West Michigan families spend holiday at Holland State Park

HOLLAND, Mich. — The Fourth of July looks a bit different this year for Jennifer Solis, Yollieva Marquez, and their families.

“Usually we watch the fireworks downtown in Grand Rapids,” said Marquez.

They headed to Holland State Park, opting to spend the holiday swimming and cooking after the pandemic cancelled their usual plans.

“Just doing what we can to hang out with the family,” said Marquez.

A commons thread for many park-goers, like Elyse Vitale.

“A lot of the things we used to do are cancelled,” said Vitale.

She says her family is making the most of it though, trying to enjoy the sun, sand, and water.

« It’s been fun,” said Vitale.

Few people wore masks, but most stayed six feet away from one another in the late afternoon, which Ruth Ann Voss says is enough to feel safe.

“You feel safe here,” said Voss.

She sat and ate in the shade alongside loved ones, all hoping to catch the annual fireworks show by the Van Andel family at the end of the night.

« They just sparkle in the water, just beautiful,” said Voss.

The family plans to shoot fireworks off the South Pier Saturday night, like they do each year, but the Michigan Department of Natural Resources decided to close all state parks at 10 p.m. Holland State Park began turning away drivers two hours earlier.

It was all in an effort to prevent large crowds of spectators and the possible spread of COVID-19.

“After the displays are over, usually there’s a large mob that goes down Ottawa Beach Road ,” said Sean Mulligan, Holland State Park supervisor. “It looks like cattle going to market. If you’ve got one COVID positive person in there that’s infectious, that could be a real problem. »

However, people appeared to find a loophole, setting up their chairs just outside the park.

“With everything that’s going on and the health concerns, we want to do out best to make sure that everybody is safe and healthy,” said Mulligan.

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