Grand Rapids Residents Fight for Their City

Grand Rapids Residents Fight for Their City

Last week, an online report labeled Grand Rapids, Michigan, a "dying city" due to a drop in their population over the last decade.

But Rob Bliss and the residents of Grand Rapids refused to lie down and die. Bliss decided that the town needed to prove the report wrong. And so, Bliss mobilized the town and produced a nearly nine-minute long lip-synch to the classic song "American Pie."

The video, which features policemen, football players, cheerleaders, and 5,000 other towns people was an instant viral sensation. The spin on Don McLean's hit cost over $40,000 to make, most of which was funded by local businessman. The film set a record for the longest and largest lip dub video ever made.

"[The report] really help made this event happen, it really lit the fire," Bliss said.

Shot on the streets of downtown Grand Rapids, Bliss' video is timed impeccably. As McLean belts the words "Fire is the devil's only friend," the viewer can even see bursts of flames in the distance.

The perfectly cued performance did not happen instantly. It took six takes, but finally, Grand Rapids found a winner.

"It really did feel impossible," Bliss said. "I wondered, had we bitten off more than we could chew?"

The video ends with a helicopter ride high into the sky, and the viewer looks down on a simple but powerful message: experience Grand Rapids.

After that phenomenal display, how could anyone say no?