GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Organizers of the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival have canceled the West Michigan tradition due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All events for this year’s festival, which was scheduled for July 24 to Aug. 2, have been called off to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. The 10-day event normally draws 300,000 to 350,000 people.
“We’re faced with what we could do under the guidelines of both the health department and the state of Michigan mandates, and sadly we came to a unanimous decision that we had to cancel this year’s activities,” Michael Smith, the festival’s executive director, told News 8 Wednesday.
“When we went to the United States Coast Guard and they essentially told us they, too, do not want to put their men and women, who serve daily, in harm’s way during the festival time, it was apparent that there was not another decision to be made,” he continued.
According to the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival’s website, the event first started as a picnic in 1924 then became a festival in 1937. This is the first time in its 96-year history that it has been canceled.
“We never gave up hope but were realistic when faced with facts,” smith said.
Next year’s festival is scheduled to be held July 30 to Aug. 8, 2021.