Ordinarily, I don’t pay much attention to the various summer activities in the Tri-Cities area. I don’t like crowds because I shuffle along so slowly that I only get in the way. Also, I worry a lot about being run down by a 3-year-old.
But I do enjoy the kites. I understand that some of them are quite spectacular, both in their size and in the stunts that their fliers perform.
I often wonder why the City of Grand Haven doesn’t support the kite flying more vigorously. It seems to be a natural for this area.
It was only a few weeks ago that the Tribune published an article to the effect that the Grand Haven beach was voted one of the five best venues in the United States for kite flying. Voted by whom, I don’t know — probably by the kite-flying enthusiasts themselves.
Yet the events leading up to last weekend’s festival didn’t even make the front page. It was put onto Page 3. I should think that the powers that be would jump at the opportunity for free publicity to encourage more kite fliers to take an interest in the community. Not just for kite flying, but for related activities such as kite surfing. I should think that the city would seek as much publicity for such events as possible.
I always did think that the Coast Guard Festival was a bit hokey. If you were to select an individual at random in the United States and ask that person where Coast Guard City USA is, where do you think they would guess it is? Probably San Diego, New Orleans, New York or some such city where the Coast Guard is really important — but never little old Grand Haven, Mich.
I think that even the Coast Guard thinks it a little passé, especially the brass. Certainly they are reluctant to spend the money to bring their ships here for such a frivolous purpose in light of the so-called sequester. I think the brass of the Coast Guard have been flattered and honored to the point of embarrassment, although I anticipate letters to the editor to the contrary.
The Coast Guard Festival is also expensive to the city and, evidently, to the Jaycees, which is finding it difficult to pay for last year’s July 4 fireworks. Don’t expect me to contribute to such frivolity. One set of fireworks per annum is enough.
I don’t mean to embarrass the Coast Guard, for I think it is a fine institution, and an essential and necessary service. If I were young enough and interested in a military career, I would certainly make the Coast Guard a high priority.
Ergo, why not take advantage of the natural facilities that we have been blessed with and encourage the almost free publicity we therefore have? We don’t need fireworks, for kites can be flown spectacularly at night.
Incidentally, kudos go to Mackinaw Kite Co. for making kite enthusiasts aware of the Grand Haven facilities and making this past weekend a success.
Actually, if I had my druthers, I’d druther have no festivities at all — rather, leave Grand Haven to the Grand Havenites, but that isn't very wise as far as the local economy is concerned.
Well, this weekend marks the beginning of summer. So, I hope you enjoy it and all of its festivities. Go fly a kite.
— By Ralph Wiltse, Tribune community columnist