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Kudos to Kids Day

Marie Havenga • Aug 1, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Kasey Kaiser of St. Louis, Missouri, is no stranger to the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival. 

She's attended every year with her family since she was 2. That's 37 festivals without a miss.

These days, 39-year-old Kaiser brings her own kids. On Tuesday, she and her children — Bailey, 7; Gannon, 6; Rita, 3; and Marie, 2 — romped around Mulligan’s Hollow during the Coast Guard Festival Kids Day.

“I'm carrying on the tradition with my kids,” Kaiser said as she watched Bailey swing a bat at a wiffle ball lofted on air currents. “When I was a kid, my parents would give me a dollar and say, 'Be back at dusk.' We would ride the trolley and get ice cream ... it's our favorite time of the year.”

Kaiser said her children dressed in Coast Guard attire and were mistaken for Coasties. At heart, they are.

“I told people, 'No, we're not in the Coast Guard, we're just loving our country and love the people who protect us,’” Kaiser said. “This event is so family friendly and we enjoy seeing the love for one of our military branches.”

See related photo gallery: “Coast Guard Kids Day.”

Following Kids Day, the Kaisers had a picnic on the waterfront, then toured the Coast Guard ships.

“The kids had a blast,” she said.

The Kaiser kids weren't alone. Hundreds of children played in front of a bubble machine, bounced in inflatables, ran through fire truck spray, built miniature boats, toured emergency vehicles and munched on hot dogs, chips and sweet treats at Mulligan’s Hollow on Tuesday.

Annaveh Aguilar, 8, of Wisconsin was there with her grandpa, Spring Lake resident Bill Nolan. Annaveh said she loved getting her face painted like a princess, building a boat in The Home Depot tent and sliding down the inflatables.

But the absolute best part? “The games and bubbles,” she said.

“And spending the day with her grandpa,” Nolan added, smiling.

Grand Haven resident Cheyee Ortega and her 10-month-old son, Caspian, were attending their first Kids Day.

“We're absolutely loving it,” Ortega said. “I knew it was a big brouhaha, but I had no idea it would be this fantastic. I'm really impressed with the scale of it. It's overwhelming in a good way. My son loves kids, but I don't think he's ever seen so many kids in one place.”

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