Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival

  • Coast Guard Festival - Parades

    Two Parades

    Two parades equals twice the fun!

    Photo courtesy of Ed Post

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  • Grand Haven’s Coast Guard Festival is a premier ten day national military festival, July 25-August 3, 2014, whose purpose is to honor the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard. 

    With attendance of over 350,000 people including the nation’s highest ranking Coast Guard dignitaries, the focus of the festival is the National Coast Guard Memorial Service honoring those who are willing to sacrifice their lives in the service of their country while fulfilling their motto Semper Paratus--"Always Ready.” 

    The highlight of the festival is the arrival of the big ships. This year’s ships include USCGC Hollyhock, USCGC Bristol Bay, R/V Laurentian and USCGC Biscayne Bay. Meet Coast Guard personnel who will teach you how cutters break through ice in the Great Lakes. And the best part—tours are free!

    Other activities include a downtown carnival and art fair, parades, Kid’s Day, car show, street dance, fireworks and more. 

    Grand Haven has celebrated its unique relationship with the Coast Guard since the early 1900s, when the U.S. Life Saving Service established a station in this Lake Michigan shoreline community. In 1998, Grand Haven served as the first of now sixteen cities to be federally designated as "Coast Guard City U.S.A" This designation was enacted by congress in recognition of the special relationship with the longest continuous seagoing service of our nation.  

    Extend your experience by spending a day in the surf and sand. Grand Haven was named as one of Travel + Leisure Magazine's Best Secret Beaches on Earth beside exotic destinations like Turkey, Australia, France and Thailand. In August 2013, CNN Travel named this beach town as its #14 "Must See U.S. Beach.” Grand Haven also features a two-and-a-half mile boardwalk along the harbor. Meander down the pier to the historic lighthouse and witness a spectacular panoramic sunset. 

    Grand Haven is a family vacation destination. Take a narrated trolley tour of the waterfront. Its historic downtown features specialty shops, boutiques, art galleries and restaurants. Located in the heart of Michigan’s agricultural belt, farmer’s markets and U-picks are abundant with fresh fruit and seasonal produce. And don’t forget its world famous musical fountain, a 20-minute waterfront program perfect for the entire family. The dancing waters are synchronized with lights and music and can be viewed every evening from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

    For more information on the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival, click here.

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