Today is the U S Coast Guard’s 217th Birthday. It is also the Grand Finale day for the Grand Haven Festival. Today, they had a parade through downtown with 164 entries. Also, there was evening entertainment on the center stage, followed by fireworks that provided the conclusion to the festival.
Various sources indicated that there could be as many as 100,000 to 200,000 people downtown for this final day. So we decided to get there early and make a long day of it. While we did not stake out a spot for the parade in advance we did manage to place our chairs on a key corner of the parade route for a good view of all the entries. Since we had purchased tickets to the evening entertainment, we were also set for the Grand Finale entertainment and fireworks.
The parade was a bigger version of any small town parade with lots of attention for the US Coast Guard. Our favorite Michigan band-the Scottville Clown Band- brought up the rear of the parade. After the parade, we had lots of time to kill before the evening entertainment, so we walked the waterfront and watched those already gathering for the evening performances and the many pleasure boats getting themselves a good spot in the river, as well.
We then headed to the local museum, which provided some history of the area and had a great collection of ship models.
The evening show was a great finish to the festival and the fireworks display was one of the best we have seen in years. Reportedly they launched over 7000 rockets in around 40 minutes.