Opening Ceremony

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August 4, 2017
show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Van Andel Arena
130Fulton W, Grand Rapids, MI

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Parade of Athletes
All 50 states, Washington D.C. and Canada will be recognized as the chosen flag bearers lead their group into Van Andel Arena. Parade lineup starts at 6:30 pm next to the arena on Ottawa Ave.

Tribute to the Michigan State Police
The Michigan State Police will be honored for their 100th anniversary as they lead the Parade of Athletes into Opening Ceremony with their motorcarde of police motocycles. The Michigan State Police will return to present the American flag during the National Anthem as well as administer the Oath of Athletes.

National Anthem
The Pearson family of Grand Rapids will perform the National Anthem for Canada and the United States. The Pearson family features Scotty and Layfoya Pearson and their six children ranging in age from 6to 17 years old. Marie DeRegnaucourt will sign the Canadian and United States National Anthem. The National Anthem is sponsored by Heglund Sova Realty.

The Skyriders!
Guinness World Record holder and three-time national trampoline champion Ken Kovach andhis team of acrobats will perform high-flying and daring stunts. With more than 20 years of experience entertaining worldwide audiences, the team has performed at halftime shows for every NBA team plus at the 2015 NBA Finals.

Oath of Athletes
University of Detroit Jusuit high school graduate Sean English of Northville will lead the Oath on behalf of all the athletes. A runner on U-D Jesuit's track team, English was struck by a car in April while helping an overturned SUV and had his right leg amputated below the knee. Michigan State Trooper Patrick Arena, who made the tourniquet at the crash site andsaved English's life, will administer the oath.

Lighting of the Cauldron
The 2017 State Games of America officially kicks off as the 2017 cauldron is unveiled and lit. The flame will be passed, as a second torch is lit and carried by Treney Tweedy, the Vice Mayor of Lynchburg, VA. Lynchburg will host the 2019 State Games of America.

Laser LightShow and Pyrotechnics
Laser lights and pyrotechnics will provide the grand finale of Opening Ceremony. Laser light show provided byLightwave International, whohas providedlaser light productions forNike, the NFL, the American Music Awards,the PittsburghPenguins, Coachellaand many others. Click here to learn more about Lightwave International.Warning: Strobes and smoke will be used during the Laser Light Show.

Appearances by:

Mascot Showcase and T-shirt Toss: Griff (Calder Cup Champion Grand Rapids Griffins), Buckets (Grand Rapids Drive), Slappy (Kalamazoo Wings), Porter (Kalamazoo Growlers), Jack (Muskegon Lumberjacks), Louie the Laker(Grand Valley State University), Spark (Liberty University), Felix (the West Michigan Sports Commission), and W (Wayne State University).

Greg Meyer:Grand Rapids resident, Greg Meyer, won the Boston Marathon in 1983 and was the last American to do so until 2014. Meyer will serve as the Grand Marshal and lead the athlete parade into Van Andel Arena.

Michigan Olympians:Cheryl Angelelli of Clinton Township (Paralympic swimmer; Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Bejing 2008), Andrew Bremer of Grand Rapids (Paralympic soccer player; Rio 2016),Michael Paye of Warren (ParalympicWheelchair Basketball; Athens, Neijing, London and Rio), Pam Kruse of Grand Rapids (Olympic Swimmer; Mexico City 1968), John Kusko of Commerce Township (Paralympic goalbll player; Rio 2016), Fred Lowe of Dewitt (Olympic weightlifter; Mexico City 1968, Munich 1972, Montreal 1976), Lou Scott of Detroit (Olympic distance runner; Mexico City 1968),Brian Sheridan of Clarkston (Paralympic cyclist; Rio 2016),Mackenzie Woodring of Lowell (Olympic cyclist; Beijing 2008, Rio 2016) andPaul McMullenof Grand Haven (Olympic distance runner; Atlanta 1996).

Friday Timeline:

2:00 - 6:00 pm - Opening Ceremony tickets will be available at the DeVos Place. More information on the Packet Pickup page.

2:00 - 7:00 pm - Athlete Village at Rosa Parks Circle and Energy Alley in DeVos Place. Enjoy music, entertainment, foods trucks and more at Rosa Parks Circle. Visit theAthlete Village Pagefor more information.

6:30 pm - Parade of Athletes staging will begin and doors will open for spectators. Athletes will line up by state outside of Van Andel Arena on Ottawa Ave SW. All athletes that walk in the parade must have an Opening Ceremony ticket. Parents, coaches, and guardians with Opening Ceremony tickets are encouraged to walk with younger athletes in the Parade. Spectators please proceed to the main doors of Van Andel Arena.

7:30 pm - Opening Ceremony will begin! All spectators should be seated and athletes will begin parading into the arena.

Click here to view a map.


All attendees (athletes and spectators) of the 2017 State Games of America will need a ticket to attend.We anticipatethe Opening Ceremony to be a sold out event. Athletesmustpurchase Opening Ceremony ticketsin advanceto ensureadmission to the Opening Ceremony and entry into the parade of athletes. Visit the Admissions page to purchase your tickets.

Tickets can be picked up at Packet Pick Upat the DeVos Place until Friday, August4 at 6:00 PM. Tickets will be available at Van Andel Arena beginning at 6:30 PM for the duration of the show.Click here for more information on Admissions.


The Opening Ceremony will be livestreamed on the State Games of America website. Participants, relatives, friends, etc. that are unable to attend Opening Ceremony will be able to watch the event online. Click here to view the livestream.

Additional Information

Book your stay at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, the JW Marriott or the Courtyard by Marriott and be minutes away from Opening Ceremony and Athlete Check In. Take advantage of the athlete discounted rate by booking through the State Games of America. Click here to book your hotel.

Parking: Downtown Grand Rapids has many parking lots within walking distances of the Van Andel Arena. Van Andel Arena is also only a short walk from Packet Pickup, at the DeVos Place. Athletes and spectators can easily walk from DeVos Place to Van Andel Arena both outdoor or indoor using Grand Rapids' skywalks. Please note traffic in downtown will get busy around 5:00 pm and parking lots closer to the arena will fill Grand RapidsFor a map of parking and current rates, click here.

Take lots of photos!Share lots of photos! All athletes and spectators are encouraged to get social and post your Opening Ceremony experience through photos using hashtag#SGA2017. Please share your photos on theState Games of America Facebook,@StateGameson Twitter, and @StateGamesofAmericaon Instagram.

Frequently Asked Questions:Click here to view FAQs on Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony Supporting Sponsors