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Week-long online "celebration" benefits Michigan hospitalityw orkers

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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Michigan's tourism industry, hard-hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic shutdown, will be the main beneficiary of the week-long "Come Together: A Relief Effort for Tourism Workers" series.

But Travel Michigan vice-president Dave Lorenz says there's more to it than that.

"It's important to get money for these folks," Lorenz explains, "but equally important for us is after the communal trauma we've gone through, we need to celebrate who we are in unity with each other. This is going to be a real celebration of our state and who we are, kind of a rallying cry for all that is good about Michigan. "

"Come Together," which runs from 7-8 p.m. Monday, May 4, through May 8, will be a variety-style show featuring performances by musicians such as the Accidentals, Brian Vander Ark, Greensky Bluegrass, Don "Doop"Dupree, Julianne Ankely, Eddie Baranek and Martin Sapp, as well as conversations with a variety of Michigan celebrities and athletes. There will also be demonstrations and discussions with state chefs and distillers. The episodes will air on Pure Michigan, Under the Rader Michigan and MLive Facebook pages and will be co-hosted by "Under the Radar Michigan's" Tom Daldin.

Tuesday, May 5, will feature special Cinco de Mayo content, and Thursday, May 7, will be dedicated to Mackinac Island.

Proceeds will go to the Michigan Hospitality Industry Employee Relief Fund (mrlaef.org). Lorenz says some 300,000 tourism-related employees are out of work at the moment.

"Come Together" also coincides with National Travel and Tourism Week as well as a recently launched Michigan Travel/Pure Michigan campaign "Two Peninsulas, One Pure Michigan," which Lorenz says is also designed to promote unity for the stage. A special T-shirt is available, with $5 from each sale going to the MRLAEF.

"We're trying to do a whole bunch of things in one format," Lorenz says. "It's not a distraction as much as it is a celebration. We've missed out on these connections with people and community festivals and things like that. This is a way for people to be part of a solution by giving to others in a safe format...until we can all go out and do these things we love so much."

Web Site: www.mrlaef.org

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