Marlo Hohenthaner, right, of St. Clair Shores, looks over carrots with Brett Sherry, left, of Macomb Township, at a previous Dodge Park Farmers Market. City officials hope to bring back the market to the park’s pavilion, starting this spring.

Marlo Hohenthaner, right, of St. Clair Shores, looks over carrots with Brett Sherry, left, of Macomb Township, at a previous Dodge Park Farmers Market. City officials hope to bring back the market to the park’s pavilion, starting this spring.

File photo by Sean Work


City’s event schedule hopes to give COVID-weary residents a ‘break’

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published April 19, 2021

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STERLING HEIGHTS — Sterling Heights is optimistic that some newly scheduled events can give people a break from being cooped up in their homes, should the threat of COVID-19 recede from the community.

On April 6, Sterling Heights city officials gathered at the Sterling Heights Community Center and rolled out a list of “Break-Free Blast” public events starting in late spring and continuing through the rest of the year.

Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor lamented how the Community Center had to close so soon after its Feb. 29, 2020, grand opening and how the last major event the city had prior to shutdowns was the Cultural Exchange. Even the 2020 Sterlingfest Art and Music Fair was canceled.

But Taylor said the city is still invested in presenting amenities that came about through the past few years’ Recreating Recreation campaign.

“All of us have really been sort of depressed about the way things went the last year,” Taylor said. “So with all the cancellations last year, I know myself, personally, and our City Council have challenged our administration to come up with a plan so that we can do something in the summer of 2021 responsibly and do it in a way that we can give our residents something to look forward to.”

Taylor added that the event announcements could give people hope. He also urged residents to get vaccinated, adding that the more that happens, the more likely the city will be able to open things back up.

Here is the “Break-Free Blast” calendar thus far:

Thursdays between May 27 and Sept. 30: The city plans to hold its Dodge Park Farmers Market 3-8 p.m., Patios ‘n’ Pints will serve breweries’ alcoholic beverages by the Upton House at 5 p.m., and Music in the Park will bring local bands to the Dodge Park Amphitheatre at 7 p.m.

Kyle Langlois, the city’s Parks and Recreation director, said the city has been planning for the last year to restart its programming. He added that the city was able to do the 2020 market in a limited capacity, and they hope to expand this year. He added that the market will hold a “flower-only day” May 27.

May 31: Officials plan to hold a 9 a.m. Memorial Day ceremony near City Hall and reveal a refurbished memorial garden. A pack of vehicles will then cruise together along a route to be revealed in May. The city said the cruise route may go through the neighborhood of the winner of a Sterling Heights patriotic veterans art contest geared for kids in kindergarten through sixth grade. That contest has an April 28 deadline, and interested parties should call (586) 446-2489.

On an unrelated note, the Dodge Park splash pad is slated to also open that day and stay open until Labor Day, officials added.

June 18: Sterling Heights will hold its Cultural Exchange outdoors at the Dodge Park Farmers Market Pavilion starting at 6 p.m. Ethnic food, performances and informational displays will be part of the event.

Aug. 3: The Sterling Heights Police Department looks forward to holding its National Night Out public outreach event 5:30-7:30 p.m. Police equipment demonstrations, games and prizes are scheduled to take place.

Sterling Heights Police Chief Dale Dwojakowski said last year’s National Night Out was virtual, but he is looking forward to an in-person event where the public could see the Police Department and new gear.

“Nothing against virtual, but I think we’ve all been virtualed out,” Dwojakowski said.

Oct. 8-9: The Sterlingfest Art and Music Fair won’t be happening this July, but the city hopes to replace it with a musical Oktoberfest event. Scheduled music acts include Plain White T’s Oct. 8, Lou Gramm The Original Voice of Foreigner / Asia Featuring John Payne Oct. 9, plus some local bands.

Oct. 23: The Sterling Frights Halloween event expects to return, with safety precautions in place. Festive music, food, games and more promise to offer family fun.

Dec. 4: The city plans to bring back A Sterling Christmas complete with Santa, a tree lighting and other family activities. And although the date wasn’t specified, city officials expect the Dodge Park skating rink to reopen in early December, too, and stay open until early March 2022.

Sterling Heights Community Relations Director Melanie Davis praised the plans as “a bit of light at the end of what’s been a very, very long tunnel.” Davis emphasized that these plans will take the public health situation into account, so events could be scaled up or scaled down as needed.

Find out more about Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489.

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