Ten Can’t Miss Events at the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival

Grand Haven‘s Coast Guard Festival kicks off on July 25th! Today, guest blogger Stefanie Herder from Visit Grand Haven describes ten can’t miss events at the ten-day festival.

Coast Guard Ship - Photo Credit Ed Post

Photo courtesy of Ed Post

The Coast Guard Festival unofficially began in 1924 as a Coast Guard personal-only picnic, which included rowing competitions for service members stationed in Grand Haven. Over the past 90 years, the festival has become a premier event in Michigan with an annual attendance of more than 350,000 people including the nation’s highest-ranking Coast Guard dignitaries from Washington D.C. Because of the city’s the long history with the Coast Guard, Grand Haven was named the official ‘Coast Guard City USA’ by the United States Congress on November 13, 1998. Needless to say, the Coast Guard Festival is a pretty big deal for us Grand Haven folks.

This year’s Coast Guard Festival is July 25th – August 3rd and it’s sure to be the biggest and best yet! So in honor of the 10 day festival, here are the 10 Can’t Miss Events of the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival:

Coast Guard Festival Run
There is no secret to why over a thousand runners choose to participate in the annual Coast Guard Run. The race route is challenging but picturesque complete with stunning views of Lake Michigan and the famous Grand Haven pier and lighthouse. It even convinced this very non-runner to put on some running sneakers and participate in the event for the past two years.  The view is a well-deserved reward after having to scale the notorious hills on Grand Avenue.

Kids Parade
Shortly after the completion of the Coast Guard Run, families start claiming their spots in anticipation of the annual Kids Parade. Families, children’s groups, marching bands, and more are invited to take part of this community event. My little tradition for the past couple years has been to run the Coast Guard Run, have my favorite breakfast dish at the Dee-Lite in downtown Grand Haven, and then watch the parade. The perfect way to start a Saturday if I do say so myself!

Coast Guard Festival Community Picnic
Just like the first Coast Guard Community Picnic in 1924, this is a time for the community and Coast Guard personnel to celebrate the USCG’s long history in the Grand Haven area. The public is welcome to enjoy food, games, and music at Coast Guard Park in Ferrysburg.

Ship Arrivals & Ship Tours
The USCGC Hollyhock, USCGC Bristol Bay, and USCGC Biscayne Bay are set to sail into Grand Haven’s port. Everyone in town lines the Grand Haven boardwalk and pier to welcome the ships to the festival. I love walking down from our office to watch the ships parade down the river channel and back before they dock at Escanaba Park.  After the ships arrival, the public is welcome to come aboard for free tours presented by the ship’s crew throughout the remainder of the week.

Photo courtesy of Ed Post

Photo courtesy of Ed Post

Downtown Carnival
Downtown Grand Haven’s Washington Avenue transforms into a carnival midway complete with rides, games, and the sweet, sweet smells of elephant ears. In this unique setting visitors are entertained by carnival goers from street side patios of downtown eateries as the bright carnival rides light up the evening sky.

Street Dance
This event has long been a favorite to both locals and visitors during the annual festival. A block of Washington Street in downtown Grand Haven is closed for the evening so we can do as the event name promises – dance in the street! This year’s entertainment is provided by The Gents who will fill the street with your favorite rock and roll classics. With the carnival midway and historic downtown as your backdrop, get ready to dance the night away!

Craft Fair
The Coast Guard Craft Fair is one of the most popular craft fairs in Michigan with over 170 crafters from around the state and nation. During this two day show, Grand Haven’s Central Park is transformed in to an outdoor market filled with original, handcrafted goods. There’s always something new and unique to see at the Craft Fair.

National Memorial Service

Photo courtesy of Ed Post

Photo courtesy of Ed Post

At the heart of the Coast Guard Festival is the National Memorial Service held at Escanaba Park along Grand Haven’s waterfront. During this moving tribute the attention is focused on the brave members of the United States Coast Guard, particularly those who have “passed over the bar” in the past year.

Grand Parade
The Coast Guard Grand Parade is one of the largest and most popular parades in the state of Michigan. Nearly 100,000 people line the streets of downtown Grand Haven to show their appreciation for the men and women who serve in the United States Coast Guard as well as celebrate “Coast Guard City, USA”. In this 2-hour parade you’ll see marching bands, clowns, military units, Coast Guard dignitaries, local sports teams, colorful floats, and much more. I’m a HUGE parade lover and this one does not disappoint.

Photo courtesy of Ed Post

Photo courtesy of Ed Post

Fireworks Extravaganza
The Coast Guard Festival Fireworks are a 74 year old community tradition and one of the hallmarks of the annual festival. This fireworks display is known as one of the best in the state of Michigan and continues to get bigger and better each year. The show takes place after the completion of a special Coast Guard Festival edition of the Musical Fountain along Grand Haven’s waterfront. Paired with the carnival lights, large crowd, and music – it’s a magical scene.

Check out Coast Guard Festival in action in the video below!

 

 

 

Have you been to Grand Haven’s Coast Guard Festival? Tell us about your experience! 

Stefanie Herder Bio Pic - Photo Credit Marci CisnerosStefanie Herder is the Customer Service Coordinator for the Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. She was born and raised in the Grand Haven area and graduated from Grand Valley State University with a degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management in 2006. Stefanie and her husband, Josh, enjoy taking full advantage of the four seasons Michigan has to offer including fishing, hiking, camping, snowshoeing, kayaking, golfing, and snowboarding.

 

Five Tips for Attending Ann Arbor’s Art Fair

The Ann Arbor Art Fair hits downtown Ann Arbor this July 16th-19th. With the work of 1,000 artists on display, there is a lot of ground to cover if you want to see it all! Today, Maricat Eggenberger provides some helpful tips for navigating the fair. 

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Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

This July 16-19, the Ann Arbor downtown will be transformed with over 1,000 juried artists featuring their artwork from all over the country. If you have ever attended the Ann Arbor Fair, you understand the diversity of art work represented and the lively atmosphere of Ann Arbor’s downtown and campus streets.  If you haven’t attended before, we hope you’ll make a trip to see what the Ann Arbor Art Fair is all about. We’ve crafted a list of our top 5 insider tips for before and during your visit to the Ann Arbor Art Fair, one of the largest outdoor art fairs in the United States.

Getting to the Fair & Parking: Parking for the Art Fair is very easy and inexpensive if you choose to use the Park and Ride Options available. Simply park at Huron High School, Maple Village Shopping Center, Pioneer High School or Briarwood Mall.  There are shuttles that will take you right downtown to the fair! For more information on the pick-up locations and ticket costs, check out the Art Fair Parking and Shuttle page.  Getting to Ann Arbor during the next few months may be met with navigational challenges if you don’t plan ahead. Orange construction barrels can be seen along most area roads indicating lane closures, and in some cases complex detours. Our local news outlet, the Ann Arbor News, has been doing an excellent job of keeping us up-to-date, but you can also check out Michigan’s Department of Transportation site for a detailed map including current and future construction plans.

Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Navigating the Fair: The best way to navigate the fair is to make sure you are armed with an Art Fair map.  Maps can be found on the Art Fair website. In addition, Art Fair guides are available at all welcome booths found throughout the fair.

Engage with the Fair: This year you have the opportunity to engage with the fair through Social Media!  Follow the Fair on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and then through your engagement you could be the winner of some great Art Fair throwback gear! Use the hashtag #ArtFairTBT when sharing your old photos from your trips to the Art Fair to enter. During your visit be sure to share your photos of your awesome art finds, delicious dining excursions and fun adventures using the hashtags #AnnArborArtFair and #VisitAnnArbor!

Ann Arbor Art Fair - Social MediaExperience the Art Fair Entertainment: In addition to the streets of booths to enjoy, the Art Fair also has live entertainment scheduled for during and after fair hours! Also, don’t forget to check out the Cooling Misting Station and the Art Activity Zones!  For more details on the musical performances and fun activities, check out the full schedule.

Plan Ahead: July in Ann Arbor can reach high temperatures, plan ahead with water bottles, cool and light clothing and watch the forecast for chances of rain.

Maricat EggenbergerMaricat Eggenberger is the Communications Manager for the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. She’s a proud Michigander that loves traveling, anything eco-friendly and the little adventures in life.

Two New Ways Boyne Mountain Offers Big Summer Adventure

Snow-capped hills have turned to lush hiking and biking trails, scenic golf views and more at Boyne Mountain Resort! Today, guest blogger Erin Ernst tells us about a few new ways to experience Boyne Mountain Resort this season.

Kayak Adventures on the Boyne River

Kayak Adventures on the Boyne River

Summertime in northern Michigan is all about the allure of natural surroundings and if you like a bit of adventure with your time in the great outdoors, then Boyne Mountain Resort is the place for you!  In addition to plentiful activities like golfing, fishing, horseback trail rides, Zipline Adventures, beach fun, chairlift rides, disc golf, hiking, and paintball, you’ll also discover two new summer excursions – Kayak Adventures and guided mountain biking trips.

The resort recently partnered with Boyne River Adventures to offer guests convenient access to the Boyne River, located just a mile from the resort.  Roundtrip transportation and kayak rental with paddles and flotation jackets make this trip as easy as the breeze on the water.  Departures are offered daily at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. from Boyne Mountain’s Adventure Center.  Kayakers are first given an overview of the river’s landscape, and then launched for an enjoyable five-mile float on the prized river.

Guided Mountain Biking at Boyne Mountain Resort

Guided Mountain Biking at Boyne Mountain Resort

A moderate understanding of kayaking and paddling is best as some maneuvering (just enough to get your heart racing!) is necessary.  The river quickly rewards you for your efforts with a leisurely float for the second half of the trip before flowing into beautiful Lake Charlevoix.  The Boyne River is cherished for its high-quality fresh water that supports great biodiversity, and winds its way deep through the woods where the natural scenery is pristine.

At the end of the approximately two-hour trip, kayakers are picked up in Boyne City and transported back to Boyne Mountain Resort.  Each trip accommodates up to 10 guests.  Rates are $40 per person for a single kayak or $75 for a tandem kayak.

Summer visitors can now also explore Boyne Mountain Resort’s expansive network of mountain biking trails with a guide.  Based on your biking ability, a guide tours the most suitable trails during an hour and a half expedition with up to four guests.  Boyne Mountain boasts an impressive 32.5 miles of trails, including a paved loop with panoramic views of the Boyne Valley, or for more experienced riders, natural wide open two-tracks and technical single-tracks.  Bring your own bike, or rent a ride from Boyne Mountain.  Departures are available daily at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and the cost is just $20 per person.

The Big Couloir at Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark

The Big Couloir at Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark

When you need some time away from the sun, adventure can also be found indoors at Avalanche Bay.  The mega indoor waterpark is the largest in Michigan, and its newest attraction has adventurists giddy with excitement.  Beginning in a launch capsule, The Big Couloir features a trap door that drops away and propels riders into an enclosed tunnel traveling at G-force speeds up to 38-feet per second round a 360-degree loop before finishing with a splash.  This ride is a pure adrenaline rush that will leave you wanting to ride it again and again!

So whichever adventure calls you, find it this summer at Boyne Mountain Resort.

For Kayak Adventure and guided mountain biking reservations, call 231.549.7256.  For more information on all of Boyne Mountain’s summertime fun, visit boynemountain.com.

Erin Ernst is the Director of Communications for BOYNE, owner and operator of Boyne Highlands Resort, Boyne Mountain Resort, The Inn at Bay Harbor – A Renaissance Golf Resort, Boyne Country Sports, and Boyne Realty.  She is a Michigan native who loves recreation and the outdoors, and has worked in the resort and tourism industry for over ten years.  She is also a board member with the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau and West Michigan Tourist Association.