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Local News / Entertainment

Thursday, 30 June, 2011 3:19 AM

Target Fireworks light up the sky to wrap up the River Days celebration in Detroit

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The 53rd Annual Target Fireworks lit up the sky over the Detroit River on June 27, 2011.

 

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

|

DETROIT -- It was four days of fun and excitement along Detroit's beautiful riverfront bordering Windsor, Ontario. On the Detroit side of the border, it was River Days. Attendees were treated to free musical performances by Macy Gray, Chaka Khan, WAR, Echoes of Pink Floyd, Kimmie Horne and Stewart Francke. On the Windsor side of the border, it was the Summerfest. Both sides of the riverfront enjoyed the 25-minute Target Fireworks display, which ignited from three barges.

"It is our first time being here," said Sarah Politis of Fraser, Mich. "Have you checked out the dessert table? That's where it's at. I've seen the fireworks from a random parking lot, so nothing like this. The music is good, I love it. Happy Fourth of July, Detroit. If somebody else wants to pay my ticket, I'll come back next year."

The 53rd Annual Target Fireworks began promptly at 10:06 p.m. It was broadcast live simultaneously on WDIV-TV Local 4 and WJR-AM 760. A total of 10,000 pyrotechnic effects were used for the 25-minute fireworks show. Zambelli Fireworks produces the annual spectacle, which can be seen for miles on both sides of the U.S./Canadian border. They continue to out due themselves every year by adding more colors and creating unique shapes in the sky.

"They said I've been doing the fireworks since 1982, but don't believe everything that you hear," laughed WDIV-TV Anchor Carmen Harlan. "I enjoy the good feeling that's generated leading up the fireworks, certainly during it. It's a family event, people from all across the southeastern part of Michigan come to see it. Certainly, it highlights our relationship with Windsor. It's one of the friendliest borders certainly on this side of the hemisphere. They're just as excited about it over there as we are here. Once they take off and you hear the explosion, you see the colors, they could be the same fireworks everywhere and you still find them thrilling, I think."

Over one million people were estimated to have seen the fireworks on the Detroit side of the border. People started arriving early on Monday morning to select their prime viewing spot. It all began with the American and Canadian helicopter flag flyovers. Then, the fireworks show started at 10:10 p.m. and lasted until 10:35 p.m.

"This is our third year in a row," said Ryan Adams of Novi, Mich. "I think it's going to be a great year. We have some new entertainment this year. We have a full party up here. I'm 21 now, I think I've been coming here since I was eight years old. I used to sit at Hart Plaza, it's a lot better from up here, I think. Great bands this year, great. I haven't made it to the food yet, but if it's anything like the past years, it should be great. We'll be here every year if it's anything like this."

Many downtown hotels and skyscrapers held rooftop parties. However, the "official" Target Fireworks VIP Rooftop Party took place on the top two levels of the Miller Parking Garage, just west of the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. It was produced The Parade Company, the same non-profit organization that produces America's Thanksgiving Parade. It featured live music, lots of great food and activities for the kids.

"This is my first time at the rooftop party and for the fireworks," said Katie Maibach of Commerce, Mich. "I like the food here and the variety of events. I like the music, I'll go check it out. The cupcakes downstairs are good. We did some karaoke. I sang 'Happy Birthday.' I'm having fun and I want to come back."

Annabelle Road, Jill Jack and The Sun Messengers performed during the rooftop party. It was the best seats in the city for the 53rd Annual Target Fireworks. This year's theme was summer in northern Michigan. The food was provided by Andiamo Italia, which has a restaurant located in the Renaissance Center.

"This is my first time here," said Austin Caughey of Brownstown, Mich. "It's pretty awesome, I like the face painting as you can tell. I've got the Tyson tattoo. The food is very good, I'm eating a hot dog right now. I like it. The karaoke was fun. I'm definitely coming back next year."

Michigan Govenor Rick Snyder and First Lady Sue Snyder, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and First Lady Yvette Bing, Charter One President & CEO Sandra Pierce and her husband Tom Pierce served as this year's honorary chairs. Other special guests included mascots Rory from the Detroit Lions and Paws from the Detroit Tigers

"I think it's great, this is one of Michigan's and Detroit's great events," Gov. Snyder said. "It's a good chance to the celebrate the Fourth of July, what a good cause. This is my first time as governor. I used to come when I worked in the Renaissance Center years ago. It's good to be back. I used to watch it up in the office, there in the 400 tower. This is whole different experience. I'm just saying hi to people and enjoy the event and help keep promoting Michigan. It's time to reinvent our state."

Attendees included the who's who of metro Detroit. There were presidents and CEOs of the region's biggest companies and non-profit organizations at the party. Many of them brought their kids -- young and old -- to the rooftop party.

"It's been a family function, we've been coming down for quite a while," said MaKenzie Larson of Bloomfield, Mich. "The fireworks are definitely the best part, but the music and the atmosphere. Everybody's in a good mood. The music is always great. It's so much fun to listen to. They do a good job while the fireworks are going too. The food is great. They always have hip, new area foods that come out. The kid things are so much fun. They have tons of games every year, fun times."

There were giveaways for both adults and kids alike. However, many of the prizes were given out after one participated in an activity. It was all part of The Parade Company's collaboration with The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

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

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

10,000 pyrotechnic effects were used for the 25-minute fireworks show.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Attendees were watching the fireworks from the VIP Rooftop Party with the RenCen in the background.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Zambelli Fireworks produces the annual spectacle

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Attendees were watching the Target Fireworks very closely.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The fireworks can be seen for miles on both sides of the U.S./Canadian border.

 

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