GH is not your toilet or trash can

Record crowds at the Coast Guard Festival this year were both a boon and a boo for Grand Haven.
Aug 9, 2013

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 or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.


Grand Haven Happy

Something that really seem to set dozens of vistors off in an otherwise excellent festival day was that the marina public bathrooms and the public bathrooms by the fish cleaning station were closed and locked less than an hour after the fireworks ended and while there were still thousands of people still on the waterfront. We don't know what other ones were closed or locked. It's just NOT right! We saw many both males and females searching, asking people, law enforcement personnel, the other RV's and us for a restroom was to use and then with none open finally going behind and between the dumpsters and the Sail Club building etc and urinating etc. Even had them doing it against the wall or behind it in the old "Piano factory" parking lot not 20 feet from our RV where we've been for the festival Fri & Sat for 11 years + now. We know what goes on and there were many witnesses! The RV'ers have their own bathrooms in their RV's so it was not a problem for them. I should have taken some pics but didn't think of it at the time!

We had heard several comments of "we'll not be back if that's the way the town treats us" and other comments of how mad the people were about it as when you gotta go, you gotta go! The city and the CG Festival Committee can do better!!! There were basically no porti toilets to be found in the area either so they had no choice. THEY WERE VISITORS AND DON"T KNOW THE PORTI TOILET FACILITY LOCATIONS and many had smaller kids! We also at the same time could see many law enforcement personnel just standing around a block away and they could have secured the bathrooms if that was a concern. The Sheriff's trailer was less than a block from us also. OR how about an attendant being at the bathrooms for two plus hours after the fireworks ended to police them? It's not a small gathering of people afterall and this is not the first year or the first year of this BS. This MUST be addressed by the Coast Guard Festival Committee and/or the City Leaders!


This is the dumbest story I ever read. Wasted my time. This is what big crowds do. Duh!




More waste containers and porta toilets could not hurt. Some residents yards were used for urinals since some people had to park so far away. It's better to have too many than too few.


"This is what big crowds do". Wow. What barn where these people brought up in? It's called lowering standards and the lack of anything considered appropriate. From the dress to the language and the behavior, this is the general public folks and it only going to get worse in Carniville.


I found something else to be a little more unsightly or maybe disturbing. Did anyone see those high school boys in those thongs? It had about maybe 3 square inches covering things - if that. The butt was hanging completely out. They were more naked than any female running around. It must be legal because they walked right by the police. They were completely naked - except maybe for the tiny fabric cover the front. There is no way I would have ever walked around like that during Coast Guard. A corn field when I was teenager yes. But not in downtown like that! My son asked those kids why? They said because its equal rights - girls can do it, then so can boys. I just don't know anymore


I guess the million dollar question for the "boys" in the thongs, might have been - when were they to be considered "men" as only a "boy" could be covered by a small piece of fabric in the front....

Tri-cities realist

When I first read this, I thought zwest was kidding, however it appears that isn't the case. We can all thank the radical feminist movement for this line of thinking. It's not that we all have to be treated equally, we now have to be equal in EVERY way, even though we all know there are differences between men and women. Fun times!


"We can all thank the radical feminist movement for this line of thinking". TCR - "...what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I've ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response was there anything that could even be considered a rational thought". Sorry - I was inspired by another one of VTI's always pertinent youtube videos.

Why play the blame game? Maybe it was just a bunch of smart-a@@ young bucks trying to get the attention of some cougars.


Lanivan I believe you hit the nail on the head when you said " trying to get the attention ...". They wanted attention and they got it and now they are being mentioned here. I have no idea if there is any mention of dress or lack there of in city ordinances but that might be a good place to inquire. I was surprised to learn that some major retailers have no regulations re clothing or foot wear.


What? Talkin 'bout insanely idiotic things to say Lanni. Attention of cougars...really!


I blame all this talk about 'potty's'.....anyway, of course these boys were just being rebellious and looking for attention, just like many of us did when that age. My big moment was instigating a group of us to wear bermuda shorts (madras!) to high school when only skirts/dresses were permitted....

Tri-cities realist

Well apparently it was coherant enough for you to understand. Until we know their motivation, we are all free to wonder.

Tri-cities realist



Honestly, who the heck cares what some teenage boys were wearing? It would have made me giggle and most likely, say something inappropriate, such as "I'm sorry that is all the material you need". As far as port-a-potties and litter, I would think that the extra shot of taxes the city gains from the businesses, they could pony up for some overtime.....


Hopefully the city does not let people camp in trailers downtown on vacation land. The last I knew it was a city ord violation.


What the heck is vacation land?

It's just me

The Coast Guard Festival committee needs to make arrangements for more port-a-potties and trash cans to help prevent this from happening again. We had to walk 6 blocks after fire works to find a trash can for our garbage and our daughter waited 45 minutes for one of the very few port-a-potties downtown. This is unacceptable! We heard many people asking where they could dispose of garbage and they were told by others "we looked and couldn't find one so we left it on the curb". We were along the water front and unless you were near the concessions there was not a visible garbage can. While walking back to our car the first port-a-potty we saw except for the few by Dairy Treat were at the Loutit Library and how does that help the people downtown? This was very poor planning all the way around!!!


GH take note and ask those in Muskegon who where in charge of the Unity fest @ Heritage Landing. Wow amazing how clean the area was... and esp the women's restrooms with privacy tents around portal-johns along with a working sink, soap, and paper towel. Perhaps more volunteers are needed to help out with Coast Guard Fest.

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