Coast Guard City U.S.A. Grand Haven

The 2020 Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival

If you are familiar with Grand Haven, you have probably heard of the Coast Guard Festival. If not, you may be surprised to know that this is Grand Haven’s most well-attended Festival, bringing in between 350,000 and 400,000 people each year. Whether you are familiar or not, this Blog will help you learn more about the Festival. We have compiled an overview of the Festival’s top events and their scheduled dates and list of activities.

What is it? The Coast Guard Festival is an annual event dating back to 1924, which honors the U.S. Coast Guard and those who sacrificed their lives in the service of our country. Grand Haven is known as Coast Guard City, U.S.A. What is a Coast Guard City you ask? According to Wikipedia, “A Coast Guard City is a United States municipality designated as such by the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard on application of the local civilian government. It is an honorary designation intended to recognize communities of special importance to the U.S. Coast Guard.” Grand Haven was the first City chosen and continues its support for the United States Coast Guard.

When is it? The 2020 Coast Guard Festival starts on July 24th and ends August 2nd. The final weekend tends to be the busiest with the most activities taking place, but there are daily events that are worth attending, so make sure to look at the entire schedule of events! For future years, the Coast Guard traditionally starts the last Friday of July and wraps up on the first Saturday of August.

Where is it? The 2020 Coast Guard Festival is located throughout the city of Grand Haven depending on the event. However, the majority of the events are located on the Boardwalk stretch along the river between the pier and the Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium. The Coast Guard ships dock in front of the Coast Guard station near Escanaba Park and that is where the ship tours take place throughout the week.  The carnival takes place downtown on Washington Avenue and the parking lots nearby. The nightly tribute bands play at Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium. The big firework display that marks the end of the event can be viewed along the river near where the Musical Fountain takes place.

What are the main events? There are lots of different events that take place throughout the week but the main ones are listed here in chronological order:

  • YMCA Coast Guard 5K run- July 25
  • Cardboard Boat Race- July 25 (held on the river near the Waterfront Stadium)
  • Kids Parade- July 25
  • Music Cover Bands – nightly at Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium
  • Carnival- daily starting July 26
  • Ship Parade- July 27
  • Coast Guard Ship tours- daily starting July 27 (times vary)
  • Kids Day- July 28
  • Art Fair- July 28-Aug 1
  • Coast Guard Memorial Service- August 1
  • Grand Parade- August 1 (located through the downtown Washington Ave area)
  • Coast Guard Fireworks- August 1

We appreciate you checking out our 2020 Coast Guard Festival blog and hope you have found some valuable information. This is a really fun event for people of all ages which is why it brings in 350,000- 400,000 visitor each year! We are honored to support our US Coast Guard here at Coast Guard City, USA. For more info, check out the 2020 Coast Guard Festival website. This information will help you be ready for your best visit ever- as the Coast Guards motto states: “SEMPER PARATUS (Always Ready).”

For great accommodations located directly across the street from Lake Michigan and the beach, visit Looking Glass Beachfront Inn or BOOK HERE! Looking Glass Beachfront Inn is located within 1 mile of most of the events and directly across the street from the beach with Amazing views of Lake Michigan.