Category Archives: Chamber News

How a Small Art and Craft Fair Turned into the Ultimate Community Celebration

For one weekend every summer, tens of thousands of people flock to Lake Michigan’s shoreline—not for a beach getaway, but for a celebration of the arts.


This summer will be no different as the Lakeshore Art Festival returns to downtown Muskegon on July 6 and 7, 2018.


If you’re imagining a quick stroll by pop-up tents in a park, it’s time to summon your inner artist and get a bit more creative.


Click here to read the full West Michigan Woman Magazine article. 

April 2018 E-vents

Click here for our April 2018 E-vents 



April 2018 E-news

Click here to view the April 2018 E-news. 


Record Number of Exhibitors Apply to the Lakeshore Art Festival!

Muskegon, MI – A record number of nearly 450 exhibitors applied for this year’s Lakeshore Art Festival. “448 to be exact,” commented Lakeshore Art Festival Director, Carla Flanders. “This year’s numbers exceed our previous record by 122 exhibitors! The Lakeshore Art Festival has been getting national attention since its inaugural year in 2013 and the results are showing in record exhibitor numbers, enhanced quality of work and increased guest attendance!”


Show quality has also been enhanced by the “blind jury process.” Every year, a group of industry professionals, artists and crafters review each entry, not knowing who the applicant is (i.e. blind jury). Jurors rely solely on the images and body of work provided by the applicants and score each applicant based on standards of quality, uniqueness and hand-crafted appeal. “Careful attention is made to ensure variety and diversity in terms of items displayed throughout the show,” says Carla Flanders. “The focus of the Lakeshore Art Festival is not only to present one-of-a-kind art to attendees, but also to bring a lasting sense of creativity to the local community.”


In addition to the exceptional level of artistry and entertainment, the Lakeshore Art Festival will offer two new artful components…


The Door Project: In conjunction with the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District and Nuveen Art Center, the Lakeshore Art Festival will host its first ever community Door Project. The project will include 15 local schools decorating/painting refurbished doors. The doors will be displayed on location during the festival. Additionally, Nuveen Art Center will host a door painting celebration for guests to decorate during the show. A majority of the doors have been secured, but the festival is seeking a few additional doors. If you are interested in donating a gently used door, please contact Carla Flanders at


Kayak Sculpture Public Art Project: Lakeshore Art Festival attendees will also be treated to a unique downtown art experience in the form of public artworks incorporating real kayaks. Several kayak sculptures, measuring up to eleven feet high and six feet wide, will be on display throughout downtown beginning July 5. Kayaks are being provided by KL Outdoor, the world’s largest kayak manufacturer. The downtown sculpture project is just one way the community is celebrating KL’s recent decision to locate their corporate headquarters in Muskegon.
Artists interested in participating in the Kayak Sculpture Project should click here to view the Call for Artists document, which includes detailed artist requirements and a submission form. Artists chosen to participate will receive a $500 stipend. The deadline to submit entries is Friday, April 20.


In addition to new events, Lakeshore Art Festival favorites will return, with a Craft Beer and Wine Garden in Hackley Park, Student Art Showcase, Street Performers and a Children’s Lane.


The Lakeshore Art Festival is always the first Friday and Saturday in July and will take place July 6 and 7, 2018. The Lakeshore Art Festival features a unique blend of 300+ fine art and craft exhibitors, street performers, specialty food booths, interactive art stations, Children’s activities and so much more in beautiful Downtown Muskegon, Michigan. Local businesses interested in supporting this locally and nationally recognized festival through sponsorship can contact Carla Flanders at For more information visit



PHONE: 231-724-3176


Muskegon’s Entrepreneurs of Excellence Announced

Seven local Entrepreneurs of Excellence will get recognized for making a lasting impact on the community at The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce’s annual “E-Awards” Luncheon. Entrepreneurs improve the standard of living in our community in addition to creating jobs, new businesses, and social change.


The luncheon event celebrating Muskegon’s entrepreneurial spirit will be held on April 27. During the luncheon, one will be named Muskegon’s 2018 Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year.


The 2018 Entrepreneurs of Excellence are:

  • Steven Crooks, WaterDog Outfitters
  • Lari Hines, Salon 297 Hair Studio & Day Spa
  • Jim Stevens, J. Stevens Construction
  • Jim VanderWier, Redi Rental  & Uganski Roll-Off Services
  • Rick Weihl, Hurricane Power
  • Jim Wilde, Wilde Signs
  • Carol Yarnold, Dog Star Ranch


The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce has a long history of recognizing innovative business leaders and has awarded an outstanding entrepreneur(s) each year since 1982. The awards program highlights the Lakeshore’s many successful entrepreneurs and showcases the rich foundation of entrepreneurial spirit in the Muskegon business community.


The entrepreneurial stories of this year’s Entrepreneurs of Excellence will be shared at the Annual E-Awards Luncheon. These awardees are chosen by a committee comprised of past Entrepreneur Award winners. On the program is past Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year, Scott Erdman, Owner of Erdman Machine Co. who will share his story of success.


What: E-Awards Luncheon Celebrating the Spirit of Entrepreneurship along the Muskegon Lakeshore
When: Friday, April 27, 2018 from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Where: Muskegon Country Club, 2801 Lakeshore Drive
Cost: $40/chamber members, $60/general admission, $395/corporate table of 8
About: Recognition of the lakeshore’s Entrepreneurs of Excellence, the announcement of Muskegon’s 2018 Outstanding Entrepreneur Award Winner and hear from past Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year, Scott Erdman, Owner of Erdman Machine Co.

Sponsors: Parmenter Law, Profab, Rehmann, GoodTemps, Fifth Third Bank, Next I.T., West Shore Bank, Eagle Alloy, Hines Corporation, Manpower, Comcast Business


If you would like more information about the award, program, or to register for the event, contact the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce office at 231.722.3751 or visit


Click here for a printable flyer



Muskegon Named America’s Strongest Town!


Muskegon, MI – Muskegon, Michigan is the winner of the 2018 national Strong Towns Contest! This contest is hosted by the Strong Towns organization, a non-profit community development group, who recognizes America’s most sustainable and resilient communities. Muskegon entered the month long contest competing in a bracket-based competition where finalists included Annapolis, Maryland; Greenville, South Carolina; and Kent, Ohio.


Muskegon was recognized for its ability to implement change that makes the community stronger.  The judges acknowledged Muskegon for its “wildly successful farmers market, commitment to rebuilding the downtown and its good use of waterfront,” according to the Strong Towns announcement.


“It truly was March Madness for Muskegon because we had to jump through hoops each week to make it to the contest finals,” says Cindy Larsen, President of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce.  The contest included writing essays about the town, sending photographs, a podcast and a live webcast with the City Manager, Frank Peterson and Chamber President, Cindy Larsen.  Members of the strong town organization across the country along with local community residents casted their votes for their favorite community. In the championship round, Muskegon, Michigan won against Kent, Ohio by 4 percent!


“Muskegon has come so far in recent years.  It is great for the residents to receive this recognition. Strong Towns isn’t about one project or one person, it’s about everyone chipping in to move a community forward,” says Larsen.  “Anyone who visits will see that Muskegon truly is a strong town and has set the framework to be successful for the next generation.”


For more information about the community or the award, visit or


Michigan vs. Ohio?



Muskegon, MI – Muskegon, Michigan is now in the championship to beat an Ohio city in the national “Strong Towns” contest. Strong Towns is a non-profit organization that promotes communities who are financially strong and resilient through the work of local citizens or “people who care”. Both Muskegon, Michigan and Kent, Ohio were selected to enter the bracketed competition based on criteria sent to cities and towns across the nation. Both cities have won their brackets and are now considered two of the most resilient communities in the country.


“Like many places, we have worked hard to reinvent our community,” says Cindy Larsen, President of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. Muskegon has demonstrated resilience as they celebrate one billion dollars in investment throughout the county. “We rallied the people who care about their hometown and now have something exciting to show for it with new and expanding businesses, contemporary housing and award-winning festivals and events.”



Since Muskegon is the only city in Michigan competing for this award, the community is asking for support from all Michigan residents. Starting Monday, March 26, Michiganders are being asked to vote for Muskegon at


“By shining the light on Muskegon, we are promoting Michigan as a great place to live, work and play,” says Frank Peterson, City Manager. Help Michigan beat Ohio in this friendly competition by casting your vote for Muskegon today!


We’re in the Final Four!

Muskegon, MI – Muskegon is in the Final Four and we’re not talking basketball! Muskegon made the final four towns in a contest that rates the resilience of local communities. Strong Towns is a non-profit organization that promotes communities who are financially strong and resilient through the work of local citizens or “people who care”.  The Strong Town education strategy is to recognize communities that are making economic and social progress through this competition.


Muskegon was selected a few weeks ago to enter the bracketed competition based on answers to a questionnaire sent to cities and towns across the nation. Muskegon made it to the final 16, then elite 8 and now the final four.


“I received a questionnaire a few weeks ago and thought, I might as well fill this out and see what happens, “says Cindy Larsen, President of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. “With all the progress we have made in recent years, we have so much to brag about.”


Muskegon’s direct competition for this round is Annapolis, Maryland, another waterfront community.  Starting today, March 20, Michiganders are being asked to vote for Muskegon at


Since Muskegon is the only city in Michigan competing for this award, the community is asking for support from all Michigan residents!  “Like many Michigan communities, we have worked hard to reinvent our city,” says Larsen. “Muskegon is the poster child for all of the Michigan cities who have rebuilt their downtowns, expanded business, and attracted new tourists. We rallied the people who care about their hometown and now have something exciting to show for it.”


About the Chamber

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce is the premier business membership organization on the lakeshore representing over 1,200 businesses and organizations. The Muskegon Chamber represents businesses of every size and type all over West Michigan. The Chamber is celebrating 125 years in operation working to sustain an environment for business success through community leadership, promotion, inclusive business advocacy and valued member services. The Muskegon Chamber is a four-time award winning Chamber, being named Chamber of the Year for the State of Michigan in 2006, 2010, 2012, and 2015 by the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals.


March 2018 E-Vents

Click here for the March/April 2018 E-Vents. 


March 2018 E-news

Click here to view March 2018 E-news.  


Other ways to get involved

Volunteer for the Lakeshore Art Festival

A unique blend of arts, crafts, music, food and fun along the shoreline in historic Downtown Muskegon. More than 300 artists and crafters will be showcased with fine art in the park, crafts, children’s activities and Michigan food market – all wrapped up in a huge downtown street party atmosphere! Join us on July 5, and July 6, 2019.

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Join Watch Muskegon

Muskegon has more to offer than ever before. Join the conversation, movement and Watch Us Go!

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