GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Thousands of people are in Grand Haven for the city’s annual Coast Guard Festival.
“We’re so excited everyone is coming back to Grand Haven, we just couldn’t be happier,” said Laura Girard, the owner of Surf Shop Grand Haven. “This is awesome, back to normal.”
The festival was canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19. Without the festival, local businesses like Girard’s struggled. When her store moved into its current location on Washington Avenue, she hoped for a great year and then, the pandemic hit.
“Last year, it was so slow,” Girard said. “Everything was closed up. This year is back to normal. Starting to see people come back from out of state, just wonderful.”
Her business is doing better with the return of the festival and its crowds.
“Sales have increased, way different than last year,” Girard said. “So, we’re happy to see things are on the upswing.”
Like Girard’s business, Temptations, an ice cream shop on North Harbor Drive, is also benefiting from the big crowds attending concerts at Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium and the carnival in town.
“We’ve always had a map on our board where they could take a pin and we would know where (customers) would come from,” said Raymond Murray, one of Temptations’ co-owners. “Last year, I don’t think we had a couple of pins inside the frame of the map; this year we have hundreds of them.”
Temptations is located right across from the carnival rides and footsteps from the concerts. Like the surf shop, the ice cream shop also moved into its current location in 2020. Diane Murray, one of the shop’s co-owners says it’s great to see all the people back in town and stopping by the shop.
“It’s fun to have people come down, the noise, laughter and little people running around,” Murray said. “It changes the whole feel of town for this week and becomes very exciting.”
The festival will wrap up on Sunday.