GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival is back with a week-long event reflecting and celebrating the rescue military service branch.
Grand Haven, also known as Coast Guard City, USA, will be filled with people visiting across the state and country beginning Friday.
“There is excitement for festival starting and you can kind of start to feel the buzz and the vibe around town,” Lt. Paul Larouche, the commanding officer of Sector Field Office Grand Haven, said. “It’s really inspiring to see how much the city of Grand Haven backs the Coast Guard and supports the Coast Guard and it really does have a direct impact on just the morale of those at the unit. You can tell that they know that the city of Grand Haven supports them.”
“Our relationship with the Coast Guard goes back to 1924, which started as a picnic on the far side of the river and then developed into this 10-day celebration celebrating our men and women of the Coast Guard,” Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival executive director Mike Smith said.
To kick off the event, you can check out the lighthouse quilt show from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Church, located at 901 Columbus Ave. There will be over 100 antique quilts on display, and you’ll get to hear stories about each. The cost of admission is $7.
The Aerosmith tribute band will play at Waterfront Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
There are some rules festival organizers are asking you to follow if you come to the stadium, including no smoking or vaping and no coolers or weapons.
While this is the first year that Grand Haven’s social districts will be in operation during the Coast Guard Fest, you can’t bring outside alcoholic beverages into the stadium. Companion and emotional support dogs will not be allowed; only Americans with Disabilities Act-registered service dogs.
There is a list of free family-friendly events, including the cardboard boat race, which will happen Saturday afternoon.
You can take a ship tour beginning Monday, Aug. 1, and organizers say you can’t miss the National Coast Guard Memorial Service, which pays tribute to personnel who have died in the line of duty during the past year.
Kids and seniors will get their own day to enjoy free events at Mulligan’s Hollow.
There will be crafts, games, entertainment and other activities for youth on Aug. 2. Adults ages 55 and above can participate in activities on Aug. 3.
“We offer free manicures for men and women. We offer cardio zoom and Zumba, line dancing a free lunch,” festival chair Sharon Behm said.
Tim Riley, the general manager of Kirby House restaurant, says the festival always gives a boost to the economy.
“It’s everything we plan for, for the summer, and it’s an important part of our year,” Riley said.
Riley thinks the designated area for the social district will be beneficial to businesses.
“It just adds to the whole feel it give people more options, more places to go while they’re down here,” Riley said.
The festival will run through Aug. 7. For a look at the schedule, you can visit its website.
—News 8’s Kyle Mitchell contributed to this report.