GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Businesses in Grand Haven are in one of their busiest times of the year as Coast Guard Festival gets underway.
The annual festival brings in about 650,000 people every year. The city says most of the people in Grand Haven for the weekend are from other cities and states.
“I’m visiting family from California and I came down here to check out the sites and enjoy some brewed beer,” said tourist Pam Teunissen.
Local business owners say it makes for a nice increase to their bottom line.
“It’s jam-packed, the streets are always flooded with people, traffic is hectic, parking is a nightmare, but it’s a great time,” said Alexia Tenbrink, who works at Big Fish Outlet along the strip.
“We’ve seen a ton of people. It’s been a non-stop flow of people. This is the slowest it’s been all day for us,” Tenbrink said as she pointed to a small crowd in the store.
Tenbrink says the most popular items are Grand Haven souvenirs.
“Without a doubt, this is what we prepare for from the beginning of summer,” said Mike Thorp with The Copper Post restaurant.
Thorp says this year the restaurant changed its menu for the festival and has their staffed prepare to be at capacity every day.
“This is our second Coast Guard Festival, super exciting! So far, it’s been even busier than last year,” Thorp said.
The city says the festival has previously brought in about $5 million. They say they hope this year is just as successful.
Business owners say they expect things to get even busier when the Coast Guard boats pull in to the city next week.