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Pink Arrow Pride: West End Reveal

by Brendan A. Sanders
contributing reporter

One Lowell's largest events of the year is set to kick off on Friday, Aug. 23 as Pink Arrow Pride Community Day: West End Reveal will start the Pink Arrow festivities.

With a new date and location this year, Pink Arrow Pride Community Day: West End Reveal will be taking place at the newly constructed Impact Church across from Meijer on M-21. There will be various health and wellness vendors inside the lobby of the church. It will also be taking place on a Friday, which is scheduled as a day off for students.

The most exciting aspect of this year's event, though, is the brand new location. One of the many leaders of Pink Arrow Pride, Teresa Beachum, explained.

"We've kind of outgrown our last locations," Beachum said. "We originally started out at Gilda's Club. Once we got too big for that area, we moved to the Riverwalk area. Both areas were really great to us. This year's location is much more spacious. There was just so much happening on the West End this year. Impact Church invited us to use their space this year. We thought we should join forces with Impact and the opening of the park to bring the greater Lowell Area together in one area. It took a lot of working together for everything to come together."

This event will serve as the official opening to the Grand River Riverfront Park North. The multi-year, multi-million-dollar project that has seen a new pedestrian bridge cross the Grand River, connecting the new park to the already existing Grand River Riverfront Park on the south side of the river. This brand new bridge will be open to the public on Friday, Aug. 23.

The park will also be showcasing almost all of its new features off to the community. New pickleball courts are now put in and they will be readily available for the community to use. There will also be a demonstration of the sport for anyone will to learn the game. Children are welcome to play gaga ball. For those who don't know what gaga ball is, it is a ball game set in an octagonal pit. Basically, it is like dodgeball. If the ball hits your feet, you are out. The last person standing wins. There will surely be some friendly competition in the gaga pit. The park's concession stands will also be open for the public. Customers will be able to purchase ice cream, slushies, hot dogs and much more. The Yeiter meeting cabin will be opened up and staff from the Lowell Museum will be on hand to interact with the public. Many other great activities will be taking place inside and around Impact Church for the community to enjoy.

People who attend will get the chance to purchase the 2019 Pink Arrow Force XII T-Shirts. There will be a pink tent stationed right in front of the church selling the shirts. T-shirts will be $15 for normal sizes, $18 for 3XL, and $20 for long-sleeved shirts. These shirts will serve as a ticket to the Pink Arrow XII festivities on Friday, Sept. 13, including the Pink Arrow Soccer game against Forest Hills Central, Pink Arrow volleyball game against Grand Rapids Christian, and to top the night off, the Lowell Pink Arrow Football team going up against Greenville. The goal for Pink Arrow Community Day is to sell over 2,000 t-shirts.

A blood drive will be taking place onsite with Versity Blood promising to donate $10 to Gilda's Club of Lowell for every person who signs in to donate blood at the drive.

"We ask people come inside and donate blood, this is usually the largest community blood drive the city has all year," Beachum said. "The drive will be run by Versity Blood, formally known as Michigan Blood. It will be right inside the church, which will be a much more comfortable environment for those who choose to donate blood. Hospitals need blood."

The Spectrum Health Betty Ford Breast Care Services bus will be providing mammograms between 10 am and 5 pm. Mammograms are the best way to detect early stages of breast cancer.

This year is the first-ever Pink Arrow Hair Drive. People can either come inside and have their hair cut or they can bring their own ponytail of hair that they brought from home. Amazingly, this hair drive was the idea of a first-grader at Murray Lake named Easton Dressander. The Lowell High School radio station WRWW 92.3 FM will be hosting a remote at the event all day. Ice cream will be provided to the first 300 people, with cones being $2 for those who attend after the first 300 people until supplies run out. Huntington will also have their "mobile popsicle mobile" giving out free popsicles to all that attend. After the event finishes, the Lowell Chamber of Commerce is hosting "an after hours event" on that site the same day.

Besides the community, the largest beneficiaries to the Pink Arrow is Gilda's Club.

"With the success of Pink Arrow, we are able to help Gilda's Club," Beachum said. "Gilda's Club gives age-appropriate support to K-12 and adults who have experienced a cancer or a grief journey. Educational and emotional support is all free at Gilda's Club."

Beachum is excited and appreciative of the communities continued support of Pink Arrow Pride and all the events that go along with it.

"This community realizes we have the resources to contribute to the health and wellness of so many people," Beachum said. "This community's generosity has done so much for the lives of many. Sponsors continue to be so generous to us year after year and they have impacted the lives that are here and will be coming here in the future. What happens here will help us give back all year long for Pink Arrow."

Once again, Lowell is looking to put its best foot forward as Pink Arrow Pride arrives for another amazing year. With many fun activities to be had by all, Pink Arrow Community day will not only be fun, but hopefully very educational for all of those that attend.

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