The Grand Haven City Council voted 4-0 Monday night to approve the four-day event hosted by Raw Dogs Skydiving. It will take place Aug. 15-18.
Planes will take off from Grand Haven Memorial Airport, with jumpers landing at both the airport and Grand Haven City Beach.
According to organizer Joe Thompson, “Every type of skydiving that can be done in the air will be done at this event” from human-link formations to wingsuits.
The council also waived the $3,000 City Beach rental fee, as only a portion of the beach will be used during short periods throughout each day.
Thompson said Raw Dogs events have taken place across Michigan in the past seven years, but Grand Haven’s lakeshore is a landmark destination for the thrill-seeking sport.
“We think that better represents the state and what makes it appealing to skydivers across the country,” he said. “Several state records are within our reach that we can set in Grand Haven.”
Mayor Geri McCaleb raised concern over the potential for forceful winds over Lake Michigan, but organizers said wind forecasts from Muskegon will ensure safe conditions.
The event will likely take up a 50-by-100 foot section of the beach in front of the Noto’s at the Bil-Mar restaurant for three sessions of landings throughout each day. Radio controllers will be on site, Thompson said, and the landing zone will be cordoned off with tape.
More than 200 jumpers participated at a 2018 event, and organizers said they expect an increase this year.
McCaleb said the event is an unexpected but welcomed opportunity for the city.
“It’s not something I saw coming Grand Haven’s way, but it sounds like a cool thing,” she said. “It’s defying gravity that makes it so exciting.”
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