The festival kicks off Friday night with the Fish Boil presented by the Sons of the American Legion and continues Saturday with activities for kids, a fishing competition, and a wine tasting and salmon cookoff.
“The event was designed to mark the passing of summer, promote the area as a unique fall tourist destination, and celebrate the fall harvest season and salmon migration,” said Marci Cisneros, executive director of the Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
About 7,500 people attend the festival each year.
In 2007, festival organizers made an effort to be better environmental stewards, Cisneros said. The festival earned the Zero Waste to Landfill status in 2013.
“We start each year with that same goal in mind — keep the festival ‘green,’” Cisneros said. “Those decisions mean all the product we purchase for the event is compostable.”
The festival doesn’t use or allow plastic one-use water bottles or plastic bags. Any non-recyclable or non-compostable items have to be removed by the vendor or person, Cisneros said.
Last year, 97.5 percent of the festival’s waste was composted and recycled. The remaining 2.5 percent, or 44.7 pounds, of refuse was taken to the waste-to-energy incinerator, Cisneros said.
Cisneros said the best part for her is the “festival family.”
“After 15 years, we have a family of sponsors, partners, volunteers and attendees,” she said. “I love seeing everyone come together to make this community event happen. It’s a lot of work, but it’s rewarding to see all the happy faces.”
Given the construction going on now on Harbor Drive, Cisneros encourages festival-goers to plan ahead and be patient because parking and traffic might be a little more challenging this year.
— The Sons of the American Legion Fish Boil: 4:30-7:30 p.m. Friday at the Municipal Marina. The cost is $12 for adults and $5 for ages 12 and younger. The event features a traditional salmon boil with salmon, potatoes, onions, corn and rolls. Pop, beer and water will be available for purchase. Take 2 will provide live music from 4:30-8:30 p.m.
— The Big King Fishing Contest will get underway at 6 a.m. Saturday and weigh-in will take place between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. at the Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium. An awards ceremony will immediately follow the weigh-in.
— From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, children can participate in crafts, face painting and games, and visit educational and environmental booths during KidZone at the Municipal Marina.
— A nature-themed Art Fair will feature up-cycled items, handmade art and a green market. It will take place 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Brass River Plaza.
— The Wine Tasting and Salmon Cookoff will take place from 1-5 p.m. at the Municipal Marina. More than 50 beer/cider/wine samplings will be available, and cookoff contestants will prepare salmon samples. Packages start at $25 a person. Winners of the cookoff will be announced at 4 p.m. A silent auction will be held 1-4 p.m., and funds will be used to help the festival remain sustainable. From 1-5 p.m. live music will be provided by Mike Skory, Rachel and Greg Nagy, and Abbey Road 2.0.
— Cooking demonstrations will take place at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.; and Rycenga’s Purple Romp Grape Stomp starts at 2 p.m.
— A fall hike will take place 2-4 p.m. Sunday at the Kitchel-Lindquist Dunes.