together who might be interested in working within their own neighborhood to improve the quality of life,” Shaner said.


February was selected because “in the spring, people tend to be out and about and that is when the festivals start,” Shaner said. “But in January and February, this is a time when we tend to holed up with Netflix and hang out at home. We thought this would be a good way to get people out and talking to each other.”


The Wyoming Winterfest is similar to National Night Out, which takes place in August. This Saturday’s event will have seven different locations in various neighborhoods throughout the city. Each location has activities that have been planned by churches, residents and businesses of that neighborhood. Shaner said for example, the Kroc Center, which is located in the north end of the city, has partnered with groups in the Godwin Heights area such as the North Godwin Heights Business Association and Community Church. Each site will have its own slate of events, but all will feature free food, family-friendly activities and giveaways from businesses and other local organizations.


The DOCK/The PIER, located near Kelloggsville High School at 4669 S. Division Ave., will kick things off with free breakfast from 9 – 11:30 a.m. The morning program will include games and prizes and high school students reading various speeches from African American leaders from past and present. There also will be a reading corner for children.


Also taking place from 9 a.m. to noon, will be a variety of activities including a bounce house, basketball contests, games, blood pressure checks, snow sculpture contest (weather permitting) and more at the Wyoming Jr. High School, 2125 Wrenwood St. SW. Food will be available as well as vendor and informational booths. Activities will be accessible from the main parking lot on the east side of the building off of Wrenwood.


Activities at Vanguard Charter Academy, 1620 52nd St. SW, will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and include outdoor ice skating (weather permiting) and inflatables indoors. There also will be a coffee bar, hot chocolate and pizza as well as a snow dough snowman making contest.


Starting at noon, Calvary Church, 3500 Byron Center Ave., will be offering lunch, kids games, bingo, and tax consultation. The Calvary Church program runs from noon to 3 p.m.


Also starting at noon will be outdoor and indoor games including Zumba and a bounce house at Godfrey-Lee Early Childhood Center, 961 Joosten St. SW. There will be raffle prizes as well. The program at Godfrey-Lee runs until 4 p.m.


Community Church (Godwin Heights), 150 Burt Ave. SE, – the program the Kroc Center has partnered with – will be offering indoor games, Zumba classes and art from 1 to 4 p.m. Food also will be available.


Grace Bible College, 1011 Aldon St. SW, will have activities from 1 to 4 p.m. as well. Those activities include sledding and snow scupting (weather permitting) broom ball, ice skating, games, races and crafts.


The entire event is supported by several community organizations including The Salvation Army Kroc Center, Family Fare, Metro Health: University of Michigan Health, Wyoming Community Foundation, Roosevelt Park Ministries, and UCOM.


For more information about the event or about One Wyoming, visit