He said free events draw larger crowds, although Waterfront Stadium was packed during Tuesday night’s Water Ski Show.
“I think more and more local families are celebrating the festival as family reunions, and I think that makes up a significant part of our crowd,” Smith said.
Unfavorable weather may have limited last year's Kids Day to a 3,500-person turnout. Smith estimated about 5,000 people attended this year's event at Mulligan's Hollow.
Smith said weather is tricky because, if it’s too hot or cold and wet, people won’t attend.
“We’ve been blessed this week so far,” he said.
Doris Fekken, owner of Jumpin' Java in downtown Grand Haven, said the influx in business seemed to arrive earlier this year.
“It usually doesn’t hit until third day, but this has been much better this year,” the coffee shop owner said.
Fekken said the festival is important for downtown businesses because it provides them with a great increase in sales. To prepare for the increased business, she hires an additional five people and begins ordering stock a few weeks in advance.
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To see more photos from the festival, click here.