GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival is just around the corner. The nationally recognized festival honors and respects men and women who serve in the United States Coast Guard.

The festival has become a premier event with attendance of more than 350,000 people including high ranking Coast Guard dignitaries from Washington, D.C. 

Along with honoring the US Coast Guard, there are a variety of events going on throughout the festival. The Cardboard Boat Race will kick off on Saturday, July 27 starting at 1:30 p.m. 

Two classes of racers will be featured in the 200-yard race at Waterfront Stadium. The Buoy Class is for youth, ages 10-15. The Cutter Class is open to anyone age 16 and older. Two-person and 3 to 8-person vessels are allowed.

Prize categories include fastest time, Fleet Award, Iceberg Award and People’s Choice. The Fleet Award goes to the best themed boat, while the Iceberg Award is for the best sinking. The boats will be on display from noon until race time for a public walk-through and People’s Choice vote.

To register for the Cardboard Boat Race, go here.

Kids Parade will be on Saturday, July 27 starting at 10:30 a.m. at St. Patrick's Catholic Church. 

Throughout the week there will be ship tours. It arrives on Monday, July 29 at 1 p.m. at Escanaba Park. Festival goers can go on tours July 29 from 6 p.m. through 8 p.m. Tours will run from Tuesday, July 30 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. through Saturday, Aug. 3. 

The Downtown Carnival will kick off on Tuesday, July 30 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. located on Washington Ave. and Harbor Dr. to 3rd Street. The Downtown Carnival will be held the rest of the week from 2 p.m to 11 p.m. On Saturday, Aug. 3 the carnival will start at noon and conclude after the fireworks. 

The Firework Extravaganza will take off once it's dark at the Waterfront Stage. 

The Festival Idol will be on Monday, July 29 at 6:30 p.m. and this year, one winner will receive a Silver Ticket to an American Idol audition city. The auditions are only open to ages 15-28 with limited space available. 

RELATED: Sing your way to a Silver Ticket at the Coast Guard Festival

The silver ticket guarantees the winner will audition with producers, skipping many steps that other Idol hopefuls will have to go through. You will be amazed at the level of true talent in the West Michigan area as contestants sing everything from radio hits to old standard greats. Come cheer on your favorite aspiring artists, as one may be the next American Idol! 

There is free general admission, but tickets are required. There will be no chairs provided for the Festival Idol show. 

To learn more information about the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival visit

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