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Local News / Entertainment

Saturday, 25 June, 2011 2:15 PM

5th Annual Detroit River Days festival is now underway through Sunday

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The HandGrenades entertained crowds on the Michigan Lottery Stage at the Detroit River Days Festival on June 23, 2011.

 

by Garrett Godwin
ggodwin82@yahoo.com

 

|

DETROIT -- This week marks the end of another school year, but also the beginning of summer and the start of the 2011 Detroit River Days Festival, which, sadly started not wild but wet and windy -- and cloudy on the first day. Still, Detroit made the best out of a bad situation Thursday with rides, slides, food, and music performances from bands such as 60 Second Crush.

"We come every year," said Kristine Rouleau from Dearborn, Mich., who brought her daughter to the festival. "I like watching her have fun. We think it's a great festival."

Hours for the 2011 River Days festival are 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday, June 23, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 24 and 25 and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, June 26.The festival will grow to include the area from the William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor to the soon to be opened Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority Terminal & Dock, just west of the Renaissance Center.

"It's still fun, I'm having a good time anyway," said Debra Jones from Detroit. "We bumped into this accidentally. We came down here to walk and the carnival was up. We've been enjoying ourselves. We weren't expecting this. We're going to make the best of it. I have a little barbecue pit. We're going to stay the night and enjoy the fireworks. We have probably the best fireworks around."

After a week of thunderstorms, tornado warnings and watches, and yes rain, expect things to start drying up, with sun and rising temperatures this weekend and Monday going from 69 to 84 . Though there will be rain showers on Friday and another chance of returning with some T-storms during the day on Monday, the rain will leave just in time for the Tigers' three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the 6:05 p.m. game on the latter with the Toronto Blue Jays at Comerica Park, with the TARGET fireworks as the height -- and highlight -- of the River Days Festival, as always.

"It's a pretty cool event," said Lauren Hennksan from Romulus, Mich. "I'm hoping more people come down as the weather clears up. So far I like the rides. I'm looking forward to Pink Floyd and WAR. I like the Fireball and the bull ride. I hope the city of Detroit and the sponsors continue to fund it so people can enjoy it."

New to the festival this year is the GM Art Fair on the River. Over a dozen General Motors employees are showing off their artworks in various mediums. Art pieces will be available for purchase and for viewing. Also new for 2011 is the Global Water Dance performances. Detroit will be one of 57 cities that will take part in dance events. Look for the Global Water Dancers at 5 p.m. on Saturday and again on Sunday.

"We've come every year since 2006," said Bruce Hayes from Detroit. "We like meeting lots of new people down here. We also like coming out toward the river and for the exercise. We're looking forward to seeing some new entertainment we haven't seen before. Come down to Detroit River Days. It's off the hook."

Macy Gray, Chaka Khan, WAR and the Echoes of Pink Floyd are this year's headliners on the main stage. In addition, Hot Sauce, The Toppermost Beatles Tribute, Kimmie Horne, Dave McMurray, The Mosaic Youth Theatre, Gods Made Love, Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas, Stewart Francke, Julianne & The Rogues, The Muggs, The Reeferman and Finding Clyde will also perform. Local acts will entertain audiences on the GM stage and The Michigan Lottery stage.

"I'm having a blast, I wish it was cheaper for the rides," said Evan Kulovitz from Canton, Mich. "The elephant ears and the snow cones are good. If it was a better day weather wise, it would be a cool reason to come down here. We've got a great view and everything."

The 5th Annual Detroit Parade of Lights features 30-40 decorated sailboats and powerboats on both sides of the riverfront beginning at 10 p.m. on June 25. The Appledore IV and Appledore V tall ships will return with free tours at the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority Dock. The tall ships were formerly located near the carousel at Gabriel Richard Park. The U.S. Coast Guard will bring back its cutter vessel for free tours over the weekend. Diamond Jack's River Tours will be offering discounted one-hour guided tours of the riverfront.

"I've been coming down for about five years," said Mary Ann Andrecovich from Grosse Pointe Park, Mich. "I just like walking down the riverwalk and listening to the music that they have down here. Carolyn Striho is the lead singer in this band. She's actually a school teacher as well. We both teach in the same building. I thought I'd come down and support her. I'm glad they have this. I think Detroit needs a pick me up. The food is always good, a lot of variety. It speaks of the diversity of Detroit."

The 2011 Detroit Tigers and the River Days Festival as the first of a four-day weekend, or the appetizer for your four-day 4th of July holiday weekend. What more can be the Motor City ask for?

"I'm looking forward to Pink Floyd coming," said Ian Zoporgln from Royal Oak, Mich. "The Fireball is the best ride. I've only been here a few minutes."

For more information on Detroit River Days Festival, visit www.riverdays.com.

Related Stories: 2011 Detroit River Days Festival: Music Schedule; Organizers announce plans for 5th Annual Detroit River Days

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

An overview of the Detroit River Days festival from the second floor of the Renaissance Center.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Dizzy Dragons carnival ride

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

AmericaJR.com's Garrett Godwin interviews Angie from North Hollywood, Calif.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Reeferman performed on the main stage Thursday evening.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Garrett Godwin interviewed the band 60 Second Crush shortly after their performance on the GM stage.

 

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