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June 19, 2013

Fourth of July Celebration turns 80

Events begin June 26 and run through the holiday

By Robert Guttersohn
C & G Staff Writer

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Fourth of July Celebration turns 80
Pictured during last year’s Fourth of July Celebration, Emily Alongi, then 4 years old and from Fraser, watches the annual parade in Clawson. The celebration, filled with activities beginning June 26 and ending on the Fourth of July, returns for its 80th year.

CLAWSON — Mayor Penny Luebs moved her family to Clawson 33 years ago because she wanted to live in a close-knit community — a city where she could walk to the schools and the library.

In her family’s first year, they walked to the annual Fourth of July Celebration with her five children and fell in love with it.

“Our first year here, we did attend the Fourth of July event and have not missed a single one,” said the 59-year-old mayor, who is also a part of the Fourth of July Committee. “It’s a tradition. We spend the whole day in the park — from the parade to the fireworks.”

Although four of her children have moved away, she said they still return for the Fourth of July Celebration inside City Park, located at the intersection of Elmwood Avenue and Bywood Avenue.

The festival, which predates World War II and even Clawson’s incorporation date as a city, turns 80 this Fourth of July.

Events leading to the carnival and midway’s opening at 3 p.m. July 3 begin with an ice cream social and concert in the park June 26.

Beverly Formell said it has run largely uninterrupted, outside of a couple of years missed during World War II. Adults who visited the celebration as children are now coming with their grandchildren.

“We’re on second and third generations,” Formell said.

While many of the same contests and games will be returning, in honor of the 80 years, the committee researched classic games that were played throughout the years and are bringing them back.

“What we did was we went back and dug up some old games,” Formell said.

The classic games, like Hula-Hoop and egg toss, will be played from 2-4 p.m. on the Fourth of July.

What’s new

The committee is bringing in two new events this year for the Fourth of July. First is a skateboard exhibition within City Park that runs from 12-4 p.m. The Clawson Skate Park Project, an organization working to have a skate park built within City Park, is hosting the event.

The nonprofit organization Horses Heal Hearts will have horses in the parade on the morning of the Fourth of July and then will put on a horse show in the park beginning at 11 a.m.

Then the horses will be free for photo opportunities.

“They’ll set up a photo shoot so kids can take photos with the horses,” Formell said.
 

Volunteers still needed

Luebs said volunteers are still needed to man the entrance gates and collect the $2 admission to the midway July 3-4.

“The gate admission pays for the fireworks,” she said.

The celebration needs 48 people to cover two-hour shifts. Right now, Luebs said, they have only about half of the required volunteers. Additional volunteers are needed for various kids games.

Those interested in volunteering can sign up at www.clawson4thofjuly.org and click the “Sign up now” button to volunteer in the area of their choice.


The 80th annual Fourth of July Celebration has events from June 26 to July 4.
All events take place at City Park unless otherwise noted. Here are some of the events:

• June 26: The South Oakland Concert Band plays at 7:30 p.m. at City Park Pavilion
• June 30: The 5k Freedom Run begins at 7:30 p.m.
• July 3: Gates are open from 3-9 p.m. for bonus night with amusement rides and food concessions.
• July 4: Opening Ceremony at 8:45 a.m. at the Blair Memorial Library.
• July 4: Parade begins at 9 a.m. at Clawson Shopping Center and ends at City Park.
• July 4: Arts and Crafts fair begins at 10 a.m. and runs to 6 p.m.
• July 4: Horse show and photos with horses begin at 11 a.m.
• July 4: Skateboard exhibition begins at 12 p.m. and runs to 4 p.m.
• July 4: Fireworks show begins at dusk.

For a full listing of events, check out the Clawson Fourth of July Celebration Facebook page.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Robert Guttersohn at rguttersohn@candgnews.com or at (586)218-5006.