Fun things to do in West Michigan this weekend

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    Day of Play activities at Grand Rapids Children's Museum. Courtesy photo.

    Looking for something to do in West Michigan over the weekend? Look no further. Whether you’re in Grand Rapids or along the lakeshore, enjoy some summer fun at one of the many events kicking off this weekend.

    Global Water Festival in Grand Rapids
    Another event occurring this weekend, located in the heart of Grand Rapids, is the 3rd Annual GRAPF Global Water Fest on the Grand River. The Global Water Festival captures the beauty in diverse global cultures aimed at celebrating the elegance and power of water. This festival is a two-day celebration of water-based adventures that begins Saturday, July 29 and concludes on Sunday, July 30.

    The infamous Dragon Boat Races on the Grand River are part of the celebration, beginning at Canal Park on Saturday, where four beautiful dragon boats will spend the duration of the day racing down the river. You’ll also find global cuisine, local artisans’ work, and live entertainment, all of which are included in this free, family-friendly event hosted by the Grand Rapids Asian Pacific Foundation.

    Additional information can be found at https://globalwaterfestgr.com/.

    ‘Day of Play’ Celebration Grand Rapids Children Museum
    The 6th Annual “Day of Play” Celebration will be taking place on Sunday, July 30, from noon to 4 p.m., at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. And the best part? Admission is free!

    A proclamation by Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss launched this community outreach effort to celebrate “play” among children and their families. Play will be brought outside on Rainbow Road this year. Thanks to a dedicated group of community partners, there will be live animals, yard games, crafts, and bubbles for visitors. In addition, the fun continues inside the museum which will also be open for this event, and admission is also free!

    Additional event information can be found on the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum website at https://www.grcm.org/dayofplay2023.

    Coast Guard Festival in Grand Haven Michigan
    Located north along the lakeshore, in Grand Haven Michigan, the Coast Guard Festival is another annual celebration not to be missed. Coast Guard is a traditional celebration that occurs yearly for the town, and one whose origins can be traced back to 1937. This year, the festival begins this weekend on Friday, July 28th, and will continue until August, 6th 2023.

    The first day of the festival, Friday, July 28th, consists of a Lighthouse Quilt Guild Show from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and tickets are $7. Correspondingly, the Quilt Guild Show will continue the following day from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., for the same price of admission. As Friday comes to a close, day one of the festival will conclude with a performance by Simply Queen – A Tribute Band, starting at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $15.

    Day two, Saturday, July 29, includes multiple free events for those of all ages. These include the Kids Parade at 10:30 a.m., Cardboard Boat Race Competition at 1:30 p.m. As for day three, Sunday, July 30, free activities such as the Cruise-In Car Show from 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Flea On Seventh from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and the Community Picnic from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., will take place.

    Additional events and ticket prices can be found on the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival website at https://tickets.coastguardfest.org/events/.

    Saugatuck Venetian Festival: Green Venetian
    The Venetian Festival is a fun-packed annual tradition for the tourist town of Saugatuck. The 2023 festival kicks off this weekend on Friday, July 28, with returning 1980s cover band Star Farm, 5 – 11 p.m. In addition, you will find a beer tent and lots of fun to be had. Friday’s event will take place in Coghlin Park for ages 21 and up. 

    Tickets for the Star Farm showcase will be sold at a discounted price of $15 during Music In the Park, located at Wicks Park, this Wednesday, July 26, at 7 p.m., and drink tokens for $7. Otherwise, on Friday, July 28th, admission tickets will be $20 and drink tokens will be $10. 

    The celebration continues on Saturday, July 29, when you can attend a plethora of action-packed activities throughout the day. These include the art fair, embracing the local cuisine, and the infamous Dinghy Poker Run which departs from Coghlin Park at noon and ends at 3 p.m. 

    As the festivities wrap up, there will be a Laser Light Show to conclude the celebration Saturday evening at dusk and can be seen over Kalamazoo Lake which borders downtown Saugatuck. 

    Additional Information about the festival can be found at https://saugatuckvenetianfest.com/.

    While you’re in town, make a quick stop at the Outdoor Summer Market at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts on Friday, July 28, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. This free event offers the opportunity to connect with West Michigan farmers, crafters, woodworkers, artists, chefs, and more. Items such as locally grown and freshly picked produce, all-natural honey, assorted coffee, mouthwatering treats, alluring home goods, and many more, are featured at the seasonal market in the heart of downtown Saugatuck.

    Additional questions and contact information can be found on the Saugatuck Center for the Arts website at https://sc4a.org/event/summer-market/. 

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