GRAND RAPIDS (AP) - Modeled after the Olympics, the Meijer State Games of Michigan is planning to hold its inaugural 2014 Winter Games in the Grand Rapids area.
The Feb. 14-16 event in western Michigan is expected to attract more than 2,000 athletes, organizers said. Plans announced this week say the competition will include basketball, bowling, ice hockey, ice skating, indoor rowing, wrestling, skiing and snowboarding.
“This signature event … evokes such a strong sense of community and state pride in its participants, as well as the thousands of spectators who attend,” Doug Meijer, co-Chairman of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer Meijer Inc., said in a statement.
The opening ceremony takes place at Cannonsburg Ski Area, northeast of Grand Rapids, and is expected to include a parade of athletes, a torch light parade featuring the ski patrol, fireworks and an exhibition with professional skiers and snowboarders.
According to organizers, Meijer State Games aims to draw athletes regardless of age or ability. In 2013, the Summer Games offered 34 sports and attracted more than 6,500 athletes. The events are put on by the nonprofit West Michigan Sports Commission.
“The Winter Games will provide year round incentive for Michigan residents of all ages and abilities to stay active,” said Eric Engelbarts, executive director of the Meijer State Games of Michigan.
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