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Come celebrate salmon this weekend

Alex Doty • Sep 14, 2016 at 8:00 AM

The traditional summer event season might be over, but there’s still plenty of fun left in the tank this weekend when the Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau celebrates the mighty salmon.

The 13th annual Grand Haven Salmon Festival kicks off Friday night and pays tribute to the area’s bountiful waterways as a natural resource, while coinciding with the region’s annual salmon migration.

“I like that this event brings residents and visitors together to enjoy our waterfront, celebrate our natural resources and have some fun,” Festival Director Marci Cisneros said. “We are rain or shine, hoping folks will come out and support the Salmon Festival this weekend.”

Organizers say one unique aspect of the event is that it is third-party certified as a zero waste-to-landfill event.

Last year’s festival only had 52 pounds of refuse that was sent to the Waste-To-Energy Incinerator. Recycled materials weighed 330 pounds and compostable materials weighed in at 1,160 pounds.

“I like that we are the first certified sustainable event in Michigan,” Cisneros said. “We worked hard to accomplish that goal and we’re hoping other events will follow our lead.”

Organizers say the festival will continue to maintain sustainability by utilizing all compostable materials made of wheat grass and corn.

What to expect this year

Organizers say festival attendees will enjoy a weekend full of arts, crafts, food, wine, live music and family fun. Most of it takes place in the area of Grand Haven’s Municipal Marina and adjacent parking lot.

"As festival planners, we get the most out of seeing everyone enjoying themselves,” Cisneros said. “The children have a great time in the KidZone and the adults appreciate the great salmon offerings and drink options available.”

Kicking off the festival is Friday night’s Fish Boil, presented by the Sons of the American Legion. This family-friendly event takes place from 4:30-7:30 p.m., with musical entertainment from 4:30-8:30 p.m. by Just Joe.

At 6:30 a.m. Saturday, the Grand Haven Steelheaders’ Fishing Contest throws out its first line.

The 5K/10K Salmon Run returns this year, presented by the Grand Haven Young Professionals. The run starts at Mary A. White Elementary School at 8 a.m. Saturday.

The KidZone is back from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, with face-painting, arts and crafts, a fishing simulator and more. A nature-themed art fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Michigan Wine Beer and Hard Cider Tasting and Salmon Cookoff takes place in the Tasting Pavilion from 1-5 p.m., along with the Grape Stomp competition at 2 p.m.

The second annual Michigan Microbrew Tasting Event is 7-11 Saturday evening. It will feature different microbrews from breweries across the state, along with live music.

Wrapping up the final day of festival this year will be tours of the local commercial fishing exhibit at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum, which will be open from 12-5 p.m. Sunday. At 2 p.m., patrons can enjoy a guided tour at the Kitchel-Lindquist Dunes Preserve, sponsored by the City of Ferrysburg.

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