During the unveiling May 24, Macomb Community College President James O. Sawyer IV lights the bicentennial relay torch that will be used during the June 21-22 event. With Sawyer is Shaun Sarcona, program coordinator for media and communication arts at MCC, center, and Mary Bush, faculty for design at MCC, who with others helped create the torch.

During the unveiling May 24, Macomb Community College President James O. Sawyer IV lights the bicentennial relay torch that will be used during the June 21-22 event. With Sawyer is Shaun Sarcona, program coordinator for media and communication arts at MCC, center, and Mary Bush, faculty for design at MCC, who with others helped create the torch.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


County bicentennial relay set for June 21-22

Event torches made at MCC

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published June 7, 2018

MACOMB COUNTY — As Macomb County celebrates its bicentennial this year, several events are planned, including a 24-hour torch relay set for June 21-22.

The 200-mile torch relay will include participation from municipalities across the county, as well as Lake St. Clair, Stony Creek Metropark, Selfridge Air National Guard Base and Macomb Community College.

Torchbearers, including high school cross-country teams, are planned for every mile of the route. The relay is scheduled to begin at 5:38 a.m. June 21 and end at 9:45 p.m. June 22. Residents are encouraged to stop by their local city or civic halls to cheer as the torch gets passed off from one community to the next.

The torches that will be used in the bicentennial relay were unveiled during a May 24 ceremony at the South Campus of Macomb Community College in Warren. MCC faculty, staff and students in the media and communication arts, machining, and climate control programs spent almost eight months creating and constructing them.

The MCC team researched Macomb County’s history and studied the designs of commemorative torches, including previous designs of Olympic torches. Eight torches were made.

“We were honored to be asked to contribute in such a meaningful way to Macomb County’s bicentennial celebration,” MCC President James O. Sawyer IV said. “To us, it spoke of a great trust and pride in Macomb Community College’s faculty, staff and students, as well as confidence in the quality of our programs. We knew it would be a great learning experience for the students involved, but the cross-disciplinary project also led to deep learning and appreciation of each other’s challenges and triumphs for the faculty and staff involved.”

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel is expected to hoist a torch and kick off the bicentennial relay from the Macomb County Administration Building in downtown Mount Clemens. According to Hackel, the torch will permanently be displayed at the administration building.

The torches are 28 inches in height. They measure 7 1/2 inches at the crown, and without fuel the torches weigh 2 1/2 pounds. According to an MCC press release, the tops of the torches were produced in polymer through 3D printing. The handle of each torch was constructed of renwood, which is a man-made composite used to create prototypes in the machining process. It also was used to keep the torches light in weight so they won’t weigh down the runners.

In keeping with the Macomb County theme, an apple design was incorporated at the bottom of the handles to represent orchards, cider mills and breweries in the local communities. The handles’ ripples were created to show the connection between lakes, beaches, sailing and water sports activities throughout the county. Other features on the torches include feathers, tire treads and bike spokes.

For more information on the torch relay, visit Macomb200.org.

The torch relay also kicks off the Mount Clemens fireworks celebration, set to begin at dusk June 22 at the downtown riverfront gazebo. The gazebo is located along the banks of the Clinton River on northbound Gratiot Avenue, 2 miles north of Metropolitan Parkway (16 Mile Road) and 2 miles south of Hall Road. It sits directly across from the Macomb County Circuit Court building.