Gilda’s LaughFest, a ten-day festival celebrating laughter for the health of it, announced it will hold its third year of events March 7-17, 2013. Details of the 2013 events, schedule and talent lineup will be released later this fall.
“The minute we finished our second year, the community and sponsors were asking for the dates for next year,” said Leann Arkema, president and CEO of LaughFest and Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. “We had tremendous support for the festival this year, great turnout, great support from sponsors and the community. And it showed in the numbers. The festival exceeded its goals and the planning is well on its way for a third year of laughter.”
In 2012, the festival proceeds were approximately $211,000, bringing the two-year income stream from the festival and the signature dinner events to a grand total of $541,000. All dollars raised support the free cancer, grief, and emotional health programs offered through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.
“We are thrilled with the results of this year’s financial outcome. Ticket sales revenues were up 25 percent. We are ahead of where we thought we might be in only our second year,” added Arkema.
Studies during and after the festival that were headed up by Paul Isely, chair of economics, and Jennifer Pope, associate professor of marketing, at Grand Valley State University’s (GVSU) Seidman College of Business, demonstrated that LaughFest made a positive impact on the region’s economy as well.