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

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

YPSILANTI, MI — 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 take place from noon to 4 pm on Saturday, Sept. 10 across 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 Juneteenth celebrations.

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

“The idea occurred to our development team that we spend all this time helping youth and mentors build healthy relationships to help the kids grow and achieve their full potential, and we could apply that knowledge and that skill set to build relationships in the community, as well,” Murphy said.

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

The Riverside Art Center will feature a variety of child-friendly activities, including crafts, dance lessons, theater games and orchestra performances. The Ypsilanti Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Jazz Ensemble will be performing at noon at the center’s main stage, while performing Center Stage Productions will be simultaneously at the center’s theater.

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

Several organizations will also be hosting 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 at the photo booth.

While the art center will be the main children’s hub, kid-friendly activities will also be available at the Ypsilanti District Library’s Parent Plaza. The plaza is aimed at connecting 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 Washtenaw Area Council for Children will also be among the on-site organizations.

Although the event is free to attend, food can be purchased from a variety of food trucks at the Ypsilanti Performance Space.

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

“There’s a lot that we do for our families and for our volunteers, but there’s a lot of programs out there that offer other resources,” Murphy said. “We just want to make sure that we’re lifting them up as well and make sure that we have relationships with them so that the people that we serve can take advantage of all of the resources available to them.”

The Big Little Fair will take place from noon to 4 pm on Saturday, Sept. 10 in Ypsilanti. For more information or for a complete line up of events, visit the event’s website.

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

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