How to Get to Grand Haven on Coast Guard Saturday

Bill's Blog

It’s Coast Guard Saturday!! I first rode in the Grand Haven Coast Guard Parade in 1975 along with the gang from the TV station. After the parade, Jack Hogan took us all to Fracano’s for some awesome pizza. Outside of a couple years when I was the parade announcer (along with Maranda), I’ve been riding in the parade pretty much every year since then. Sometimes, I have gone through the parade twice! The first time was on a float dedicated to those who did clean-up work after the Derecho of May 31, 1998. A few times since, I’ve gone along with the group from Science Olympiad. Grand Haven Public Schools are often not just one of the top schools in Michigan in S.O., but often, they are one of the top teams in the U.S. !!

This year, I’ll be riding in the parade with our new, Chief Meteorologist, Ellen Bacca. Give us a wave or a shout when we drive by.

A lot of people from the Grand Rapids area, Kent County and points east head to Grand Haven for Coast Guard Saturday. The parade starts at 11:45 pm and lots of people spend the day hitting the beach, the carnival and they stay for the big fireworks show in the evening.

It seems every year there’s a big traffic jam. People from G.R. and points east head to Grand Haven down I-96, then have to squeeze into one lane to get through Spring Lake and across the drawbridge. There’s an easier way to get there.

When you get to Coopersville or to the new road #231 – drop south and go over the Grand River, so you are on the south side of the river. Go to Mercury Drive (you can come north on 144th). It’s scenic – you go over three bayou bridges – and you can usually get into Grand Haven without any slowdowns at all. I park south of the parade route.

After the parade, I move my car to the east side of US 31…pretty close to St. Patrick’s Church. It’s a longer walk after the fireworks, but I can get right back out of Grand Haven going east (southeast) on Mercury Dr. – then cut back north to the expressway at 68th. I’m not an artist, but I made a crude map above to show my preferred route.


Commander Mike Smith and the Coast Guard Festival volunteers have done an awesome job again this year and the weather has been pretty good on the whole this week.

I’ll be enjoying the day in Grand Haven and I won’t spend a lot of time on weather or social media, so keep checking the WOOD TV radar and the WOOD TV forecast. While we have a chance of a shower or t-shower this Saturday, most of the day will be dry. Temperatures in the Grand Haven area will range from the mid 70s to low 80s with a light west wind off Lake Michigan. As I write this, the water temp. at Grand Haven St. Park is a pleasant 72°.

Whether you’re in Grand Haven or not (knot?) have an awesome weekend!

Also: Storm reports from Friday: Wind damage at Constantine, Marble Lake and Quincy MI and in Steuben Co. Indiana. Gusts of 49 mph at Racine WI and 40-45 mph along the Chicago lakeshore. 1″ diameter hail fell at S. Bend, with 3/4″ hail at Constantine MI. Hail fell at Wasepi MI (St. Joseph Co.), Mishawaka IN and at Bernen, Sawyer and Berrien Springs in MI. Constantine had 2.05″ of rain.

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