City blanket policy for parade, fireworks released

The city of Grand Haven invites the public to place blankets, chairs and other spot-marking materials on all public property to reserve space for Saturday's Coast Guard Festival Grand Parade and that evening's fireworks show after 12:01 a.m. Friday. Materials placed before midnight will be removed by city crews; and no plastic tarps, duct tape, rocks, stakes or spray paint are allowed for reserving spots. These items will be removed by the city.
Tribune Staff
Aug 5, 2011


The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department will clear the seawall of all boat traffic at noon Saturday. No mooring will be allowed along the seawall after that time.

Boaters should be aware that all vessels moored along the seawall on Friday will need to be registered at the Municipal Marina and obtain a $10 overnight mooring permit. Rafting will be limited to only three vessels from the seawall. Any vessel moored on the seawall on this date that is not registered will be asked to depart.



This may put me in the light of 'Debbie Downer' with folks, townspeople, etc., but this 'tradition' I observe the days prior to the Coast Guard Parade yearly has me puzzled and sometimes annoyed. I live here in town, often opt to walk or use my bicycle with my children in tow, everywhere I go in summer. And every year this time, I see the same thing. Coming up Sheldon, days in advance, the homes that line the street often lay stake/claim to the land between the sidewalk and the road. Every square inch is taped off, blanketed, etc. Some folks drive up in cars, tape off intersections which is astounding to me. I've heard the local scuttlebutt about this yearly procedure and never understood why it was necessary to do so.

Like many others from here in Grand Haven and like those who travel in from out-of-town, my family and I enjoy the 9 days of festivities. We love that our town flourishes so in the summer months. However, yes, there is an ordinance in place about the reservation of spots along the parade route. My point is beyond the ordinance. What message do we send to those who have traveled from 1 mile or 1,000 miles to watch one of America's truest gems and pastimes? Since I've lived here 6 years and been a Michigander for 11, at plain sight it seems like a 'closed community,' that others aren't necessarily as welcomed to be a part of the parade, itself. I'm not passing judgement, it is merely my observation.

The Coast Guard Festival is a wonderful celebration. The town lights up beautifully. You can see the unique admiration, pride and respect between both our town and the Coast Guard. However, this shuffle of 'securing spots' diminishes the integrity of the festival and takes away from the point of this week, which is honoring a part of our Armed Forces. I see that it detracts from what's most important: the hard work and effort put into the parade and all those involved. It should be an egalitarian procession, something that we all can see without great difficulty and with a warm welcome to our amazing beach community. That's how Grand Haven should be perceived.


Well said sunlover77. I grew up in GH, moved away for several years, then returned to raise my family here. I have watched the evolution of the Coast Guard festival in regards to the marking of spots. I remember as a small child parking our car in the parking lot by the channel and laying on the hood of the station wagon in my pajamas to watch the fireworks. For the parade, we would carry our chairs or blankets the morning of the parade and pick a spot. I know the festival has grown in popularity over the years from then but still feel that the hoarding of spots is very unwelcoming to our out of town guests and even to those from this area. I think the rules are trying to help with the growing issue, but I wish as a town we could try to share the space so it is a welcoming event for all.

Bill V.

The same can be said for the parking situation downtown. On Friday, they are charging $10 for charity to park at the library and go to the craft fair. The saddest thing is that the library was still open and the lot was nearly empty. So they aren't raising that much money, and yet there are empty parking spaces. The same was true for most all of the lots downtown. We just went home. Even though it is for charity, it just doesn't look welcoming at all to rope everything off and charge for every little thing.
Maybe next year, they will be charging for seating at the parade as well.

Harry Kovaire

This "space marking" ritual is the stupidest thing I have ever seen. How does one lay claim to a piece of public property? It should not be allowed and violators should be cited for littering and destruction of property.


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