The crowds brought with them additional challenges — the need for maps, extra portable toilets and the frequent emptying of trash bins. They also brought with them a whole lot of spending power, which likely translated to happy business owners.
What seemed to be lacking among quite a few festival-goers, however, was a basic sense of decency and respect.
Looking out over the swarming mass of humanity, it wasn’t difficult to spot young adults in various states of undress. It wasn’t uncommon to hear snippets of particularly filthy language used within earshot of many small children.
And it especially wasn’t a task to find people treating our fair city like a toilet or trash can — take your pick.
The entire festival is about paying tribute and honoring our Coast Guardsmen and women in Coast Guard City, USA.
Yet some people couldn’t bring themselves to walk a half-block to a trash can to dispose of their rubbish in our fair city. They simply threw it on the ground, or left it on a flower planter.
Some of the same people who camped out days in advance of the parade to mark off their perfect parade vantage points also couldn’t take the extra 10 minutes to peel up the tape they used to stake claim to their spots. Nope, it really would be too difficult to pick up after themselves.
And then there were the folks who found alleyways, trees, bushes or other surfaces to be their personal toilets. Because, really, why wait in line for the many conveniently placed portable toilets?
Beyond the general disrespect for our city, we found the lack of respect for families to be particularly disheartening. Children have eyes and ears, and they viewed and heard behavior that is unacceptable.
This festival is over and, thanks to the hard work of our city workers, the downtown is once again pristine.
We certainly hope, however, that next year’s festival-goers will clean up their act. If not, we’d urge local officials to take it upon themselves to make it a little more difficult to be so disrespectful — that might mean strictly enforcing ordinances against public urination, public drunkenness and littering.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.