Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival

Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival

Many people often describe movie stars or recording artists as heroes. But this is an erroneous description; the real heroes in the USA are the emergency response teams like the fire and ambulance service who save people's lives every day. Do these people get the recognition they deserve for their heroism? That is debatable.

One state has a special festival to honour these good Samaritans who dedicate their lives to keeping people safe in American waters is Michigan, with The Grand Haven Coast Guard festival. This event goes back a long way, as far back as 1924 when it started as modest picnic for Coast Guard personnel and their families. The local Coast Guard station was on the water and they started to hold boat races for all the service men in the local area for some light entertainment. The word obviously got out and it started to grow. Yet it was not until August 1971 as the festival expanded more did it become accredited as an official day of celebration and got its name.

To mark the fact that Grand Haven has such a high esteem for the Coast Guard service Congress give it the title of "Coast Guard City, USA" which was signed by President Clinton in 1998. The carnival comprises of two rousing parades and finishes with a magnificent firework show which explodes across the sky and is reputed to be one of the most impressive in the country.

Anyone who participates in the Coast Guard Festival gets some special privileges such as an exclusive tour of the Coast Guard cutter. There is also a brilliant midway carnival, as well as a range of boat tours, jet-ski demonstrations, carnival games and live music. And just when you think organisers cannot provide any more entertainment they saved their trump card in the Street Dance. Music comes from Soul'd Out and is extremely popular with both young and old people.

The festival unofficially began in 1924 as a Coast Guard personnel only picnic when the local Coast Guard station held rowing competitions for those service members stationed in Grand Haven. Today the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival has become a premier event with attendance of over 350,000 people including the nations highest ranking Coast Guard dignitaries from Washington, D.C. It's happening this year between July 27th - August 5th 2018.