First-ever Big Little Fair brings arts, crafts and Jedi lightsaber training to Ypsilanti

YPSILANTI, MI — Residents of the Ypsilanti area can listen to live music, take Congolese dance lessons and hear from supporting organizations at an upcoming event hosted by the local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter. .

The Big Little Fair, hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County, will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 10 at three Ypsilanti locations. The event, taking place for the first time this year, was originally scheduled for June but was moved to September to help make room for local June 19 celebrations.

The fair is intended to help build relationships in Ypsilanti, said Danni Murphy, marketing and outreach coordinator for Big Brother Big Sister Washtenaw County, as well as connect residents to resources at local organizations.

“The idea came to our development team that we spend all this time helping youth and mentors build healthy relationships to help kids grow and reach their full potential, and we could apply that knowledge and those relationship-building skills in the community, as well,” Murphy said.

The event is split into three venues, with events taking place at the Riverside Art Center, 11 W. Michigan Ave.; the Ypsilanti District Library, 229 W. Michigan Ave.; and Ypsilanti Performance Space, 218 N. Adams St.

The Riverside Art Center will offer a variety of child-friendly activities, including arts and crafts, dance lessons, theater games and orchestral performances. The Ypsilanti Youth Symphony Orchestra Jazz Ensemble will perform at noon on the Center Main Stage, while Center Stage Productions will perform simultaneously at the Center Theater.

Other performances throughout the day include a Ring of Steel demonstration, Jedi lightsaber training with Theatrica Gladiatoria, and house bands from Canton and Ann Arbor Schools of Rock.

Several organizations will also host interactive activity stations in the centre’s Off Center space. The stations provide opportunities to create tissue paper flowers, play hygiene games with the Student National Dental Association, and take pictures at the photo booth.

While the art center will be the main center for children, child-friendly activities will also be available in the Ypsilanti District Library’s Parents’ Square. The place aims to connect parents with a variety of local support organizations such as WIC and the Child Care Network and Resource Center. The League of Women Voters, Washtenaw Literacy and the Washtenaw Area Council for Children will also be among the organizations on site.

Although the event is free, you can purchase food from various food trucks at the Ypsilanti performance space.

Big Brother Big Sisters is a mentorship program that offers one-on-one pairing of adult mentors with local youth. The Big Little Fair aims to extend the same relationship to the greater Washtenaw County community, Murphy said.

“We do a lot for our families and our volunteers, but there are many programs that provide other resources,” Murphy said. “We just want to make sure that we’re also raising them and nurturing relationships with them so that the people we serve can take advantage of all the resources available to them.”

The Big Little Fair will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 10 in Ypsilanti. For more information or for a full list of events, visit the event website.

Find Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County online, on social media or by phone at 734-975-0933.

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