Show might go on

A popular synchronized music and light show may be plugging into downtown Grand Haven this holiday season.
Marie Havenga
Aug 29, 2013


After withdrawing a request to set up the show in Ferrysburg's Coast Guard Park because of strong resistance from a member of that city's council, the show's organizer said he is now eyeing the first and second blocks of Grand Haven's Franklin Avenue as a landing spot.

Brad Boyink, president of the Holiday Road Charities Board, said his group has the support of local business owners and homeowners there. But they still need the blessings of Grand Haven City Council to flip the switch on the 200,000-light show that typically raises more than $30,000 for Special Olympics.

“We have been very busy working in the background and have received verbal support from all council members,” Boyink said of the Franklin location, which would feature lights on nearly a dozen businesses and homes.

Mayor Geri McCaleb said she wouldn't comment on the proposal until City Council had a chance to review the plans. She said it could be discussed as soon as Tuesday's meeting.

“I know (Boyink) has done a lot of work on this,” McCaleb said. “He's asked all the questions and made all the arrangements to get it to the place where council can take a look at it.”

Boyink said he has contacted the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety for review of his plans, which include funneling traffic westbound on Franklin from U.S. 31. Because Franklin is a one-way street heading west, vehicles approaching the light show would be in the right lane and through-traffic could pass in the left lane.

“We're excited because ... it is a perfect traffic flow scenario there,” Boyink said.

Boyink said the owners of nine of the 11 homes and businesses projected to be part of the show are onboard with the plan. He said he still needs to reach the other two, but the show could go on without them.

The show would feature RGB pixel technology capable of 16 million colors, similar to what he ran in his show set up in his Spring Lake Township neighborhood in 2011 and at an indoor show at The Pointes strip mall in Norton Shores last year.

Boyink said the proposed plan includes barriers at Second, Third and Fourth streets so vehicles can't cut into line. A police officer would be stationed at Fifth and Franklin. An officer would also be stationed at Seventh Street for weekend shows, according to Boyink.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.




This sounds like a great plan. I am excited about the possibility. I do not want to be a downer ... but there is still one issue that may be troublesome at this location and I would like to hear more about it.

What if it is a GREAT hit traffic extends a considerable distance. Remember that when it was on Heather CT, traffic sometimes backed up far along VanWagner. What is the plan if traffic backs up along Franklin all of the way to the highway? Will the line be cut off ... or will it back up on to the highway or possibly be wrapped on to some side street?

Other than this one issue I think this is a GREAT thing.


Traffic is always a concern, and a great deal of time goes into creating traffic orders. For a better understanding I recommend looking at the charts the Tribune has posted above. You will notice Franklin Ave is a two lane one-way street.

It has been proposed that the right lane be designated as a show traffic lane that will shift after each song. The left lane will be a through lane only, allowing people to drive by, residents to enter their driveways, and full access to the Tip-A-Few parking lot. 1st, 5th, and 7th street will also allow for cross traffic but will not allow people to enter the line.

Holiday Road Charities intends to hire police officers to help manage traffic. Traffic will not be allowed to back up on to the highway. Cars will be given the option to go down the left lane so they can do a drive by without stopping or will be able to park downtown and walk the show.

The distance from the first car in line to US31 is the same distance as the first car in line on Heather Ct. to the water tower on VanWagner. 80% of the time traffic did not exceed this marker.

We would also like to make a clarification.

At this time all neighbors are tentatively onboard. The response has been nothing but positive. Lost in translation was if any house did not want to participate it would not be a detriment to the show. But if there had been a strong opposition to the show by any of the residents, we would not have approached the city for a special event approval.

The Tribune has known about this location for a few days, and at the time of interview we were still reaching out to some residents as they were out of town.


Hello Brad,

I may not of made myself clear on the question ... so I will restate it based on the diagrams. My question is specifically, what is the plan when traffic reaches POINT 5 on the map? The map arrows indicate arrows on US 31 (both north and southbound). I know that could simply be indications of where traffic is coming from. My specific question is what will happen if traffic gets backed up to POINT 5 on the map. Will it be allowed to back up on US 31?

Again, I am generally in support of the project with the exception of the need for a specific plan for traffic backing up to US 31.


Sorry ... never mind ... you did answer my question... traffic will not be allowed to back up on 31 and will be sent down the "by pass" lane.

Sorry I did not see that during the first read.

Thanks again for your hard work. I think it will be GREAT. I think it will by far be the BEST location so far.


Thanks Christopher. I'm glad you found the answers your were looking for. Holiday Road Charities works very closely with Public Safety to ensure the event is safe and traffic is manageable.

If anyone has questions or concerns, please fee free to contact Holiday Road Charities and a board member will get back in touch with you. Our email is:
info @ HolidayRoadCharities. org

papa bear

Disaster waiting to happen this is not a good location,why cant they do it on harbor island so much more room


Papa bear please describe how this is a "disaster waiting to happen". Are you more qualified than the police department to review traffic plans?

Please give us your expert opinion and qualifications. Back your alternate plan with facts, diagrams, and previous year's data.

My point is, personal opinions are not facts. Let the experts do their job and decide if it is going to be a "disaster waiting to happen".

papa bear

I do believe I am entitled to my opinion just as you are I shouldnt be questioned for my opinion,now what you got to say?


Not enough room on Dewey Hill? People could even sit on the bleachers to view it if the benches are not covered with snow or they would be able to see it and hear the music while shopping downtown.


This is a terrible location, while I commend Holiday Roads charity work, this proposed location stands to HURT Grand Haven for more than help anyone. This blocks the majority of downtown business parking! (as well as, blocking cross flow residential traffic) The heart of the city is NOT the location for this show.


So, which business is yours? I think most people can find their way to where they want to go at the time of year we are talking about here. I understand what you're attempting to get us to believe but I think your "followers" will be few and far between. Oh, there are people on North Shore, at least one, that will side with you; you two can sit around and talk about the rest of us. And, if you are said person, then find a mirror and ...


'downtown business parking' for Xmas? isn't that an oxymoron? Have you seen how deserted the downtown is during that season?
Lots of (empty) parking spaces to park, and walk the Show. Sounds like a wonderful location actually. Just think of it, some of those people might eventually walk into your store and buy something while downtown!!?


As a regular Christmas time renter of a house in the second block of Franklin for ten nights during the Christmas period, we have told the owner that if this goes through we will not be willing to rent this year due to concerns about traffic, noise and lights.


Now there's extortion for you! Tell the owner they will lose $$ if they agree to have the Show lights on their rental house! I think you might lose your deposit. I imagine some people will avoid the show. I feel sorry for you who do, it should be a fantastic place for the show. I look forward to this event each year and would proudly have it in my neighborhood (doubt my neighbors would).

Tri-cities realist

I'm curious how police are going to enforce traffic in the left lane to keep moving. I'm sure there will be people, who, instead of waiting patiently in line in the right lane, will go down the left lane, and do a slow 1mph drive by to enjoy the show without waiting in line. Then when many people have the same idea, both lanes are essentially parking lots. I can't be the only person to think of this scenario.

I'm all for the light show, having seen it every year on Heather Ct., but I certainly understand the concerns of those who live in close proximity to it.

I suppose giving it a try can't hurt too much.


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