In this area of the river, a local man and practiced his craft of water skiing and developed a very popular water thrill show. At age 22 Alvin "Whitey" White saw a barnstorming tour show of the famed Cypress Garden (Florida ) Water Show. He knew he could do what the performers were doing and he bought a kite and became proficient in kiting from his skis by practicing his flying in the river with his friend Felix Pytlinske, who often piloted the Merc powered boats, capable of providing the power needed.

Soon the pros in the water skiing world became aware of Whitey, and in 1956 he was invited to perform at a show in Chicago being staged that included most of the world class skiers of the era. The day proved too rough and cold for the Florida skiers, but Whitey was able to perform - he was used to rough waters and cold conditions - he skied and soared above the crowd - and saved the show. After the show, over $10,000 in boats, skies and lines were donated to Whitey to help him develop his show.

He debuted his show in June of 1957 in downtown Grand Haven. As the show became known it attracted thousands of viewers and is credited (along with the musical fountain in 1963) with influencing the changes made at the water front to help shape it into what it is today.

In November of 1957 he was a guest performer at the dedication of the Mackinac Bridge. He soared 200 feet above the water at a height greater than the height of the bridge roadway and gained national recognition as a dare devil on skis.

He continued to do shows in Grand Haven; at its height the show included 27 local performers including a very popular ‘Droopy the Clown'. The show included pageantry, singing, antics (Droopy) and all kinds of trick skiing - on bare feet, from a headstand and even from the top of a 12 foot ladder. During the summer of 1961 more than 20,000 people saw the show. Whitey's last show was in 1961, however the show continued without him until 1974.

Source: David Siebold