While the scent of cooking fish filled Grand Haven’s Municipal Marina, the hungry crowd talked, laughed and danced in line before receiving their plate of food on Friday.

The Salmon Boil, presented by the Sons of the American Legion (SAL), was the starting event of the 16th annual Grand Haven Salmon Festival.

“It’s a good time and the food is great,” said Josh Larabee, a Robinson Township resident who volunteered for the Salmon Boil last year and decided to come back and cook this year. “It’s like a fish fry at home, just a lot bigger.”

Paul Kubicek, SAL adjutant who helps organize the boil, said volunteers normally serve more than 900 dinners of boiled salmon, potatoes, onions, corn and a roll. Most years, he said, SAL sells out of food. 

“This year, we increased the amount of salmon a bit,” he said, noting more than 500 pounds of the fish were filleted Friday morning in preparation of the boil. 

Kubicek said money raised from the event go to help veterans organizations, such as the VA’s work with homeless veterans and the Grand Rapids Veterans Home.

“It’s neat seeing the community coming together for this,” he said. 

While attendees patiently waited for their turn in line, or found a seat to sit and enjoy their meal, The Reason played various tunes.

“It’s nice to see everyone out enjoying the night,” said Willa Smitko, who was there with some friends.

The Salmon Festival continues today with the Salmon Run, KidZone, Wine Tasting and Salmon Cookoff, grape stomp, and more. A full schedule can be found at ghsalmonfest.com/schedule.

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