The Year I fell in Love With Lansing.

Washington Square, Downtown Lansing

As we embark upon our second full week of the new year, I cannot help but look back at 2010 and all of the changes it brought upon me. While each person has their own reasons for a look back into the past filled with nostalgia, laughs and perhaps a bit of regret, I want to share with you all some of my highlights of 2010 in Lansing; because for me, last year brought upon a lot of positive change and amazing people in my life and will forever be remembered as the year yours truely fell in love with Lansing.

So here it is: Shannon’s Top Ten Lansing Highlights of 2010!

1. The Lansing Breakfast Club. While I will admit that my attendance at LBC has dwindled recently, to say the least, my year started out with a weekly dose of some of Lansing’s finest as we toured the fine breakfast establishments of the Greater Lansing area. Each Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. we would meet at a different diner for some networking, great food and even better conversation. Now, believe me, I am not an early bird, so to get up and out the door in order to make it to breakfast by 7 a.m., I had to have quite the motivator, and this amazing group of people was just that. I really hope to get back into this routine, at least once a month. If you are interested in checking it out, check the facebook page for their weekly location, and/or follow the twitter hashtag #lansingbreakfast!

2. Lansing Happy Hour Club. Again, I will admit that I am not a regular at these events, however the once a month I am able to attend gives me a reason to actually look forward to Mondays! This group of Lansingites patron local establishments on Monday afternoons to hit up the Happy Hour specials and mingle amongst one another. As someone who returned to the Lansing scene as a young professional, these networking events introduced me to my current group of friends and left me with a real sense of community. I encourage you all to check it out one week, just check the facebook page or follow the twitter hashtag #lhhc for each week’s location!

A shot of the band at Lansing Live this summer

3. Lansing Live. There is nothing better than enjoying a wonderful summer evening with friends, adult beverages and live music, and this Thursday evening downtown Lansing event brought just that. For 3 months (June through August) during the summer, Washington Square, located in downtown Lansing, was turned into an outdoor concert of sorts and the roads were blocked off, an outdoor stage and bar were set up, and people danced in the streets to the sounds of some of Lansing’s most talented musical artists. Not only was this a great way to enjoy the warm weather and beautiful sunsets throughout a #PureMichigan summer, but was a fun and unique way to pass the evening with friends and the Lansing community at large.

Me and my sister enjoying Taste of Downtown

4. Taste of Downtown. July brought the inaugural event to our city and I could not have had a better time! Not only were there some amazing musical performances on the outdoor stage, but various local establishments were able to set up booths to provide samples of some of their finest food and drink to the community! For the price of a ticket, I was able to spend the afternoon and evening mingling with friends while sampling (lots!) of great wines, and amazing foods; some highlights being the chocolates from Great Lakes Chocolate and Coffee and authentic Jamaican cuisine from Palace of Jamaica!

5. My move to downtown! July also brought a big life change for me- my move from the suburbs of Haslett to an apartment in downtown Lansing. After spending the first six months of the year making the 25 minute drive almost daily to partake in the aforementioned activities, plus many other events the amazing city has to offer, I decided I not only wanted to continue on with the daily happenings but become a resident of the city I was falling in love with. With some help from my friends (shout out to LC bloggers Khalid and Ian!), I packed up a U-Haul and made my way downtown. I cannot be happier with my decision and love the fact that I can now walk/bike to many of my favorite restaurants, coffee shops, friends’ houses and downtown events!

6. Art Ally. As I settled into my new stomping grounds downtown, I discovered the gem of a district that I have referred to in a previous post,  ReoTown. This area is primed and ready for action as one of Lansing’s oldest communities gets revamped. There are many new establishments popping up in this area and one of my favorites to date is Art Ally. I love this gallery for many reasons, but above all I am excited that there is a venue available for local artists of all kinds to show off their work, with the added benefit of revitalizing this community. I was able to attend the grand opening of this art gallery over the summer and am stoked to see the great things that will be happening there in the future.

7. Oktoberfest. I look forward to October each year for various reasons; the beautiful fall colors, apple orchards, cool, crisp air, my birthday and, you’ve probably guessed it, Oktoberfest. This annual festival takes place in Old Town and stands as Mid-Michigan’s only German-style event. As someone who is just starting to really appreciate a good beer, this event could not be a more perfect venue to try out some new kinds! However, if one is not a beer drinker, there are many other amazing things about this festival, from the music to the food! This year Mother Nature brought some rain on Oktoberfest weekend, and I was lucky enough to enjoy the great music from a friend’s balcony in Old Town, so even though I was not actually there, the fall festival still makes my Lansing Top Ten list!

8. Trivia Nights at MBC. I was very excited to hear the news that the Michigan Brewing Company was coming to Downtown Lansing- I for one cannot get enough of the blackbean burger on a pretzel bun, or MBC’s Amber Wheat Ale! So, when my friends asked me if I wanted to attend the Trivia Nights at MBC on Tuesday evenings throughout the summer, I could not see a reason why not! Each week groups would gather at MBC to compete against one another for the title of Trivia Champ at the end of the run, as well as weekly winner rewards such as a free round of beverages, or a gift certificate to the establishment. With categories such as Sports, Arts and Entertainment, Science and the like, we huddled together and tried to outsmart the other patrons. While my team did not take the cake, so to speak, at the end of the summer, we had an amazing time each week!

9. Trick-or-Treat on the Square. I had heard about this event before, but this was my first year to actually participate in the

Passing out candy at Trick-or-Treat on the Square

 Halloween festivities. I signed up to volunteer at the event and was assigned the job to pass out candy to the adorable kids in costume throughout the evening. I was presented with a giant cauldron of assorted candy at a designated post along Washington Square and remember thinking “there is no way I will go through all of this candy!”… was I ever wrong. With an estimated 20,000 people in attendance, I ran out of candy within an hour and a half! It was amazing to see the streets filled with so many Lansing children and their families as they got plenty of candy, participated in the donut hole eating contest, enjoyed the magic show and went on hayrides around the downtown area! I will definitely be back and in costume next year!

10. Silverbells in the City. The holiday season brought an end to 2o10, but it did not go out without a bang! Silverbells brought out 100,000 people to downtown Lansing this year and it was an unreal experience to share with so many in the community! I was able to get tickets to the Troppo Silverbells event this year and enjoyed the parade, tree lighting and outdoor concert from a heated tent outside of Troppo, on Washington Square. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to round out the year in the city I have grown to love and look forward to many more amazing memories in 2011!