Winterfest events help to save the catwalk

Alex Doty • Jan 28, 2017 at 7:30 PM

Downtown Grand Haven was the place to be on Saturday afternoon for all things Winterfest and Save the Catwalk related.

Both the Winterfest Dumpster Dive and Sleepwalker Run, which took place during the Bonfire Bash in downtown Grand Haven, and a fundraiser at the Eagles, benefitted the catwalk fundraising efforts.

“I think it’s a great tie for the community. Winterfest at it’s heart is a community event; it’s very grassroots,” Winterfest organizer Kevin Galbavi said. “We’re just maintaining that. It’s just a perfect fit.”

Galbavi noted that people associate the catwalk with Grand Haven community.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm and excitement around our identity as a community, and that catwalk plays a part in it,” Galbavi said. “It’s great to have all these different organizations and different opportunities to save the catwalk.”

Hundreds of people showed up to the events on Saturday afternoon, some to watch and others to participate.

“In very typical Winterfest fashion, it’s very ‘show up and have fun, and do it,’” Galbavi noted.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was the Dumpster Dive, which had participants jump into a dumpster filled with ice-cold water in front of the Bonfire Bash crowd.

Two of the dumpster divers were Grand Haven brother and sister, Madison and Brody Houle.

“We found out about it today (Saturday),” Madison Houle said. “I was looking up when the ski competition was, and i saw it and said ‘this sounds fun,’ so I forced (Brody) to do it with me.”

Both siblings said the experience was chilling, and Brody Houle noted that he couldn’t wait for his sister to jump in.

“I was yelling at her to go,” he said “I was like ‘go, go go.’”

But even though the jump was frigid, the brother/sister combo said they liked that they were able to support the catwalk restoration effort.

“I love the catwalk; it makes the pier look so much cooler,” Brody Houle said. “It looks so much different (without it).”

Madison Houle noted that she loves the catwalk, and was sad it got taken down temporarily.

Others participating in the dive were just as happy to help the catwalk.

Loutit District Library Director John Martin jumped in after receiving pledges of support from library staff. Martin said he thinks the library raised between $1,400 and $1,500.

“It was our little bit of a contribution to help save the catwalk,” Martin said. “We’re happy to do all of those little things.”

Added Martin: “It’s awesome and it’s a great community, so we’re happy to do it.”

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