by Anu Teodorescu
Picture this: brightly-colored yoga mats lining the sides of a railroad bridge-turned-pedestrian-walkway, an autumn breeze in the air. Music pumps from speakers as dusk approaches, and people of all ages are participating in a workout class that combines elements of ballet, yoga, and strength-training and Pilates.
It’s the sixth annual Pure Barre on the Blue Bridge, a fundraising event for the Van Andel Institute (VAI) hosted by Purple Community in partnership with Lolë Grand Rapids and Lake Michigan Credit Union. The best part? Every dollar made from the event goes toward cancer and Parkinson’s disease research at the Institute.
“It started off as a partnership with Lolë Grand Rapids and Pure Barre Grand Rapids,” said Ashley Owen, the senior event coordinator at Purple Community.
“A couple of the gals that work at both of those organizations came together and said, ‘We want to do something good for the community.’ They decided on this event and it evolved to hosting it on the Blue Bridge the second year — and it’s just been so well-received by the community.”
Registration for the September 12 pop-up class will be available prior to the event date all the way up until the beginning of class at 7:30 p.m. Participants should plan to bring a yoga mat, a towel, hydration, friends, and even some cash for raffles! Tickets start at $15 and will include a rigorous but enjoyable workout designed and led by instructors from Pure Barre Grand Rapids and Pure Barre Grandville, as well as the chance to enter raffles and win prizes like spa packages, Pure Barre classes, and Lolë gift certificates and merchandise. A VIP after-barre experience (with cocktails and appetizers!) at the Jdek at six.one.six in the
Marriott will also be available through a ticket-upgrade.
Between bake sales, cancer walks and marathons, Pure Barre on the Blue Bridge with Lolë is just one of hundreds of fundraisers put on every year by Purple Community, the VAI’s community awareness and fundraising program. In 2018 alone, they raised over $700,000.
“One of the most exciting things about our program is that 100% of every single dollar that people work so hard to fundraise goes right back into our labs and into the research, thanks to an endowment established by our founders, Jay and Betty Van Andel,” Owen said. “So when people give to us, it’s really 100% hope.”
What: “Pure Barre on the Blue Bridge
When: Sept. 12, 7 p.m.
Where: The Blue Bridge
Cost: $15/ individual admission; $40/V.I.P. admission