A favorite cocktail festival will mark the start to another exciting summer in Lansing. Presented by the Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities Authority (LEPFA) and City Pulse, the 2nd Annual Margarita Fest will transform the Lansing Center’s Riverfront Plaza on May 31 into a haven for residents looking to have a good time and shake away the winter blues.
For the price of admission, attendees will have the opportunity to sample up to 15 different margarita offerings from Lansing area bars and restaurants, dance the night away to live music performances and grab a bite from an assortment of Lansing best food vendors.
“Lansing is known for hosting a number of extraordinary festivals. We have everything from small stuff to large stuff and I think kicking off the summer right with something like this brings positive vibes and excitement to the community,” said Scott Keith, president and CEO of LEPFA. “If the weather is as great as it was last year, we look forward to giving people a reason to get out and about early on.”
For years, the ever-popular Board of Water and Light Chili Cook Off served as an entry point to summer fun in the city, but since being moved into the fall – a more suitable season for warm eats – a void was left that allowed for new opportunities. This change prompted the perfect storm for LEPFA to recalibrate its events timeline to ensure the good times in Lansing continue rolling through the year.
“When the Board of Water and Light decided to move their Chili Cook Off to the fall, we saw an opportunity to kick off the summer and began concepting the idea with our partners at City Pulse. Margarita Fest takes place the weekend after Memorial Day, and during a time when most of the Lansing area’s festivals start happening. By placing our event at the forefront of the season, we hope to create an event that serves as the kickoff to a summer of fun for Lansing residents. We hope to see that excitement roll throughout the season into things like Common Ground.”
LEPFA is adamant about using its upcoming festivities as an opportunity to place a spotlight on the area’s natural amenities. Like last year, this year’s celebration will inhabit the riverfront – allowing for a unique experience of fun and food on the water.
“We’re trying to bring attention to a space that we feel has been under utilized for years by having smaller events that people want to come down for to enjoy music and have some good food,” said Keith. “There will likely be some other activities in this space during the festival and throughout the year, but we certainly will have food and music in hand for attendees.”
Businesses of all shapes and sizes from throughout Lansing will be in attendance to give guests a taste of the city’s best eats and a sip of some unique concoctions. Despite the community coming together to create a celebration that promotes the region, they will also be pitted against each other to determine whom has the best margarita offering.
“So just like last year, we have all local restaurants participating. We look to have about 15 to 20 participates, each providing their signature margaritas or a unique twist.
We encourage attendees to sample everything and vote on who’s margarita was best.”
This year, LEPFA plans to introduce a digital voting component which will allow attendees to vote for the best via an application on their mobile device. “Last year, we had one prize and we’re looking at potentially introducing separate categories for creativity. Our winner last year was MP Social, who provided a margarita that wasn’t traditional in a sense. Those types of beverages demonstrate what this festival is trying to get at with our participants: that margaritas don’t have to be traditional to taste great. You can be creative and have fun with it.”
Last year’s outing was a bonafide hit for the downtown region: drawing a sold-out crowd of nearly 700 attendees. LEPFA is anticipating similar numbers and will work to move some of the event’s offerings and activities to accommodate an additional 200 attendees.
“Last year was extremely well-received and we anticipate it selling out again,” Keith. “Everyone’s feeling towards our first year of the festival has been positive and we think that’s going to continue too as we work to make it bigger and better.”
Attendees must be 21+ with a valid ID to purchase tickets. A portion of each sale will benefit the Ingham County Animal Shelter.
For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/MargaritaFestLansing/