The streets of Grand Haven were lined with people late Saturday morning as the annual Coast Guard Festival Grand Parade marched through town.

Many people were prepared with tents set up in spots marked off a couple of days prior. Many had lawn chairs and some form of beverage or popsicle, as it was a very humid 88 degrees at its hottest by early afternoon. Still, 100 unique floats made their way along the route in an over two-hour-long parade.

(See a full photo gallery of the parade here.)

“It seemed like everybody had a good time,” said Bill Herbst, who was announcing the parade floats as they passed by for the dignitaries that were seated in front of Grand Haven City Hall. “It wasn’t as hot for me as the people going by. It’s impressive that all the bands can do what they do in the heat.”

The dignitaries were U.S. Coast Guard officers and their families, some stationed in Grand Haven, some stationed elsewhere.

Herbst said it was his first time doing this job, and that his father is on the festival committee and his grandfather served in the U.S. Coast Guard. He grew up in Grand Haven and attended the festival many years in a row.

“(The dignitaries) were very appreciative,” Herbst said. “They’re very engaged and happy, and my sense is they really appreciate the respect every participant shows them.”

As each float or group passed by the dignitaries, some would stop and salute, many waved, and musical acts stopped and played a special song or a Coast Guard salute song.

“Everybody that comes by is appreciating them,” Herbst said. “The whole festival is for them.”

Floats from all over the Tri-Cities area were entered into the parade this year.

“Especially after the last couple years, everybody’s back in person and able to come out more than they could,” Herbst said. “It’s a great part of Grand Haven.”

The Scottville Clown Band closed out the parade, as they have for many years as a tradition.

“I remember them closing it out when I was like 10 years old,” Herbst said. “If they weren’t here, I don’t know how else you’d end the parade.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.