Rain doesn’t stop festival's big Saturday

Mark Brooky • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:03 AM

Up until Friday, the forecast for Saturday called for sunshine, then a chance for rain was added to the forecast Friday night.

“You always have to blame it on the chief,” WOOD-TV weatherman Matt Kirkwood said, pointing to WOOD-TV Chief Meteorologist Bill Steffen marching behind him on Washington Avenue.

“Or WZZM,” Kirkwood joked. “It’s ‘ZZM’s fault once again!”

Bill Herbst, chairman of the 2011 Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival, said the Grand Parade has never been postponed or canceled. The only reason for a delay, which has happened, is lightning and a thunderstorm.

“We thought this was going to stop several times,” Herbst said of the rain, which did end more than halfway through the parade. “And, as you can see (pointing to the legion of umbrellas and crowd of soaked parade watchers) ... people still come. I mean, once you’re wet, you’re wet.”

Lindsey Landec and Colleen Mikesell were having a hard time selling ice cream for AMBUCS along the route. Few were buying in a downpour at the corner of Washington Avenue and Third Street.

“You know, we sold more on the first pass when it wasn’t raining,” Landec said. “It’s slowed down considerably, but I think it tastes better in the rain.”

Spring Lake High School marching band parent Paula DeYoung said she was getting soaked along with her daughter, piccolo player Michaela DeYoung. Paula said there was some concern about the instruments getting wet and some may need repair after the parade.

“I’m the ‘uniform mom,’ so I’m used to this,” she said about the rain. “There’s (an umbrella) somewhere, but the kids think I should get wet, too.”

In front of the U.S. Post Office, Ryan Jarvis watched the parade with his children — Cameron, 11, and Megan, 10. Jarvis is originally from Wales and was visiting the area from his home in Cambridge, U.K.

“I’m on holiday,” he said. “... This is no rain — this is barely going.”

His son, Cameron, said it rains a lot in the U.K. “We’re used to it,” he added.

“It’s a shame, really, isn’t it? — because the atmosphere here is usually very vibrant,” said Pam (Gelier) Tongue, who moved from the Grand Haven area 23 years ago and now lives in Cambridge, U.K. “I think the rain is taking a little bit away. ... The parade looks fantastic and it’s super that they’re still carrying on with it. It’s a good day, even despite the rain.”

“It think it’s one of the best weeks in Grand Haven and it’s always fun to come here,” added her husband, Sheridan Tongue, who grew up in Northern Ireland and has visited West Michigan for about 20 years.

Handing out candy for her father’s business, Action Water Sports, Bethany Scellii jogged the route barefoot and soaked.

“We’re just having a good time,” she said.

“We got a little wet, but it’s OK,” Belinda Clark said. “We’re still enjoying Coast Guard!”

The 2011 Coast Guard Festival concluded Saturday night at the waterfront with “Motor City Glee” and the Fireworks Extravaganza.

Mike and Carol Bandy of Garden City were spending the weekend at Michigan’s Adventure with their daughters — Madison, 12, and Alexis, 9 — when they decided to visit Grand Haven for the first time on Saturday. They watched the fireworks show in front of the boats at Municipal Marina.

“A friend of mine grew up in the area and he said, ‘Oh, you got to go to the Coast Guard Festival and see the fireworks,” Mike said. “And it’s great. It’s awesome.”

Alexis took home a souvenir: a 2-inch-long chunk of ash from the fireworks that fell next to her.

To see videos of the Grand Parade and fireworks show, and more videos from the 2011 festival, click here.

More photos from the festival finale will be published in Monday's print and e-edition versions of the Grand Haven Tribune.


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