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

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

The Big Little Fair, hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County, will be held from noon to 4:00 pm on Saturday, September 10 at three locations in Ypsilanti. The event, which is being held for the first time this year, was originally scheduled for June, but was moved to September to make way for local celebrations on the tenth of June.

The fair aims to help build relationships in Ypsilanti, said Danny Murphy, marketing and outreach coordinator for Big Brother Big Sister Washtenaw County, as well as connect residents with resources from local organizations.

“It occurred 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 that set of community building skills, as well,” Murphy said.

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

The Riverside Center for the Arts will feature a variety of kid-friendly activities, including crafts, dance lessons, theater games and orchestral performances. The Ypsilanti Youth Symphony Orchestra Jazz Ensemble will perform at noon on the center’s main stage, while Center Stage Productions will perform simultaneously in the center’s theater.

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

Several organizations will also host interactive activity stations in the center’s Off Center space. Stations include opportunities to create tissue paper flowers, play hygiene games with the Student National Dental Association and take photos in the photo booth.

While the arts center will be the main children’s center, kid-friendly activities will also be offered in the Ypsilanti District Library’s Parent Plaza. The Square aims to connect parents with various local support organizations such as WIC and the Child Care and Resource Center Network. 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 to attend, food can be purchased from various food trucks at the Ypsilanti Performance Space.

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

“There are a lot of things that we do for our families and for our volunteers, but there are a lot of programs that offer other resources,” Murphy said. “We just want to make sure that we elevate them and make sure that we have relationships with them so that the people that we serve can take advantage of all the resources that are available to them.”

The Big Little Fair will be held from noon to 4pm on Saturday, September 10th in Ypsilanti. For more information or a full lineup 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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