About Funfest Inc.

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A Brief History

Funfest Productions, Inc. was formed in 2006 by music industry veterans Kevin Cassidy and Joe Nieporte. At the time, Mr. Nieporte owned and operated the Emerald Theatre in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, and produced the National Stage at the highly successful Arts, Beats, & Eats street festival in Pontiac, Michigan. The successes of those two ventures gave him the idea to bring big name entertainment to the streets of Mt. Clemens. An event this big was too much for Nieporte to handle alone, so he reached out to Mr. Cassidy, who at the time was the General Manager of the Freedom Hill Amphitheatre in Sterling Heights, Michigan. After a few meetings, the two agreed to join forces, and as they say… “The rest is history”.

Funfest Productions, Inc. has went on to produce great summertime festivals and year-round special events that include world-class national live music, carnival rides, specialty attractions, laser light shows, fireworks, and more.  Funfest Productions, Inc. currently owns and operates some of the biggest events in Michigan that include the Stars & Stripes Festival at Freedom Hill County Park in Sterling Heights, the Uncle Sam Jam in Woodhaven, and the St. Clair Riverfest in St. Clair.

Funfest Productions, Inc. is also proud to be associated with the Grand Prix and the Rockin’ on the Riverfront concert series in downtown Detroit.

About the Owners

Mr. Nieporte started his career in his early 20′s as the booking agent for the original Ritz nightclub in the 1980′s. He sharpened his skills booking hundreds of national and local shows a year with great success. Joe moved on to the State Theatre, now called the Fillmore, in the 1990′s and became one of the most respected concert promoters and venue operators in the business.

The 21st century began when he created and developed the Emerald Theatre complex into a multi-purpose venue in 2000 that has hosted national concerts, nightclub style dance nights, and corporate parties and seminars. Highlighted events include corporate parties with Sports Illustrated, Chevrolet, Outback Restaurants, and Quicken Loans. The Emerald has also hosted numerous political events and fundraisers with various government officials, which include Governor Jennifer Granholm and Senator Debbie Stabenow. National concerts booked at the Emerald include Kid Rock, Eddie Money, Jewel, Cheap Trick, Alice in Chains, Hootie & the Blowfish, and Styx, just to name a few. In addition to owning and operating the Emerald, Mr. Nieporte also has been involved in numerous venues and special events that have included Freedom Hill Amphitheater,  Arts, Beats, and Eats, Detroit Downtown Hoedown, Motown Winter Blast, Jambalaya Street Festival, Detroit International Riverdays, the NCAA Final Four Big Dance and the Detroit Grand Prix.

Mr. Cassidy’s experience includes stints at Olympia Entertainment, and most recently established Freedom Hill Amphitheater as a respected venue on the national stage booking and marketing over 150 major acts since 2000 (highlighted names include Tony Bennett, Alabama, B-52’s, Aretha Franklin, Wynonna, Sugar Ray, Tommy Lee, Hank Williams, Jr., Art Garfunkel, Joe Cocker, David Lee Roth, Earth, Wind & Fire, Crosby, Stills, & Nash, Tom Jones, Michael Buble, BB King, Steve Miller Band, Counting Crows, O.A.R., Donna Summer, Michael McDonald, Huey Lewis & The News to name a few).

Funfest Owned Events

  • The Stars & Stripes Festival is entering its 7th year. It has consistently drawn over 500,000 people annually. In 2013 The Stars & Stripes Festival is moving to Freedom Hill County Park in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
  • The Uncle Sam Jam, the sister event to the Stars & Stripes Festival, takes place in Woodhaven, Michigan and is in its 4th year.  This event is growing rapidly in attendance, with estimated crowds reaching 100,000 this year.
  • The St. Clair Riverfest is currently in its 8th year.  Taking place on the banks of the St. Clair River, this event has grown from 20,000 people to over 100,000 people in a short period of time.  St. Clair Riverfest combines live concerts with the thrill of off-shore boat racing.
  • We are very proud to say that all three of these events were created and developed by Funfest Productions, Inc. and that they have become great summertime community events that are looked forward to by the masses each year.

Clients (Past & Present)

  • Freedom Hill Amphitheatre (Current)
  • Harley Fest  (Current)
  • Rockin’ on the Riverfront Concert Series  (Current)
  • Andiamo Celebrity Showroom  (Current)
  • Arts, Beats, & Eats Festival  (Current)
  • Detroit River Days Festival  (Current)
  • Detroit Grand Prix  (Current)
  • Selfridge Air National Guard Air Show (Current)
  • Quake on the Lake  (2010)
  • Boats, Balloons, & BBQ Festival  (2010)
  • Sterling Heights Summer Blast  (2010)
  • NCAA Final Four Big Dance  (2009)
  • Detroit Country Music Hoedown (2003-2009)
  • Motown Winter Blast (2005-2006)

UConn QB Lorenzen on tight budget during NFL labor strife

NEW ORLEANS With the NFL lockout putting the squeeze on both his wallet and pursuit of a pro football career, former UConn quarterback has created some of the latest culinary innovations in the , just so he can eat at home and save a little coin.

Lorenzen insists that his twist on chicken fajitas, with cottage cheese replacing more fattening sour cream, is delicious, even if it may never quite garner the reputation of, say, the Oysters Rockefeller invented by famed French Quarter restaurant Antoine’s.

“It’s better for you and it just tastes good,” said the clean cut, 6 foot 5, 245 pound Lorenzen, who is under contract with the Saints. “It doesn’t sound good. Everyone knocks it until they try it.”

Perhaps most importantly, the homemade dish fits into his shoestring budget. That kind of thing matters to players on the margins of NFL rosters the ones who seem to be forgotten by those who describe the league’s labor strife as a standoff between millionaires and billionaires.

There are a lot of players like Lorenzen who are nowhere near being millionaires. They get invited to wholesale nfl jerseys training camps and sign “futures” contracts for the league minimum, which are honored only if they make the regular season active roster. Otherwise, they snap up whatever offer they get for a practice squad gig paying about $5,000 a week for however long a team keeps them around.

“It’s tough for those guys,” said Saints quarterback , who has helped pay for some recent practice squad players to stay in New Orleans area hotels so they could take part in workouts he organized at Tulane. “I know there’s been a few veteran, established guys who’ve made the comment, Hey, we don’t mind the lockout. We get all this free time.’ Well, that’s because you’re an established player who’s gotten some big contracts.

“But guys like Tyler Lorenzen are fighting their butt off just to make the team and haven’t really made any money up to this point, so it’s not like they’ve got a big nest egg.”

Lorenzen has been an off and on practice squad player since 2009 whose chances of making it in the NFL ride on his cheap jerseys ability to convert from college quarterback to pro tight end. The 25 year old’s NFL earnings last season, when he spent about a half dozen weeks on the Saints’ practice squad, added up to about $30,000.

“There are more (NFL players) that are in my position that really aren’t millionaires,” Lorenzen said. “They don’t have tons of money and have to be smart and budget just like everyone else and know that this is a job and a way to make money, but not a guarantee, just an opportunity.”

Instead of taking Brees up on a subsidized hotel room, Lorenzen decided to stay in a bedroom in back up quarterback ‘s downtown condominium. Initially, Daniel invited him to live there free, but Lorenzen eventually insisted on contributing about $500 a month.

And while Lorenzen lives in a city renowned for fine dining, where chefs like , John Besh and enjoy celebrity status, and where a popular drive time radio talk show is largely about where people ate last night and what they had, Lorenzen does his own grocery shopping and cooking.

“We’ve turned into quite the cooks this offseason,” Lorenzen said of himself and Daniel. “We use the (grill) on a regular basis.”

These days, Lorenzen’s idea of dining out is “Taco Tuesdays” at a popular bar in New Orleans’ warehouse district, or the 75 cent hamburger slider special at a restaurant Besh opened in the National World War II Museum. Even then, he avoids soft drinks and alcohol, usually settling for ice water. Occasionally, he’ll let teammates talk him into joining them for a more fancy meal, as long as they pledge not to settle the bill by “credit card roulette.” When he does dine out, he usually eats a little something before leaving home.

“People think I’m crazy and they’re like, We’re going to dinner, why are you eating?’” Lorenzen said. “And I say, If I eat now, I won’t be as hungry, so I can just get an entree and I’ll be good.’”

As for shopping, Lorenzen won’t be looking for tailored suits or fancy Swiss watches on Canal Street any time soon.

“I just don’t buy stuff that often,” he said. “I don’t own any jewelry. I buy most of my clothes at outlet stores because they have double extra large and it’s cheap.” Lorenzen stressed that he doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him, and adds that he’s more fortunate than many players who are also in the stage of their careers in which they’re still trying to prove they belong.

He has a lot of support in his hometown town of Fremont, Iowa, near where his family’s small soybean genetics business is headquartered. When he was cut by the Saints after 2010 training camp and spent nearly three months out of football, his family found him a job in Minneapolis, cheap jerseys free shipping where he could stay with his sister and work at one of the company’s two plants. He did whatever the plant manager needed, from scheduling, to bagging soybeans for shipment to Japan, to meeting with clients.

After work, he would go straight to the gym to resume his training, which is one thing on which Lorenzen gladly spends money. He considers it an investment in his future, so he doesn’t hesitate for pay for a membership at a local yoga studio, for example, that he visits regularly with Daniel and a few other teammates. He also has saved most of his NFL earnings from the past two seasons, which included around $100,000 in 2009, when he spent the entire season on New Orleans’ practice squad, benefiting from a few extra weeks in the postseason as the club won its first Super Bowl.

And when he decided last fall to leave the family business and focus solely on the NFL again, his father understood.

“My dad’s always preached to me that your window of opportunity in sports is so small, and it will come and go, and as long as you know that you took it for everything it’s worth and just had as much wholesale nhl jerseys china fun as you can and smelled the grass, then it was worth every bit,” said Lorenzen, who doesn’t want to burden his parents by asking for money.

“Right now, this is not ideal for me at all. I finally feel that I can play tight end. I’m big enough, and the best thing for me would be getting work with the coaches, day in and day out, and getting better and better.

“But that isn’t the situation, so you’ve just got to deal with it,” Lorenzen continued, reflecting on his decision join his teammates at Tulane. “I’m going to learn from the guys that are around, soak as much up as I can and when the opportunity arises that we play again, I’m going to be ready.”Articles Connexes:

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