Celebrate your community at the Groundwork Get Local Party on Saturday, May 21 at The Little Fleet in downtown Traverse City.

The party will feature local dishes with sustainably foraged items, live music and an all-ages Get Local Passport filled with activities designed to inspire your creative side as you learn about local food systems, farming, transportation, solar energy and ways to get involved. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities.

The party will start at 3 p.m. with local food and family activities and go into the evening with music by The Go Rounds from 7:30 to 10 p.m.

We chatted with Dani Knoph, Groundwork’s public outreach coordinator, about the upcoming festivities and what people can look forward to.

What’s the inspiration behind the Get Local Party?

“Getting local and having fun while doing it is what it’s all about. This party is designed to inspire the community to connect to opportunities and with the work going into creating resilient local food systems, a clean energy future and innovating stronger places to live, commute and work. People are going to come to this party and feel proud to live here because we’re getting more locally grown food into our schools, more solar panels on roofs. We’re strengthening the local food market and innovating transportation options. There’s so much this community has to celebrate with all the hard work that’s happening to make northwest Michigan more resilient.”

Why did you choose The Little Fleet as the location?

“We got lucky because The Little Fleet chose us! The owners of The Little Fleet are incredible community leaders and creative thinkers. In just a few short years of putting roots down in Traverse City, they’ve created a thriving cultural hub right downtown. We couldn’t be happier that they’re Groundwork supporters, and we’re incredibly grateful that they’ve invited us and a group of talented community partners to bring The Get Local Party to life!”

This event is all about community. What does community mean to you?

“Community is a combination of many elements. It’s people living in a place sharing resources, cultural values, talents, skills, exchanging ideas, collaborating and facing common challenges. Community can do amazing things like protect natural resources, inspire healthier lifestyles and catalyze public art to inform future generations. At Groundwork, community is always tied to protecting the environment and strengthening the economy. Building community is actually one-third of Groundwork’s mission statement—how cool is that!? Now, what if community were a part of every business and nonprofit mission statement?”

What will the food trucks be serving at the event?

“I can’t yet confirm what food trucks will be there, but I do know there will be no shortage of delicious food being served. Each truck at the party will feature a dish inspired by locally grown food and sustainably foraged items—thanks in large part to our friends at Taste The Local Difference and the recently launched Institute for Sustainable Foraging. These guys are based out of Cherry Capital Foods and they’re rockstars when it comes to ethical food sourcing and strengthening the local food economy.”

And what kinds of activities can people look forward to?

“We’ve designed five creative activities—each with its own purpose to inspire and celebrate local food, farming, solar power, transportation and this vibrant place we call home. At the party, pick up a Get Local Passport which features local fun facts. It’ll direct you to interactive stations with fun takeaways. I don’t want to give away all the surprises, but… a DIY solar lantern, a mini foldable BATA bus, seed potting activity featuring BARC and Carter’s Compost and an interactive public art project with local art-star Brianne Farley are some highlights. For every activity completed you get a sticker in your passport, and those who get all five will receive a complimentary raffle ticket to win all sorts of awesome stuff from local businesses. The Go Rounds will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. and wrap the evening with a rollicking set of high-energy rock, because what’s a party without awesome Michigan music?”

Do people have to buy a ticket for the event?

“There’s no ticket or admission fee. Just show up as you might for any Little Fleet event. We’ll be selling Get Local Passports there for $10, from 3 to 6 p.m. Raffle tickets to win prizes from local businesses are $5 each and can be purchased from 3 to 10 p.m. Yen Yoga, Oryana, and Tee See Tee are just a few of the locals giving away great raffle packages.”

Is there anything else people should know?

“The Little Fleet is donating a percentage of all drink sales to benefit Groundwork. We’re especially grateful that Short’s Superfluid will be available at The Get Local Party—an American double IPA brewed with clean water in mind.

“At Groundwork, we love working with organizations, schools, institutions and innovative people that are interested in moving the dial on clean energy, local food and farming, transportation, protecting natural resources and building stronger communities. Get Local sponsors and partners have played an integral part in making this event possible.”

Check out all the businesses and organizations involved in the Get Local Party here, and find out how you can lend a hand at this party by volunteering.

Stay tuned for the latest Groundwork Get Local Party details.

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Photo(s) by Michael Poehlman