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Exotic pets, antique toys, live music: What to do in Kalamazoo this weekend (May 19-21)

KALAMAZOO, MI — Despite some showers in the forecast Friday, another sunny weekend appears to be in store for Kalamazoo.

So, if you’re still looking for something to do, here’s a sampling of things going on in and around Kalamazoo between Friday, May 19 and Sunday, May 21.

1. Start off the weekend with live music

Multiple shows are happening in the area, including Foreigner’s farewell tour at Wings Event Center.

Known for hits such as “Hot Blooded,” “Feels Like the First Time,” “Double Vision,” “Urgent,” and “Cold as Ice,” the band also has a fun surprise up its collective sleeves: It’s bringing the Portage Northern High School choir on stage to join in the song “I Want to Know What Love is.”

Related: ‘Out of this world’ opportunity: Michigan high school choir to share stage with Foreigner

Tickets are still available for Friday’s show and range in cost from $42 to $142. Tickets can be found online at Doors for the show are at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. with support from Cage Willis.

Other musical highlights Friday night include: Grand Rapids jam band Desmond Jones and local hip hop cellist Jordan Hamilton at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe; country up-and-comer Larry Fleet performing at the State Theatre; Kyle Jennings at Presidential Brewing; and the Out of Favor Boys playing the Old Dog Tavern.

Desmond Jones returns to Bell’s Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Friday, May 19, 2023. Having played over 800 shows over the past decade, the award-winning five-piece rock group has shared the stage with bands like Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Papadosio, Here Come the Mummies, Andy Frasco, Dopapod, Joe Russo and more. With over 100 original songs under their belt, every set is a unique and fresh surprise for longtime fans and new listeners. They will have you dancing, laughing and admittedly you may even cringe. The band will accompanied by hip hop cellist Jordan Hamilton. (Photo provided by Purchase Productions)

2. Check out some exotic pets

Did someone say 20,000 square feet of reptiles and small exotic animals? In Kalamazoo?

The Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo is the place to be if this sounds like something for you. There will be a wide variety of animals to see and opportunities to take some of them home. There’s also all the supplies an exotic pet lover could ask for.

The event is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake Street. Tickets cost $2 for kids and $5 for adults, with a max admission price of $20 per family.

3. See the state’s largest antique toy show

The 77th Kalamazoo Antique Toy Show is not only the largest antique toy and collectible show in the state, but attracts visitors from Chicago, South Bend and beyond with more than 200 vendors from across the country.

You’ll find everything from pedal cars to toy tractors, Disney, Tonka, Japanese-pressed tin robots, Hot Wheels, action figures and dolls, movie memorabilia and much more.

The show goes from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 20, and is also at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake Street. Tickets cost $10 for anybody 13 and older. Children 12 and under are free. Early bird admission, at $40 per person, is also available for those who wish to get a sneak peak and first dibs on items from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 19.

4. Watch a musical

The Bach Playhouse at Kalamazoo College, 129 Thompson Street, will feature performances of Brian Yorkey’s “Next to Normal” all weekend.

A story of a typical American family whose lives are anything but normal due to the mother’s battle with manic depression, the musical promises to take audiences into the minds and hearts of each character. Suicide, drug addiction and child loss will all be discussed.

Performances will take place Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. For more information and tickets, click here. Ticket prices range from $5 to $25. K-College students, staff and theater alumni get in for free.

5. Ride bikes with the mayors

Capping off Kalamazoo (Area) Bike Week, the annual Mayors Ride brings community members and bike lovers together for a 3-mile bike ride from Portage to Kalamazoo on Saturday morning, May 20.

The public is welcome to join on the free ride. No registration is required, but participants will be asked to sign a release form and be required to wear a helmet.

The annual Mayors Ride will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Portage Creek Bicentennial Park, 910 E. Milham Ave. The ride will wind for 3 miles along the Bicentennial Park Trail until riders reach Milham Park, at 607 E. Kilgore Road.

6. Send up lanterns over the lake

Light up Long Lake at Portage’s Ramona Park with a lantern that honors loved ones by decorating a lamp with words of remembrance, hope and encouragement. It’s a time to feel the power of community by taking time to remember those we’ve loved and lost.

Organized by the city of Portage, attendees are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner to enjoy while they decorate their lantern. The event begins at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, and Chris Behre will perform live music until launch time at 9:30 p.m.

Participation is limited and only a couple dozen spots remain. The price is $10 per lantern kit. To register, click here. To avoid impacting the environment, Portage Parks & Recreation will retrieve all the floating lanterns from the water after the event concludes.

7. Visit the Vintage Music Market at Bell’s Eccentric Café

Like beer and vinyl records? Satellite Records and Bell’s Brewery will co-host a Vintage Music Market from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 21.

The free all-ages event features a room packed with vintage music, vinyl, tapes, CDs, stereo equipment, band T-shirts and more. There will also be a live DJ and Bell’s beer on tap (for those 21 and over).

8. Cruise down to the car show

Close out the weekend with classics, hot rods, bikes, exotics and more. The annual Oshtemo show starts at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 21, at 8126 W. Main Street.

Proceeds from the show all go to benefit DC Strong, a nonprofit organization that brings personalized gifts and experiences to children battling cancer.

Also on MLive:

Why a downtown Kalamazoo park has nearly 1,000 giant portraits of kids

Long Island Café opens with mimosa towers, breakfast happy hours

How Maia Kobabe’s life story became the most banned book in America

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