Gonzales and his parents, Shane and Nicole Cartner, moved to the area in June for Shane’s latest assignment as chief of electronics for the Coast Guard in Grand Haven.
Shane said they liked the area so far and was looking forward to winter.
They watched the constant activity as children and their parents wandered from the picnic area to the games, entertainment, playground and displays offered by the Coast Guard, Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department (marine, mounted and k-9 patrol), Ferrysburg Fire Department on North Ottawa Community Hospital ambulance.
Lt. Kristopher Nolan, originally of Coopersville, welcomed visitors aboard the Coast Guard’s 32-foot TPSB (transportable port security boat).
“This unit since 2012 has been in Kuwait, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and South Korea,” Nolan said. The last time he attended the festival picnic was in 2011.
Crew members were dressed in camouflage and helped children try on flak vests and other gear. On board the boat, visitors tried out the seats and posed for pictures next to the machine guns.
The Coast Guard helicopter, always a festival favorite, was also on the ground for the picnic.
The helicopter is based in Detroit, but is stationed in Muskegon for the summer.
David Segerlind of Ferrysburg watched while his 7-year-old son, Indio, clambered over the helicopter.
“We just came here to check it out,” he said, noting that Indio had already participated in the children’s games.
Boy Scout Troop 37 of Spring Lake handled the games and the food for the event.
Entertainment included a performance by the Prevailing Winds Community Band and juggler Tim Salisbury.