Grand Haven — aka Coast Guard City, U.S.A. — hosts the annual Cost Guard Festival, which draws more than 350,000 people. Photo via fb.com
Friday marks the beginning of the 89th annual Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival.
The popular summer festival celebrates the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard and runs from July 26-Aug. 4.
The event features activities and events to honor Cost Guard dignitaries, returning sailors and retirees.
The festival unofficially began in 1924 as a Coast Guard-personnel-only picnic, which included rowing competitions for service members stationed in Grand Haven, according to the event website.
It became an official festival in 1937, and it has become a premier event with attendance of more than 350,000 people — including the nation’s highest-ranking Coast Guard dignitaries from Washington, D.C.
Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival activities
Playing Out Loud . . . Fantazia: a family friendly circus
Festival Idol: a musical talent competition similar to “American Idol”
Ship arrivals: welcoming the USCGC Mackinaw, the USCGC Mobile Bay and the first Canadian HERO-CLASS Patrol Boat, the CCGS Private Robinson V.C., as they sail into the port of Grand Haven
Ship tours: allowing visitors to hop on board the USCGC Mackinaw, USCGC Mobile Bay and the CCGS Private Robinson V.C. and learn about the ships
Grand City Skiers: a water-thrill show with stunts by water skiers ranging in age from 5 to 65
U.S. Coast Guard Band: a premier military orchestra, which will perform at Lakeshore Middle School
Downtown Carnival: a $20 wristband gets carnival attendees unlimited rides
Fireworks Extravaganza: a fireworks display that can be viewed from anywhere near the waterfront