Grand Haven businesses eager for return of Coast Guard Festival

Ottawa County

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Organizers are working to bring the annual Coast Guard Festival back to Grand Haven this summer.

The event was called off last year to help slow the spread of coronavirus. It was the first time it had been canceled in 96 years.

This year, festival organizers set a tentative July 30 start date in hopes of reviving the festival. The Grand Haven City Council still has to render a final approval.

The festival brings an estimated 300,000 to 350,000 people to Grand Haven each year. The city says the tourists inject several million dollars to the local economy.

“People come from all over. There’s the fireworks and the festival. It’s just a good time. People are in a good mood,” said Barb Fisher, who works at Lemongrass Life + Style boutique on Washington Avenue.

Organizers say they are planning to bring most of the usual activities back this year, including the waterfront stage events, fireworks and parade, at full scale. They say there will not be a kids parade, however.

“It’s just crazy busy. It brings so many people to town. I’m just thankful it’s coming back,” said Kristen Herrick, who owns Krissy’s Kandies downtown. “It tends to be my biggest week because everybody likes candy and pop and the drinks and all that.”

Herrick said that though the pandemic made it more difficult to keep some of her items stocked, she has already started preparing for a busy summer.

“Last year it was really slow around the same time that Coast Guard (Festival would have been), but this year I have a feeling that it’s going to be really crazy because everyone’s really excited to go back,” said Livia Snider with Jean Marie’s, a clothing store in Grand Haven. “Besides one of our sidewalk sales, it’s a pretty big week for our store.”

Businesses say the influx of people will bring a welcomed boost in sales after struggling through the pandemic.

“Probably this year it’s going to be even more (busy) because we missed out. It’s going to be great,” Fisher said.

The City Council will officially vote on the return of the festival at its July 6 meeting. If all is approved, the festival will run from July 30 to Aug. 8. More information about tickets and times for tentative events can be found on the Coast Guard Festival webpage.

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