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Local News / Entertainment

Monday, 23 June, 2008 2:04 AM

Thousands flock to Detroit's GM River Days on Opening Day

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A look at the GM River Days festival from the second floor of the Renaissance Center.

by Garrett Godwin
ggodwin82@yahoo.com

EXCLUSIVE: Watch Highlights of Detroit's GM River Days (6/20/08) MPEG Video

The second annual River Days festival will be celebrating two milestones: the 100th anniversary of sponsor General Motors and the 50th anniversary of the fireworks, which concludes the event on Monday evening. The four-day event began on Friday, when adults were getting off from work, and where the kids can really begin their summer vacation. Even former Mayor Dennis Archer was there. "Where else would he be?" Neil Talaska, a representative for UAW-GM asked.

Unlike 2007, this year's River Days isn't as hot as it was before. Friday's temperature was partly sunny and cool. "[It was] good," commented a Russian female 20-something Gloworks employee, who's in the States on a visa as well as working on the scene. "It [was] good weather," she continued. "I don't know how exactly it will be in July, but [yesterday was] really nice."

The festival is located downtown outside the GM Wintergarden at the riverfront -- with free admission and something for everyone of all ages. There's an carnival, a carousel, bumper cars, and other rides for kids as well as for their families can come to enjoy. Other fun and games include GMC Quarterback Tryout, in which participants test their throwing arms from either the 10-yard or the 50-yard on the footballl field. Tickets for these as well as food and beverages start at $7 for eleven tickets.

Stages were set all over the festival, featuring all genres of music:

Over at the Sprint R&B Stage at 5 p.m., there was Suai, who was one of the local talents scheduled. The 22-year-old was born and raised in Michigan -- and is proud of it. Though a singer, Suai still works at Starbucks, not "an overnight success". But don't expect her to be ashamed nor disappointed, so check out her website at www.suaionline.com.

At the EDS International Stage, there was the Company of Strangers going "Eastbound and Down" (the theme of 1977's Smokey and the Bandit) at 6:30 p.m.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra played with flawless perfection at the Bank of America Stage at 7 p.m. -- performing pieces of Mozart and Beethoven, and even the music of the original Star Wars.

Other singers performing onstage this weekend includes popular mainstream acts like Michelle Branch, Jack Ingram, The Verve Pipe, and Brian McKnight.

Last year, the River Days festival was six days, but because of the recession, it has been cut down to four. Still, according to volunteer Jennifer Gruss, this event is expected to have an even bigger crowd with an estimate of between 500,000-700,000 this weekend and Monday.

Despite the declining economy and the rising gas prices, Gruss said, the River Days festival is for a lot of people. They don't have to go out-of-state or on vacation but come for relaxation and enjoy the city of Detroit. The purpose of River Days is so that people can enjoy the atmosphere, the weather, and the fireworks. "It's a kick-off for summer and the Fourth of July," Gruss concludes.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

People are enjoying the GM River Days in downtown Detroit.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A look at the GM River Days from inside the Renaissance Center.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Kids are enjoying the water along the riverfront.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A Chevy Corvette is on display at GM River Days.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Classic cars like this one is a major part of the festival.

 

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Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer.

 

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