The Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational and Eat Great Food Festival head to the web with virtual events

In lieu of welcoming what would be the second annual Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational (Dow GLBI) and Eat Great Food Festival, the festivities are moving online with Q&As, commentary, interviews, replays, virtual cooking demonstrations and more.

“We were able to accomplish so much in our first year of the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational,” says Chris Chandler, Executive Director of the Dow GLBI. “We became the first LPGA event to achieve GEO certification for our sustainability efforts, helped generate $12.7 million in economic impact for the region, and hosted 35,000 spectators on-site - we felt it was important to celebrate the support and involvement of the community in a fun way despite having to cancel the 2020 Dow GLBI.”

The impact is one that extends far beyond golf, involving hundreds of community partners. A shift in focus for 2020 is making way for plans to continue the tournament, with this year’s events shifting to 2021, including the Eat Great Food Festival.

“We’re excited to bring Eat Great directly into your home through the digital mini-series and cookbook launch. The Eat Great brand is all about supporting community and highlighting the amazing culinary talent we have in the Great Lakes Bay Region. We saw this as fun and unique way to showcase our Eat Great partners and help further tell their stories,” says Mark Baczewski, Event Director for Eat Great.

The festival was in the process of solidifying restaurants and other establishments as event partners this past winter, when all the changes with COVID-19 came about.

“This year’s festival was originally going to be based in Bay City, so with that in mind, we have a slight focus on establishments in Bay County, but this is absolutely still an event that highlights what the region has to offer,” he says.

Some of those differences includes a series of videos to be filmed by BeAlive, a local digital video entertainment and media company. Several restaurants will be featured in an upcoming mini-series by host and TV personality, outdoor enthusiast, and foodie Chris Keefer. And while the Eat Great Food Festival normally works with nearly 60 local establishments, the team is putting together a digital cookbook with many recipes from restaurants, breweries and bars we would normally see highlighted at the event.

“We still intend to celebrate all the talent and exceptional dining this year, just in a different way, and we are really taking this opportunity to highlight our local partners and continuing to build these relationships with the community, especially seeing what restaurants have been going through this year,” he says. “And next year, we look forward to bringing the festival to Bay City, as originally planned. There is such exceptional talent here and this event is something we are passionate about continuing to grow for years to come.”

Baczewski is hoping to have at least 25 of the restaurants participate in the cookbook, as well as have the guide be potentially something they add on to throughout the year through possible future Eat Great Festival popup events like the ones hosted previously at the Saginaw Spirit and Dow Gardens.

The intent for this year is to have the event as interactive as possible, with viewers getting the chance to submit questions for use in Q&A content with golfers, chefs and more. The Dow GLBI team will be holding a few drawings for prizes for participants and those who follow content, the details of which will be announced in the coming days.

Look for upcoming content on social media from the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational and the Eat Great Food Festival. Foodies and golf fans are encouraged to follow @DowGLBI on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as events play out this July. The full schedule of virtual events for the DGLBI can be found here:

Read more articles by Courtney Soule.

Courtney is a longtime Midland resident and enjoys telling the story of the community's evolution. She ran Catalyst Midland as the publication's managing editor from October 2017 through September 2020. Her favorite topics are interesting people, change makers, outdoor recreation and design. Aside from Catalyst, her published work can be found various places including Elephant Journal, Thought Catalog and a number of other websites, papers, menus and the occasional one-liner. 
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