Salmon Festival returns this weekend

The Grand Haven Salmon Festival, in its eighth year, celebrates the passing of summer while welcoming the fall harvest season and salmon migration, highlighting Grand Haven as an autumn destination. It takes place this weekend along the city's waterfront. Grand Haven Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Marci Cisneros said with the event approaching the decade mark, they've been able to tweak it to benefit those who attend.
Alex Doty
Sep 14, 2011

“The benefit of being eight years into it is getting to a point where we’re able to get feedback from the attendees,” she said.

The festival kicks off Friday with the Fresh Catch Fish Boil from 4:30-7:30 p.m., presented by the Sons of The American Legion, with music from Just Joe. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children. D&W Fresh Market of Grand Haven will be selling tickets in advance to the Fresh Catch Fish Boil for a discounted rate of $9 per adult and $4 for children.

Cisneros said they hope to make this a sustainable event by having no trash sent to a landfill from the fish boil.

“In 2013, we have the chance to be one of the first certified sustainable events in Michigan,” she said.

On Saturday, activities start at 6:30 a.m. with the Big King Fishing Contest, sponsored by the Grand Haven Steelheaders. More than $2,500 will be awarded in prizes. The entry fee for the contest is $110.

“One of the highlights of the event is that it reaches out to different crowds,” Cisneros said.

There are also plenty of activity for children on Saturday — many of which will be environmentally focused, Cisneros said. The children’s area returns at 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with face-painting, arts and crafts, a fishing pond, and a Michigan butterfly tent and nature discovery area with Michigan reptiles and amphibians.

The Tri-Cities Historical Museum Depot location, 1 N. Harbor Ave., will also be open on Saturday and Sunday from 12:30-5 p.m., showcasing a local commercial fishing exhibit; while a nature-themed art fair will be held next to the Depot in the Brass River Plaza from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

The main event on Saturday, however, is the wine-tasting and Salmon Cookoff from 1-5 p.m. Patrons can sample Michigan wines, taste gourmet salmon dishes and enjoy three cooking demonstrations presented by a D&W Fresh Market culinary classroom chef. The wine and salmon tasting package is $20 and includes a commemorative wine glass, three wine/beer taste tickets and five salmon taste tickets.

A silent auction will be open on Friday at the fish boil from 4:30-7:30 p.m. and on Saturday at the Wine/Salmon Pavilion from 1-4 p.m. Proceeds from the auction go to support the festival’s effort to become more sustainable.

“Composting, recycling and working towards zero waste to landfill is our festival goal,” Cisneros said. “This is something our ‘green team’ has been focused on with the long-term goal of becoming a certified sustainable event. In fact, this will be the first year that we will recognize a vendor at the festival with a Keeping It Green award, recognizing the efforts made by others to be Earth-friendly.”

The Rycenga’s Purple Romp Grape Stomp will return. It will be held outside the wine tasting pavilion. (Click on the video image at the top of the page to see a video of the 2009 event)

“Grape stomping is a lot of fun,” Cisneros said. “People tend to rally around and root for that.”

The hour-long event starts at 2 p.m. The winner will receive a purple sash and grape crown.

Later Saturday, the Grand Haven Area Jaycees will host the Fall Harvest Entertainment Tent from 7 p.m. to midnight, with entertainment from Soul’d Out. Admission is $3, or free with a wristband from the wine and salmon tasting event. Those interested in participating in the wine and beer tasting activities must be age 21 or older, and provide a valid form of ID.

“Most aspects of the event are tented, so it allows for people to be protected if there is a chance of rain,” Cisneros said.

Visitors can stretch their festival experience by participating in a fall hike at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Kitchel-Lindquist Dunes Preserve, on the city’s north shore. It is a free guided tour of the preserve owned by the city of Ferrysburg.

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