Grand Haven Tribune: Festival still on despite flooded roads

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Festival still on despite flooded roads

Cora Hall • Jun 6, 2019 at 12:00 PM

As the Feast of the Strawberry Moon approaches this weekend, access to Harbor Island has become a concern with the high water levels this year.

According to the director of the West Michigan Historical Alliance, which hosts the history festival, multiple roads leading to the island are closed or underwater.

“The only real concern we have is access to the island,” Mark King said. “Access to Coho Drive from the south is closed and there is an intersection west of (U.S.) 31 on Coho Drive that is under water.”

Grand Haven Public Works Director Derek Gajdos said they are going to do everything they can to dry up the roads leading to Harbor Island for this weekend. The increase in traffic will only be an issue if they have to close roads down, which Gajdos said they will not do unless it becomes a safety issue.

The south end of the field hasn’t been mowed in weeks due to the saturated ground. Gajdos said that when they attempted to mow it, the equipment sunk into the ground and tore up the turf.

However, King is still optimistic for a good turnout with a forecast for much better weather than last year’s festival received.

“We are always optimistic for a good turnout, especially this year since Mother Nature wasn't as kind to us last year as she could have been,” he said. “The latest forecast is very promising and we would love a huge turnout.”

Having participated in the Feast of the Strawberry Moon every June since it began 19 years ago, King said he and other re-enactors created the nonprofit WMHA to take over sponsoring the event when the Tri-Cities Historical Museum pulled out in 2016.

“I got involved because a living history event such as the Feast of the Strawberry Moon is an outstanding educational opportunity,” King said. “It gives individuals an opportunity to learn about history in a much different way than reading books and remembering dates. It is an opportunity for all re-enactors to share their passion for history, and to share their knowledge and research in an interactive manner.”

Attendees will be able to experience a variety of lifestyles from the 1700s with re-enactors posing as artisans, voyagers, soldiers and more. Friday will be Kids Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the festival will continue Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5, or $15 for a family. Parking is free.

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