By Ashley Nation
Every year, the men and women of the United States Coast Guard are honored at the Coast Guard Festival in Grand Haven, Michigan. This year, the festival was held from July 29th to August 7th. If you didn’t get the chance to attend, no worries; we’ll fill you in on everything you missed at the Coast Guard Festival 2022.

The Beginnings of the Coast Guard Festival

The festival began as a picnic gathering in 1924. The picnic was held during the annual rowing competition for service members stationed in Grand Haven. The first official festival was opened to the public in 1937 and established as the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival, Inc. Grand Haven was the perfect location for the festival to be held, as it has a long history with the United States Coast Guard. Many operations have taken place here, and the locals are able to honor those they’ve lost and the other courageous service members of the Coast Guard. From small beginnings, the Coast Guard Festival Grand Haven is now a nationally recognized festival that over 350,000 attendees come from far and wide to be a part of.

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Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival 2022

The Coast Guard Festival schedule is always jam-packed with parades, tributes, games, live entertainment, ship tours, and more. In 2022, they kicked off the week with the annual lighthouse Quilt Show “Of Sky and Sea,'' where service members shared over 100 quilts and the stories behind them. Tradition and history play a large part in the festival, and this fact shines through every event. One of the most anticipated events every year is the Coast Guard Festival 5K Run led by the YMCA. They also host a 10k run and a 1-mile Family Fun Run. Almost every event at the festival is family oriented, so young kids will have a blast. After the Family Coast Guard Festival Run, they host an annual Kids Parade that starts at 5th St. & Franklin and goes all the way to 1st St. Washington. The Grand Coast Guard Festival Parade is free and open to the public every year. If you attend, you’ll get to see more than 100 entries saluting the men and women of the United States Coast Guard. You can also sign up to be a part of the festival and walk through the streets with your own personal tribute. Stay tuned for when applications open up for the year 2023! At night, the Waterford Stadium hosts a grand performance, “A Tribute to Queen.'' The Simply Queen band is led by the talented Freddie Mercury impersonator, Rick Rock. Rick Rock sings alongside Guitarist Bob Wegner, Drummer Phil Charlette, and Bassist Mitch Taylor. The band performs all the iconic Queen songs we all know and love, live and on stage! There’s also a Parrots of the Caribbean Jimmy Buffett Tribute and an Eagles Tribute Band. Most importantly, the festival is centered around the National Coast Guard Memorial Service held in Escanaba Park. They pay homage to the Coast Guard personnel who have “passed over the bar” in the past year. Many of the events are free, but for the ticketed events, meals, and lodging, you’ll want to make sure you have a bit of extra pocket change. Choose which events are most important to you and your family beforehand to be prepared for your trip! Download the festival app to be able to locate events, buy tickets, find food, and more.

When Is the Coast Guard Festival in Grand Haven 2023?

Every year, the festival is held from late July to early August. If you missed this year’s festivities, you can definitely start planning for next year’s festival at around the same time. The Coast Guard Festival is rich in history and offers an action-packed 10-day experience. Be sure to thank all the Coast Guard personnel you see for their service and enjoy the small town of Grand Haven.

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Image: grandhaven.org




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