Utica to throw 200th anniversary bash

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published May 10, 2017

UTICA — The city of Utica is ramping up for its bicentennial celebration June 22-25 in the heart of its downtown district.

The four-day event will kick off with opening ceremonies — including a historical highlight video presentation, a performance by the Utica High School marching band, and old-fashioned and regular-season baseball games — at Jimmy John’s Field on Thursday, June 22.

The event will be packed with live entertainment; a carnival and food court; a petting zoo; face painting and other kids activities; an array of art, antique and local product vendors; a beer tent; kayak and canoe rides; fireworks; and more.

“We encourage people to come out and party with us to celebrate 200 years,” said Linda Davis-Kirksey, co-chair of the event. “There’s something for everybody.”

On Friday night, Davis-Kirksey said, the Utica DDA will sponsor a big, free concert with several Nashville-based bands opening for The Swon Brothers, who were finalists on the TV show “The Voice.”

On Saturday, she said, the city will have a bicentennial kids day, with children’s activities at the riverfront Noonan Park, formerly known as Memorial Park, followed by fireworks.

As part of the bicentennial celebration, Davis-Kirksey said the Utica Historical Committee will offer free cemetery walks and historical home tours, and the Utica Public Library will showcase artifacts from the city’s past and play a longer historical highlight video in its Gibbing Room.

Several restaurants, such as Danny J’s Brick Tavern and Hogs Hollow Smokehouse, will offer outdoor dining in tents along Auburn Road, she said.

Auburn Road will be closed from Van Dyke Avenue to just before Jimmy John’s Field, so baseball fans can still attend games and park in the adjacent public lot, and Cass Avenue will be closed from Summers Street to M-59, Davis-Kirksey said.

Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation buses will provide free shuttle services to festivalgoers. Pickup and drop-off locations include Utica High School, Wiley Elementary School and St. Lawrence Parish.

“We’re really excited to invite our friends and neighbors to our little downtown to celebrate our historic 200-year celebration,” Utica Mayor Thom Dionne said. “We’re also excited to showcase the new events happening downtown, the influx of new businesses and the jewel of Macomb County, Jimmy John’s Field.”

For more information or for volunteer or sponsorship opportunities, visit www.utica-events.com or call (248) 608-8141.