Harbor Days: Cherished favorites and new events planned for popular festival

By: 
Karin Beery, Contributing Writer

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Kid’s Day on Friday, Aug. 4 will offer an array of activities for children through age 10 from noon to 2 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park in Elk Rapids.

ELK RAPIDS – The village of Elk Rapids is making final preparations for Harbor Days under the guidance of new executive director Chuck Goossen. Originally from downstate, Goossen is very familiar with northern Michigan, and after months of planning he’s excited to oversee the popular festival slated to kick off next Wednesday.

Goossen came out of retirement – again – to serve as the Elk Rapids Harbor Days’ Executive Director. Formerly an executive at Herman Miller, Goossen retired eight years ago and moved to northern Michigan, but retirement didn’t last long. He found himself working in the wine industry, but in August 2016 he decided to retire again. It didn’t take long for him to realize retirement didn’t suit him.

“After three weeks, I saw the ad for Executive Director,” he said. “I thought it would keep me busy and it sounded fun, so I stepped up for it.”

Goossen’s no stranger to Harbor Days. He used to keep his boat in the Elk Rapids marina, and he’s attended the event in the past, but that was the early 1990s. The festival has definitely evolved since then.

“It’s a lot larger and more sophisticated, but it still has that hometown feel, with a lot of kid-focused events and driving community involvement,” he said.

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