FLINT, Michigan — There was a time when Atwood Stadium was known for its massive community events — hosting legendary football games, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and then-Sen. John F. Kennedy, UAW strikers and famed boxing matches.
That time has come again.
Kettering University will host Centennial Fest at the stadium on July 20 — and the goal is nothing short of again making history and selling out the city’s largest venue. To do that, they worked with local music industry guru Brandon Corder to sign Grammy-winning rapper T-Pain to headline the all-day event that will include multiple stages, car show, children's activities, Flint-centric vendors, and food trucks.
“When I look back at the history books and look back at the pictures of Atwood Stadium, they are filled to the brim with people from all over Flint. … It’s been awhile since it’s been filled like that, and we’re excited to do that again,” Kettering President Robert McMahan said.
The festival and concert are the latest in a series of community events hosted by Kettering since taking ownership of the facility in 2013 when it was badly in need of repairs and had sat unused for years.
With multi-million-dollar renovations including new turf, bathroom upgrades as well as masonry and lighting repairs to the facility that dates back to 1929, Kettering officially reopened Atwood Stadium in 2015.
Atwood Stadium now hosts well over 100 community events a year. “We’ve been ramping up more and more activity at the stadium,” said Jack Stock, Kettering’s director of external relations.
It again hosts high school football games — including the Vehicle City Gridiron Classic to kickoff the fall season — and Flint’s annual Fourth of July fireworks presentation and performance of the Flint Symphony Orchestra.
A major addition to the schedule this year is Flint’s new semi-pro soccer team, the Flint City Bucks — which opens its season May 4 against the Detroit City Football Club.
But Kettering’s Centennial Fest offers the first real opportunity for the venue to sellout in decades.
“Bringing T-Pain to Flint is a step forward in itself. Someone of his caliber, with his level of success brings not only a good show but hope to the community as well. Kettering’s Centennial Fest will be the biggest show Flint has seen in a while,” said Corder, founder of Beats x Beers and Flint native.
Related story: Bringing the big stage to Flint: Brandon Corder and Beats x Beers
Tickets will be free and distributed throughout the city leading up to the concert, Stock said.
Centennial Fest starts in the morning with the annual Atwood Races at 7 a.m. followed by the festival itself from noon to 8 p.m. with T-Pain taking the stage at 7 p.m. Organizers said it will be a family-friendly event with bounce houses, vendors, food trucks and multiple performance stages.
“We are putting on this celebration to say thank you to the great City of Flint, our home, and to the fantastic people who live here,” McMahan said. “It’s going to be an incredible, incredible celebration.”
Additional ticket information will be announced soon. For more information, visit kettering.edu/celebrating100