Carrying the torch, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel is joined by local youths as they make their way toward downtown Mount Clemens prior to the city’s fireworks show on June 22.

Carrying the torch, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel is joined by local youths as they make their way toward downtown Mount Clemens prior to the city’s fireworks show on June 22.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


City, county aglow for 200th

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published July 2, 2018

 U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Zachary Speck passes the torch to U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rebecca McGonnell June 21 at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township. The torch was run for 200 miles to celebrate the county’s bicentennial, being passed throughout every Macomb County community.

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Zachary Speck passes the torch to U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rebecca McGonnell June 21 at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township. The torch was run for 200 miles to celebrate the county’s bicentennial, being passed throughout every Macomb County community.

Photo by Donna Agusti

MOUNT CLEMENS — Both Mount Clemens Mayor Barb Dempsey and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel are honored to be leaders in the community during such a monumental year.

Since January, the county and the city have been celebrating their 200th birthdays, and it culminated — though some celebrations are still forthcoming — on June 22 with the end of a 200-mile torch relay, led by Hackel himself, and followed by the city’s annual fireworks display.

Dempsey said that while the wet weather kept crowd numbers down this year, those who did come downtown had a memorable evening.

“The crowd was loud and excited,” she said. “They loved the band (50 Amp Fuse), and Mark (Hackel) made it right on time, just before the fireworks started.

“And the fireworks were fantastic, as always.”

This year’s fireworks were put on again by Zambelli Fireworks, the Pennsylvania-based company that also put on this year’s Detroit fireworks.

Making his way to the riverfront, Hackel, carrying the bicentennial torch that made its way through 27 Macomb County communities starting June 21, was joined by a large group of local youths donning T-shirts that read “The Future.” The group entered downtown Mount Clemens, running down Cass Avenue toward North Gratiot Avenue before arriving the riverfront, and ended the relay by lighting a special bicentennial sign that read “Happy 200th.”

“This 200-mile nonstop relay, through every community in Macomb County, symbolizes 200 years of continuous progress in our county,” said Hackel. “This relay is about connecting our community, and building upon that sense of pride for this place we call home.”

The eight bicentennial torches carried in the relay were created by Macomb Community College students, faculty and staff, and took eight months to design and build. The final torches were 28 inches tall, 7 1/2 inches wide at the crown, and weighed 2 1/2 pounds without fuel. They featured several special symbols representing the county’s history and heritage. Torchbearers in each city and township were nominated to participate by their local communities for their service and commitment to the area.

“It was very exciting to run a leg of the relay and take part in the bicentennial celebration,” said John Paul Rea, director of Macomb County Planning and Economic Development, a Huron-Clinton Metroparks board member, and a torchbearer in the relay. “This event is a true testament to the people of Macomb County. People coming together to celebrate 200 years of rich history, and looking forward to the next 200 filled with energy and excitement.”