Patriotic preparations

What does the Fourth of July mean to you?
R.J. Wolcott
Jul 2, 2012


Is it about food, family and friends? Or is it just about watching things go boom? What about celebrating and commemorating those who have fought to preserve our rights and liberties?

Whatever the case, Michigan residents will be heading to their favorite vacation spots to celebrate, including Grand Haven.

The big draw this year will be the fireworks, happening at dusk on July 4.. Area residents and visitors alike will flock to the Waterfront Stadium in downtown Grand Haven to watch the awe-inspiring spectacle.

Even though the holiday is on a Wednesday this year, the event is expected to be one of the largest events in the area this summer, trailing only the Coast Guard Festival.

Sam Henson with the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety said officials expect somewhere between 75,000 and 100,000 people downtown during the fireworks display. To handle the increased population, several city streets, including Franklin and Washington, will be converted into one-way traffic.

AAA Michigan predicts that 1.4 million Michigan residents will travel during the holiday this year, up 16 percent from 2011. This number of prospective travelers would be the highest since 2008.

Nancy Cain, spokeswoman for AAA, said that having the holiday fall in the middle of the week is going to positively impact the amount of traveling.

“A lot of people are planning on taking the whole week off," she said, "some starting the Friday before."

This increase in travel will boost local economies that depend heavily upon the tourism industry during the summer months, Cain said.

The big destinations for the July 4 holiday are places near the coastline, particularly where there are a number of campgrounds. Large resort cities like Traverse City and Grand Haven will draw large crowds over the week.

The week of July 4 is expected to be the biggest week of summer travel in the state because of the mid-week date, less expensive gas prices and improved consumer confidence.

Another big factor for tourists during the holiday week will be the weather. National Weather Service representative Jim Maczko said they expect the weather to remain warm and dry. He said this pattern creates a dangerous atmosphere for fireworks.

Residents lighting fireworks should be careful and ensure all their debris is put out properly, officials say.

“Dry conditions and heat increase the risk associated with fireworks,” Maczko said.

For the latest forecast for the Grand Haven area, click here.


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