By Matt DeYoung
Each year, the Meijer Grand Parade is a highlight of the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival.
Nearly 100,000 attend the yearly event as it makes its way north up Sheldon Road to Franklin, where it turns left and heads downtown to Second Street, up Washington Avenue to Seventh Street, where it turns back south to its ending point at Lakeshore Middle School.
Prime viewing spots are typically located right along the road, and are cordoned off by flags and ribbons days before the parade. Local ordinances outlaw marking spots until the day before the parade.
Other popular spots include the grandstands located downtown, and along Sheldon Road as it makes its way toward the throngs of people.
This year’s parade begins at 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3.
The event features high school marching bands, local organizations, dignitaries in the back of convertibles and various pageant queens waving from their floats.
The parade also has plenty of unique things to observe. Past sights include a collection of riding lawn mowers swarming down the street, and a clown taking his invisible dog for a walk along the route.
For kids, the parade is a way for many to get their sugar fix. Children come armed with bags to collect the candy thrown from floats and the wealth of promotional items handed out by various vendors participating in the parade.