Counting down to lift off

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:44 PM

This year’s nearly 30-minute show is expected to kick off at about 10:10 p.m., with the Musical Fountain program transitioning into the fireworks, said Roger Jonas, who is coordinating the fireworks show.

For the past year, Jonas has listened to potential music for this year’s patriotic show.

“We’ve got a few surprises,” he said.

Jonas said the city, Grand Haven Township and other community donors are funding the nearly $23,000 show.

Wolverine Fireworks Display Inc. of Kawkawlin will conduct the show. The company also performed last year’s show at the last minute when it was in limbo after the Grand Haven Area Jaycees decided in February 2013 to no longer organize it.

People can donate to the fireworks show all month by sending text messages to 20222 with the keyword “Ghacffireworks.” It will automatically add $10 to the donor’s monthly cellphone bill, and that donation will be sent to the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation. The keyword isn’t case sensitive.

People can donate that way up to five times at $10 a pop. Grand Haven Area Community Foundation President Holly Johnson said the tax-deductible donation will show up as Mobile Giving Foundation on your bill. She encourages people to try again if they are unable to successfully complete their donation on July 4.

Although residents and visitors may be anxious to stake claim to their seats for the show, spots can’t be reserved until 12:01 a.m. Friday.

Spots at Bicentennial Park, Chinook Park, Escanaba Park and elsewhere along the city’s waterfront can be saved with blankets and folding chairs — but items such as plastic tarps, duct tape, rocks, stakes or spray paint aren’t allowed. City Manager Pat McGinnis said city crews will monitor the area prior to midnight, and they will also walk the waterfront to ensure regulations are followed.

McGinnis said the regulations are in place to prevent safety hazards and to preserve the waterfront’s beauty. He said the city will remove prohibited items.

In previous years, people have weighted blankets down with items such as milk cartoons and plastic bags filled with sand or water. McGinnis said they ask that all items be removed after the fireworks.

Once the show ends, public safety officers will direct everyone out of the downtown area.

The following streets will be closed from 6 p.m. Friday through approximately 2 a.m. Saturday: Harbor Drive between Sherman and First, Washington from Harbor to First, Franklin from Harbor to First, Clinton from Harbor to First, Lafayette from Harbor to First, and Howard from Harbor to Sand. No vehicle traffic will be allowed in those areas after 6 p.m. Friday.

McGinnis said Franklin Avenue will be turned around at about 10 p.m., becoming one-way eastbound. As a result, officers will be at each intersection on Franklin from Harbor Drive to Beacon Boulevard to assist traffic and any cross traffic.

Seventh Street from Franklin north to Beacon will be closed from about 10 p.m. to midnight to facilitate traffic flow at the completion of the show, said Lt. Clint Holt of the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety.

McGinnis said Franklin will be best used by exiting traffic for entering southbound U.S. 31, Washington Avenue will be best for eastbound traffic, and Jackson and Columbus avenues will be best for northbound U.S. 31 traffic.

There will be no parking on Franklin from Beacon to Harbor to facilitate an emergency vehicle-only lane from the downtown area beginning at 6 p.m. There will also be several temporary “no parking/tow-away” zones in place, which Holt said will be strictly enforced.

The drawbridge will not be raised from 10:45 p.m. Friday through 2 a.m. Saturday.

Jonas also encourages residents and visitors to attend the Ferrysburg parade and picnic on Friday morning. The parade will begin at 10:30 a.m.

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