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What’s in store for the Saugatuck Venetian Festival this year

The festival will kick off on Friday night with a concert by popular local band, Starfarm.

SAUGATUCK, Mich. — The Saugatuck City Council approved plans for a Venetian Festival “Lite” in early June. Now, they’ve released the official docket of events.

The festival will kick off on Friday night with a concert by popular local band, Starfarm. The group will perform 80’s music hits donning old-school Adidas tracksuits, legwarmers and aviator sunglasses. This will be the seventh year they perform at the festival.

The concert tent will be in Coghlin Park at the corner of Culver and Griffith streets in downtown Saugatuck. The event opens at 6 p.m. and music will begin at 7:30. There will be food and beverages for purchase throughout the evening. Tickets are available for any adult 21 years and up, at $10 per person.

Saturday’s events are set to begin at 11 a.m. with the Dinghy Poker Run registration at the Coghlin Park gazebo. Participants are asked to dress in costume. Observers of the race are welcomed.

“This event is very hilarious and allows your inner child to come out for an afternoon. The poker run starts at noon with boaters racing along the Kalamazoo River stopping at various spots to pick up playing cards in hopes of securing the best poker hand,” said Nancy McDonnall, the event captain.

“You don’t want to miss the launch at noon at the dinghy dock in the park. If you are not a boater, you can watch the boaters, many in costumes, playing like little kids spraying each other with squirt guns as they take off for the first card stop.”

McDonnall says their typical turnout is 100 dinghies. Only motorized boats 15 ft. or smaller are allowed to participate.

This year’s Venetian Festival Lite will not host the typical lighted boat parage and firework show. The festival’s organizers report that time constraints are to blame.

For more details on the event, visit the Cow Hill Yacht Club’s website here.

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