Bright colors swoop and soar through the sky above Grand Haven State Park during the annual Great Lakes Kite Festival. Organized by MacKite, the kite festival was first held in 1988 and has been held in Grand Haven every year since.
The festival begins with a one-hour long indoor fly on Friday night. Check out the Great Lakes Kite Festival website for the location.
On Saturday, the festival moves to the Grand Haven State Park beach, where it’s open from 10AM to 5PM on Saturday and 11AM to 5PM on Sunday. There’s a performance field featuring some of the nation’s top kite flyers demonstrating their skills, solo or in groups. There’s also a field of giant kites, some as big as buses, that fly all day Saturday and Sunday, an open flying field where festival-goers can fly their own kites, and an inflatable obstacle course where the kiddos can run off some steam.
If the sight of all those kites floating on the wind inspires you to get one for yourself, head over the outdoor kite store for a great selection of kites and assorted toys.
Whether you’re an avid kite lover or someone just looking for a fun way to spend a few hours, head down to the beach and check it out!
Games in Grand Haven and Michigan City take place over two days, Saturday and Sunday. The beach is divided into several soccer fields where teams made up of boys, girls and adults show off their skills to throngs of onlookers. Don’t be surprised if you spot players and spectators alike staking a dip in the cool Lake Michigan water in between matches.
Groups can sign up at the Soccer in the Sand website. There are 4 players and a goalie on the field per side, and event organizers recommend having 7 to 10 players per team. Players play barefoot or in socks, with special “sand soccer socks” available for purchase at the event.
The 2016 Soccer in the Sand tournaments on the lakeshore take place:
During Restaurant Week Grand Haven’s eateries are offering select lunch and dinner options at great prices to encourage diners to get out there and try something new or just enjoy some old favorites. More than 20 restaurants are taking part in Restaurant Week, offering up $8 lunch and $15 dinner meals. See the list of restaurants and menu options here:
A thought-provoking work of modern art hangs in the space usually taken by a painting of frogs sipping coffee at a local cafe, and people are traipsing into an auto parts store to admire the art. It’s Artwalk time in Grand Haven.
During Artwalk visitors can enjoy Grand Haven’s small-town charm while viewing fun or thought-provoking works of art in the city’s shops, offices and restaurants. The works are scattered from Centertown down to the waterfront, all within easy walking distance of one another. Maps are available online and at the venues.
After viewing the various works of art on display, festival attendees can vote on their favorites. Winning artists receive a cash prize.
For more than 30 years Grand Haven’s visitors and residents have shown off their artistic skills at the beach during the Sand Sculpture Contest.
Participants can work alone or in teams of up to 15 people, depending on the category. They can pre-register by picking up a form at the Grand Haven Chamber of Commerce, requesting a form through email, or they can register at the event. Categories include family, crew, children and castle.
Registration begins at 9:00 AM. Artists have the two hour block between 10:00 and 12:00 to create their sand masterpieces, using no artificial supports. Entries are then judged on difficulty, theme and originality. Non-participants can vote for their favorite sculpture for the people’s choice award.
The contest takes place at the city beach, NOT the adjacent state park beach.
The 2016 Sand Sculpture Contest takes place on Saturday, August 13.
Tall ships stand in the harbor, throngs of people walk along the boardwalk and delighted screams of carnival-goers rise above the din. It’s Coast Guard Festival week in Grand Haven.
Each year at the end of July and beginning of August the town gears up to celebrate the Coast Guard and all that they do. Organizers schedule events for each day of the week long celebration, with the biggest draws happening near the end of the week. Most festival events take place along the waterfront and on the streets of downtown Grand Haven.
Visitors can take part in numerous activities and events all week long. There’s a 5k and 10k run, classic car show, quilt show, kids parade and pancake breakfast on the first weekend. Ships parade into the harbor at 1:00 on Monday, and the Coast Guard ships are open for tours the rest of the week. There’s a kids day, a senior day, and a carnival opens downtown on Tuesday. A street dance occurs during the week, and on Friday festival goers can shop for everything from paintings to hair ribbons at the arts & crafts show across the street from the library.
What many consider the highlight of the week is the second Saturday, when the floats and bands of the Coast Guard Parade march through town and spectacular fireworks explode in the night sky over the harbor. Saturday is also the last day of the carnival. Parade lovers stay up Thursday night until midnight, when they can reserve their spot for the parade or fireworks with chairs or blankets.
These are just a few of the things going on during Coast Guard week – to see the full schedule of events, please follow the link below.
Each year near the end of June the crowds take to the first 3 blocks of Washington Street, Grand Haven’s main drag downtown, browsing through the works of art offered for sale.
There’s something for the teenager looking for a funky pair of earrings as well as the woman searching for a sculpture for the front hall. Paintings, pottery, clothing, dolls, photography – the offerings are numerous and encompass a variety of styles. The festival is juried, and artists are selected from a pool of applicants. In addition to the art booths, there’s usually a tent set up for kids to create their own works of art, and live bands fill the air with music.
If you work up an appetite while walking up and down the street, you can get some good eats at the food kiosks set up nearby, or take advantage of the Grand Haven restaurants along Washington Street.
The Grand Haven Art Festival will take place on June 25 & 26, 2016.