Growing up, it was tradition for my friends and family who weren't vacationing at Bubbie's house in Florida or jetting off to a resort in Mexico to go to Chinese food and a movie on Christmas Day due to everything else in town being closed for the holiday. We would go to the popular locations in metro Detroit, wait in an hour-long line to be seated at the Chinese restaurant, and then another hour long line to purchase movie tickets (if they weren't sold out by the time we got to the front of the line) amidst knowing every single person in the process of all of the waiting, eating, more waiting and more eating of popcorn and candy at the movies. Yes, this is a fun tradition some still partake in across metro Detroit, but young adults living in the area and home for the holiday break were itching for something a bit more social to be a part of, and a reason to put on something sparkly.
For me too, the holidays are now about seeing your friends and family who you don't normally get to see during the busy shuffle of work and grad school. Almost everyone has Christmas Day off, and some who have moved away even come back home still for the break, so why not find a way to get together and celebrate with other members of the tribe? Plus, did I forget to mention that most local stores have major shoe sales (I'm talking fierce pumps for all you five-foot-nothing Jewish girls out there). So anyways, last year in my first month of working with CommunityNEXT, we collaborated with some friends and friends of friends (ah, networking) who just happened to own a bar in Royal Oak to see what type of Christmakkah shebang we could throw together.
Luckily (with a gimel spin of the dreidel), due to a recent change in the law in the state of Michigan, this will be the second year in decades that it will be legal for bars to be open and serving alcohol (with a special license) on Christmas Day evening. CommunityNEXT and ComePlayDetroit are at it again for the second annual Festivus to remember. Fifth Avenue in Royal Oak is opening SPECIAL for this event on December 25, 2011 at 9 p.m. Josh Smith, local singer/songwriter, rapper, and multi-instrumentalist will be performing LIVE!
Owner of Fifth Avenue, Aaron F. Belen states, "I'm really looking forward to this event, it's a great time to get everyone together under the same roof and enjoy the holiday time together at 5th Avenue." Justin Jacobs, Founder/Principal of ComePlayDetroit added, "Aaron Belen and I spoke last year once the Michigan state law changed, and we thought, what better opportunity to bring young adults together than a party on Christmas! We originally expected 200 or so to attend, but were pleasantly surprised to see over 600 attendees! I saw this year as a chance to do it even bigger and better, so I contacted CommunityNEXT to help take Festivus to the next level! They were able to bring in up and coming music star Josh Smitty Smith as our featured entertainer, and we are confident the community will really enjoy the chance to get out of the old routine of Chinese and a movie, and have fun at one of Metro Detroit's premier venues." Rachel Lachover, Associate Director of CommunityNEXT commented, "At a time of year when, for our Jewish friends, everything shuts down, we have opened up the doors of a local business and created an opportunity for the young adults in the community to come out, meet each other and have a good time. Last year, we came up with this idea just two weeks before the holiday and over 500 people came out."
This year, with even more buzz, and more people home in Detroit, we know we will have a larger turnout. Detroiters and Detroit expats from near and far are expected to come in a crowd of 500+ to reunite, celebrate the holidays (it will still be Hanukkah), listen to local live music, and appreciate the fact that young Jewish Detroit is continuously thriving from one event, endeavor, and entrepreneur to the next.
Free admission, $1 off drinks and 25% off food from 9-10PM! $10 cover after 10PM.
CommunityNEXT (CNXT) is an arm of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit focused on attracting and retaining young talent in the region as part of the overall effort to engage people to Detroit. For more information on the event, and what young fresh faces you can plan on seeing there, visit the Facebook event page, and then tweet about it.
ComePlayDetroit (CPD) was founded to create unique and active social experiences in Metro Detroit. In addition to organizing and operating intramural sports leagues, CPD hosts multicultural social events and partners with community development organizations that are dedicated to the attraction and retention of young adults in southeastern Michigan.