While the bands, the floats representing local businesses and organizations and the dignitaries were a hit with older crowd, the kids in attendance were unanimous in their favorite part of the parade.
“Candy!” agreed brothers Landon, Connor and Crew Van Beek, who watched the parade from the east side of Sheldon Road.
“And the Clown Band,” added Landon, the oldest of the three brothers and a soon-to-be eighth grader at Lakeshore Middle School this fall.
Ryan Haller grew up attending the Coast Guard Festival Grand Parade as a kid. He now lives on the east side of the state, but always brings his family back to Grand Haven for the festival. His son, Andrew, celebrated his 10th birthday on Saturday.
Andrew said his favorite floats were the ones that had water guns spraying cold water into the crowd. A fierce sun and temperatures in the 80s made for a sweaty afternoon at the parade.
Andrew also liked the candy, although he felt a little more diversity is needed
“I think they should add more Jolly Ranchers. There are too many Tootsie Rolls,” he said.
R.J. Hicks, who lives in Farmington, was at the parade for the first time, visiting with the Haller family. He came away from his first parade very impressed.
“It was good. They gave out lots of candy,” he said. “I also liked getting sprayed with water guns. I liked the floats that had military people on it.”
In a tribute to this year’s theme of 100 years of Coast Guard aviation, multiple Coast Guard helicopters swooped back and forth over the parade procession, which numbered well over 100.