Should I list each big festival event this weekend as a separate item, it would take all and then-some of the Top 5. Instead, I'll list the Coast Guard Festival as the runaway top pick for things to do this weekend, Aug. 3-5. Take in all of it, some of it or none of it — that's up to you!
In any case, the dust settles Sunday in downtown Grand Haven, then the pirates come to town. Loutit District Library's annual Pirate Week begins Monday. Visit loutitlibrary.org for details.
(1) Coast Guard Festival — The bigger events this weekend include the Coast Guard Craft Fair at Grand Haven's Central Park, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; Walk of Coast Guard History and Youth Ambassador announcement at Grand Haven City Hall, noon Friday; National Coast Guard Memorial Service, 4 p.m. Friday at Escanaba Park; Don Middlebrook & Living Soul performs at Waterfront Stadium, 8 p.m. Friday ($8); Meijer Grand Parade, just before noon Saturday, downtown; "Salute to Heroes" show at Waterfront Stadium, 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and it's all capped by the Fireworks Extravaganza, after the 10 p.m. Musical Fountain show, along the waterfront. The downtown carnival is open through late Saturday (1 a.m. Sunday). For more, visit coastguardfest.org.
(2) Chicken barbecue — at the American Legion Post, 700 S. Harbor Ave., Grand Haven, noon to 7 p.m. Saturday. You might have heard the firestorm over the Scottville Clown Band not being invited to perform its annual free Monday night show at Waterfront Stadium. Word is out that the band will be playing at the American Legion after the Grand Parade. It's open to the public, and the chicken dinners are $8 a plate for adults and $4 a plate for children.
(3) Karisa Wilson — performs at C2C Gallery, 41 Washington Ave., from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3. Karisa (pronounced "kah-REE-sah") is an award-winning singer-songwriter from Grand Rapids. She writes and sings a blend of Indie, pop, jazz and blues. See karisawilson.com.
(4) Water Safety Surf Rescue Class — 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 5, at the Grand Haven State Park Pavilion. It is free and open to the public. For reservations, call Dave Benjamin at 708-903-0166 or visit the Facebook page: facebook.com/events/333151893426322/. Organizers say attendance at this class could save lives on the Great Lakes, save your life or the lives of loved ones.
(5) Beach Cleanup and Picnic Lunch — 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, Aug. 5, also at Grand Haven State Park. The public is invited to help the Alliance for the Great Lakes and state park in this great endeavor to clean up the beach after the Coast Guard Festival. Volunteers will not only remove litter but will record what they find to be used in pollution prevention and education. A picnic lunch follows the work. For details and to register, visit greatlakesadopt.org; or call Jamie Cross, Adopt-a-Beach manager for the alliance, at 616-850-0745.
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