Andrew Trzaska | June 25, 2011
There’s no denying it – Muskegon has lakes and plenty of water-related things to do.
Thanks to Roger Zuidema and the City of Muskegon, the area now has a designated week to really focus on promoting the area’s lakes as an attraction.
The City of Muskegon voted unanimously on Tuesday to designate August 15-21 as Lake Effect Boat Time Week, a week for the community can rally around Muskegon Lake as an attraction and community benefit.
Zuidema, a Hudsonville resident, has spent numerous summers enjoying Muskegon’s lakefront. Years ago, he decided to start promoting what Muskegon has to offer by linking all of its benefits together into a bigger selling point.
“I started thinking about some of the great festivals we have here: Summer Celebration, Taste of Muskegon… It came over me and I wondered why these festivals weren’t connected with maritime history.”
Earlier this year, Zuidema worked with Chamber of Commerce & others to figure out ways to showcase Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan to out-of-towners.
Setting a specific week aside as Lake Effect Boat Time Week doesn’t lessen other weeks so much as it can give businesses and community leaders a starting point for coordinating efforts to attract out-of-towners.
“There’s a lot of excitement in the maritime community… we need more people to come and share in out community, to buy our gas, to eat at our restaurants.”
Zuidema cites Lake Charlevoix’s festivals and the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival as events that specifically play up each location’s water resources and generate tourism dollars.
Muskegon is also home to three historical ships: The Milwaukee Clipper, plus the WWII-era U.S.S. Silversides and LST 393.
On top of this all, the area’s fishing, boating, other water sports and beach recreation all can attract tourists and be a source of pride for the town.
Tuesday’s meeting suggested that the week 15-21 can provide benefits community-wide, even inland, like downtown.
“What Muskegon downtown groups are trying to do with their development is a natural connection,” said Zuidema.
For more information on Zuidema’s initiatives and Lake Effect Boat Time Week: