Yes, There Really is a Kalamazoo: References Only Locals Will Understand
If you know, you know. Not only does Kalamazoo have a unique name, but it's also a city rich with history. For example, we've got Gibson guitars, Bell's Brewery, and Tim Allen even got arrested here!
Most Americans have never heard of Kalamazoo and are in disbelief that such a place can exist. Other than big corporations and tangible items what are some other things that make Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo?
One Reddit user u/O_KShortsYT wants to know! Asking on the popular discussion site,
what can you call a Kalamazoo Thing?
Though some of the answers were obvious, a few caught me by surprise. See if you agree with the unique answers Kzoo locals gave:
The Big Banana Car
It's not summer in the Kalamazoo area until you see Ridiculous Steve Braithwaite driving his Big Banana Car across town. Since 2011 the 23 foot long giant banana on wheels has been visiting ice cream shops across the state to give donation-based rides to curious companions, and bringing smiles to all who see it. The Big Banana Car has been in national commercials and even has its own Matchbox car! Going for a ride with Ridiculous Steve is a must for any Kalamazoo resident.
Boombox Ronnie is a local legend! If you were around in the mid to late 2000s, chances are Boombox Ronnie crashed one of your parties in the Vine neighborhood-- I speak from experience. Though he's had some ups and downs, Ronnie a.k.a SpongeBob a.k.a. Kool Whip always had a smile on his face and was there to have a good time. There's even a Facebook fan page for Ronnie and a YouTube channel. He's rarely spotted in Kzoo streets these days Ronnie chooses to lay low-- which is probably for the best--but we'll always cherish those fun times with Ronnie!
Kalamazoo's one-way streets are infamous. True story: during my last session of driver's training my instructor took us to downtown Kalamazoo. Knowing it's full of one-ways I pulled into what I thought was the "first available legal lane". In fact, I had turned the wrong direction down one of the few two-way streets in Kalamazoo and was immediately faced with oncoming traffic. My instructor was so distraught he made me take an extra session. I swear, I'm not a bad driver! However, it seems the City of Kalamazoo has come to their senses and finally has plans to turn several one-ways into two-ways for the first time 60 years.
The Do-Dah Parade
This celebration of all things silly is synonymous with Kalamazoo culture. Originally started in 1984 by WKFR's sister station, WKMI, the parade was meant to highlight local businesses in a fun and entertaining way. Though there was a brief hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the parade returned in full force in 2022 with the theme Where's The Zoo?, a question we locals hear often.
An infamous mobile party group, the X-Train is known for leaving a trail of destruction in its path. The caravan of partiers often tear up front lawns, leave shattered glass in the streets, and have even been linked to one shooting death. Kalamazoo police have tried to address the issue several times, but the group has been active as recent as March 2022.