While Coast Guard Festival is a huge hot button term around Grand Haven, drawing in over 300,000 visitors this summer alone, September is all about salmon in West Michigan.
September 12 – 14, 2014 is a weekend to plan for as the Grand Haven Salmon Festival enters its 11th year. Starting on Friday, the event begins with a fish boil kicking things off from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. with music by Just Joe until 8:30. Early the next morning, there’s a 5K Salmon Run starting at the Mary A White School at 8:30 a.m., but you can only participate in that if you’re not fishing! The Grand Haven Steelheaders are supporting a fishing contest that begins at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, so I’d plan to roll out of bed bright and early for that – the prize winnings up to 5th place are fantastic. The beauty of this festival, which can’t always be said based on Michigan weather, is that it really does coincide perfectly with the salmon migration. No one fishing is leaving empty-handed!
For the littler fisherpeople, there’s a Kid Zone from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday, and if you’re too big for that, check out the Art Fair until 6 p.m. In the afternoon, folks are invited to enjoy the fruits of the fisherpeople’s labors; the tasting pavilion plans to host the Michigan Wine, Beer and Hard Cider Tasting and Salmon Cook-off. There will be tons of live entertainment sponsored by the Sons of the American Legion until midnight, so if you have any hours free on that Saturday, I believe they have covered them all!
One of the truly exciting things worth mentioning about this festival is their ongoing commitment to being the first zero waste to landfill event in Michigan. Although this initiative began in 2007, the green team put in place in 2011 has really made an impact on where the festival waste winds up. Last year, Chef Container, a local composting business in Holland, was able to process everything from the fish boil event. Festival Director Marci Cisneros says, “We worked hard to accomplish that goal and we’re hoping other events will follow our lead.” Even the plates and cups will be made using recycled wheat grass and corn, making the ‘paper’ products fully compostable!
Make sure to follow the festival on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay posted on even more events and details. As we all start planning for fall festivals in Michigan, tell us about your favorite Mitten festivals. We’d love to come check them out!