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Coast Guard Festival – Grand Haven

Alyson Wendzel – 2011 Michigan Apple Queen

This Saturday, I attended the Coast Guard Festival in Grand Haven. I was honored to be able to participate in a festival that honors the men and women that have risked their lives in the United States Coast Guard.

It was raining as we made our way to the line-up of the parade and it didn’t look like it was going to end anytime soon. I still found it enjoyable as I walked around and was able to meet the other queens accompanied by their courts, parade entries, and service men and women, but while doing so the bottom of my dress became damp. Suddenly my parade experience for the day was in jeopardy!

I was told that my damp dress would damage the interior of the convertible. Fortunately being a well prepared queen, I brought an extra dress and the kind people of Grand Haven provided a house for me to change and freshen up in. I was also able to make a short phone call to my grandparents who were being honored as the grand marshals in the Coloma Glad-Peach Parade.

The rain continued throughout the parade route but this didn’t bother the spectators one bit. They were all in good spirits and were enthusiastic about Michigan Apples and also to be able to meet a queen. Somehow the rain and inclement weather seemed to be appropriate for a Coast Guard Festival that honors men and women that risk their lives in the worst that nature has to offer to save the lives of others.

Hillary Heeren – Michigan Apple Queen Court

On Saturday August sixth I traveled to Grand Haven. When I first arrived the sky was overcast but I was hopeful the rain would hold off. Although our unpredictable Michigan weather creates the most delicious apples in the world; for parades it creates flooded floats, soaked princesses, and drenched spectators. Even with the rain pouring down on parade participants and those who had staked out their parade viewing area, there were no dampened spirits to be found.

While walking around prior to the parade starting I was able to meet many people. One of the highlights of the day was when a Michigan State Police Trooper allowed me to sit behind the wheel of a Michigan State Police Camaro Cruiser. I was even lucky enough to have a couple other troopers ask me to take pictures with them by their police Harley motorcycles!

While the top of the convertible had to be up during the parade due to the rain showers it made for a different but nonetheless very pleasant experience. In mid-parade a couple of spectators approached the car and handed apples to both the driver of the convertible and me.

Even though the weather was not the best for a parade, the enthusiasm of the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival crowd made it a wonderful event. In retrospect I would not have changed a single minute of my time spent in Grand Haven.