BELDING — When visitors attend this year’s 17th annual Belding Community Showcase, it is guaranteed to take on the feel of a brand new event thanks to a completely remodeled high school facility.
This time last year, parking was limited and hallways were crowded, but with construction having finally having wrapped up at Belding High School, visitors to this year’s showcase will be in for an experience not seen in any previous year.
Belding Area Showcase event organizer Tiffany Jackson said the inclusion of a new gymnasium, walking track and performing arts center at the school will transform the showcase into a much less crowded affair with more events and vendors for visitors to take in.
“For somebody coming for the first time, it’s a great way to see everything that Belding and the community offers,” she said. “We have lots of things to celebrate and lots of things to share with everybody.”
The showcase, which is free to attend, is scheduled from 5 to 7:30 p.m. April 18, with more than 2,000 visitors expected to attend the event.
More than 50 vendors, ranging from community organizations to area businesses, have already registered, with the purpose to expand community exposure.
Jackson said the new facilities will allow people to browse through the various vendors in a more relaxed environment.
“We are really looking forward to having a more spread-out area,” she said. “We were a little crunched for space last year, but that is no longer an issue thanks to our beautiful new facilities. It’s almost like there’s a new feel to the showcase.”
The new commons area, which was recently finished over spring break, will provide space for community organization vendors.
The new Redskin Arena gymnasium will contain all of the registered business vendors while the second story walking track will feature artwork created by students throughout the school district.
A Zumba exercise class will take place in the old auxiliary gymnasium while various student performances, including the high school jazz band, percussion line, middle school guitar players and several choirs, will be in the new Belding Performing Arts Center.
Student performances were cancelled last year due to construction at the high school, and haven’t been featured in several years.
“This year we will bring back our student performances at the high school,” Jackson said. “And the students will also be featured with their artwork around the walking track. What a difference our art programs have made. The kids are so proud that the community is interested.”