This Friday, Grand Haven residents and visitors will pay tribute to the local waterways while recognizing the annual salmon migration with two full days of events.
Beginning with the fish boil, an event presented by the Sons of the American Legion, the 16th annual Grand Haven Salmon Festival will start at 4:30 p.m. Friday and will wrap up with entertainment at the Musical Fountain, slated for 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
“Festival attendees will enjoy a weekend full of food; Michigan wine, beer and cider; live music; art; family fun; and much more,” said Marci Cisneros, the Grand Haven Area Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director and director of the festival.
Cisneros said the annual fish boil is one of the highlights of the festival, with dinner – salmon, potatoes, onion, corn and a roll – lasting until 7:30 p.m. at the Municipal Marina, 101 N. Harbor Ave., and live entertainment continuing until 8:30 p.m. She estimates 1,000 plates of food will be served.
“If you have never been to a salmon boil before, I encourage you to give it a try,” she said. “It is delicious!”
Getting the events rolling on Saturday, festival attendees can participate in the Salmon Run, consisting of 5K and 10K runs and a walk from 8-10 a.m. Youngsters can look forward to events in the KidZone, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., which will include face painting, a live fishing pond, arts and crafts, and more.
Saturday also will include the Michigan Wine, Beer and Hard Cider Tasting and Salmon Cookoff from 1-5 p.m., at the marina.
“Area restaurants are very creative and come up with some pretty amazing dishes,” Cisneros said, noting the tasting and cookoff draw approximately 3,000 people annually.
After festival-goers enjoy their meals, they will be able to recycle or compost everything, as the Salmon Festival is continuing its journey to being a 100 percent sustainable event.
“Everything we provide at the festival on Friday and Saturday is compostable,” Cisneros said. “We have signage at every container with photos explaining what is acceptable in that receptacle. Plus, we have an outstanding ‘green’ team that closely monitors vendors and patrons to make sure there is not much, if any, cross contamination.”
Attendees also may look forward to the grape stomp competition, at 2 p.m. Saturday The winner will be given a sash and crown.
A full schedule of events can be found at ghsalmonfest.com/schedule.