Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival canceled because of coronavirus crisis

People visit the Gand Haven South Pierhead Inner Light at sunset during the 95th annual Coast Guard Festival, in Grand Haven on July 31, 2019.


By MELISSA FRICK | MLive.com | Published: May 20, 2020

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GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (Tribune News Service) — The Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival has been canceled this summer due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, officials said Wednesday, May 20.

Festival organizers announced the cancellation of this year’s event in a news release Wednesday, May 20.

“This decision is difficult and necessary to ensure a healthy community,” organizers wrote. “Since 1924, The Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival has continuously honored the men and women of the United States Coast Guard for their heroic service in pursuit of our maritime safety and national security with ten days of public recognition."

The festival, which draws thousands to the lakeshore town each summer, was scheduled to take place from July 26 through Aug. 4. Last year’s event attracted up to 350,000 people.

The Coast Guard festival, which honors men and women serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, brings popular attractions like a parade, carnival, concerts and fireworks to the small West Michigan town.

The festival will resume July 30-Aug. 8, 2021.

Last year, the 95th annual Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival celebrated the city’s status as the first “Coast Guard City, USA” while commemorating the service of veterans and especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while fulfilling the military branch’s motto of “SEMPER PARATUS” (Always Ready).

The cancellation adds the Coast Guard to the growing list of popular summer festivals and events that have already been canceled due to the coronavirus crisis in Michigan. That list includes the Miss Michigan competition, the Electric Forest festival, Grand Rapids’ Festival of the Arts and the Michigan Irish Music Festival.

Ottawa County has 573 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Tuesday, May 19, and 25 deaths linked to the virus, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

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Local law enforcement, fire departments and Coast Guard personnel compete in the Waterfall Competition during the 95th annual Coast Guard Festival, in Grand Haven, Mich., on July 31, 2019.