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Clawson celebrates Fourth of July with gusto

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published June 22, 2015


CLAWSON — Carrying on a lengthy tradition of revelry, the city is kicking off its weeklong-and-then-some Fourth of July celebration beginning June 24 with an ice cream social and band concert.

Members of the Clawson Lions Club will begin serving ice cream sundaes at 7 p.m. June 24 at the Clawson City Park pavilion followed by a 7:30 performance by the South Oakland Concert band.

The ice cream event begins an Independence Day celebration like no other. Yes, Clawson has fireworks, but the festivities also include a midway, beautiful baby contest, coney dogs, and multiple runs and parades. The theme for this year’s fete is Clawson — 75 Years of Tradition.

Clawson Historical Museum curator Melodie Nichols said she isn’t sure of the reason why honoring the Fourth of July became such a momentous occasion for the community.

“I really don’t have an answer. It just is,” Nichols said. “It’s a traditional event and Clawson residents are always ready to celebrate that day.

“Maybe they’re just a patriotic bunch, or maybe it is just kind of remarkable that a small city can throw such a big party.”

Nichols said Clawson’s Fourth of July event has been a huge celebration since the first one occurred in 1933.

Nichols found a newspaper clipping from 1936, which states: “Determined to outdo its former grand scale all-day carnivals, the village is preparing to bloom this year in a bigger, funnier, and, if possible, longer celebration than those for which it has become noted in the past. If the town isn’t blown off the map by July 5, it will be due to some oversight by the committee in charge …”

She said that in the early years, the day included a kiddies’ parade, an old-timer’s baseball game, athletic contests, softball contests between the merchants, street dancing and, of course, fireworks.

“The celebrations have continued throughout the years, only discontinued a few years during World War II,” Nichols said. “Clawson continues to draw huge crowds for the celebration.”

One continual town favorite is the Kiddie Parade and Coney Day, which will take place at 11 a.m. June 27. Children and their families are invited to build a float, or decorate their bikes, scooters, wagons or other forms of transportation, and meet at Clawson Middle School before traveling down Phillips Avenue to Custer Avenue and ending at City Park, where members of the Clawson-Troy Optimist Club will be selling coney dogs, chips and drinks.

Thousands of spectators are expected to gather at 9 a.m. July 4 for the annual Clawson Fourth of July parade. The parade will begin at Crooks Road and travel down 14 Mile Road west to Main Street, where the parade will travel north to Elmwood Avenue and conclude in Clawson City Park.

The parade will be preceded by a Fourth of July opening ceremony at 8:30 a.m. at Blair Memorial Library.

Other July 4 morning events include the Herb Glenn Memorial Pancake Breakfast from 7-11 a.m. at Clawson United Methodist Church, and the 9 a.m. $1,000 Firecracker Mile. For more information about the run, which features cash prizes, visit

“We are proud to be recognized for the great fireworks — actually held on the Fourth — and family-friendly events leading up to the Fourth,” said Mayor Penny Luebs. “‘Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it,’ wrote Mark Twain. Clawson is recognized for our patriotism, tradition and values, as evidenced through our events.”

Other celebratory events include:
June 26 — Clawson Youth Assistance family recreation trip to Red Oaks Waterpark.

June 28 — 7 p.m. Free One Mile Fun Run and 7:30 p.m. Freedom Run 5K. Runners will be cheered on by residents while they run through the city. Preregistration for the 5K costs $15. Visit for more information.

June 29 — Clawson Youth Assistance geocaching event.

July 3 — 3-9 p.m. Arts & Crafts Fair featuring more than 85 vendors at City Park.

July 3  — 3-9 p.m. Midway games and rides. The $2 entry helps pay for the fireworks, balloons, bands and other July 4 activities.

July 3 — 9-10 p.m. Community dance featuring local live music at City Park.

July 4 — 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Arts & Crafts Fair continues.

July 4 — 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Midway games and rides continues.

July 4 — 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Free entertainment provided at City Park including Second Hand Smoke, Flatline and other live bands.

July 4 — Noon. Clawson Junior Boys All-Star Baseball Game featuring novice ages 9-10 at City Park.

July 4 — 1 p.m. Annual Clawson versus Troy fire departments water battle.

July 4 — 2 p.m. Clawson Junior Boys All-Star Baseball Game featuring novice ages 11-12 at City Park.

The celebration will culminate in the Clawson Fireworks at about 10 p.m. at Clawson City Park.

Voting in the Beautiful Baby Contest will be available at City Park during the festivities, and the winner will be announced and cash prizes awarded at 7 p.m July 4.

Visit to learn more about the entire lineup of events.