Grand finale

Officials say almost perfect weather helped Coast Guard Festival events draw in lots of people.
Becky Vargo
Aug 4, 2013

Record crowds at the grand parade.

The best carnival attendance ever.

More than 31,000 visitors on the ships.

Coast Guard Festival Director Mike Smith said the numbers are important, but the reason he is so thrilled with this year’s festivities is “because our guests felt honored.”

“That’s what drives me to look for ways to continue to improve it (the festival),” he said.

 “Our heroes just felt the love,” Smith said. “They were blown away with our fireworks and how it tied in with the memorial service.”

“The fireworks continue to astound,” he said. “Our guests were moved to tears.”

While it’s difficult to come up with the true attendance at Saturday night’s fireworks finale, Grand Haven Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke said the crowd was large.

“We had a few medical emergencies, property damage accidents and alcohol-related offenses,” Hawke said. “It was reported that a man showed a concealed pistol at Harbor and Washington. This turned out not to be true. The man was arrested for an alcohol –related probation violation.”

From a public safety standpoint, the festival was a success, Hawke said.

See more of this story in Monday's print and electronic editions of the Grand Haven Tribune.



The fireworks were awesome, no doubt. Nice Job!! However, the music during the fireworks(which is a cool format) was an epic failure. Willie Nelson....wat da' haaail?

The only song that worked for me was the Fall out Boys "light em' up." Here is what Dyankee would have played....

*Light em' up (Fall out Boys)
*Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (Toby Keith)
*Rocking in the free world (Neil Young)
*America the Beautiful (Ray Charles version)
*God Bless the USA (Lee Greenwood)

How in the world could the music director miss such an opportunity to knock this hanging curve ball into the upper deck? Its the coast GUARD FESTIVAL and no songs about our military, our freedoms, and our flag???

We all felt a sense of pride for our Coast Guard, Community, and Country while the fireworks were going off, but what a way it could have been to bring the crowd to its feet within minutes of this display with the chants of USA-USA!!


Great music choices...


Wow. I'm surprised to hear this. Almost everyone I know said the fireworks were the worst in recent memory and far inferior to those during the 4th of July celebration.

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