The Ultimate Air Dog Show will return to Blossom Heath Park for the 2018 Aqua Fest July 14 and 15.

The Ultimate Air Dog Show will return to Blossom Heath Park for the 2018 Aqua Fest July 14 and 15.

Photo provided by Brad Simmons

Family fun returns to Nautical Mile at Aqua Fest

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published July 6, 2018

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Dozens of watermelons. Hundreds of dogs. One Hawaiian luau. Tons of fun.

Organizers are hoping that this year’s Aqua Fest July 14 and 15 will be one of the best yet. 

Returning is the popular Ultimate Air Dog Show in Blossom Heath Park, where visitors can watch dogs jump amazing lengths. Shows will be held at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. July 14, and at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. July 15.

Another event going to the dogs — and cats and other injured animals — is the Nautical Mile 5K Walk/Run Fur Fun benefiting 4 Paws 1 Heart, which pays for medical treatment for abandoned and abused animals. The run will start at the pavilion in Blossom Heath Park, 24800 Jefferson Ave., at 10 a.m. July 14. Adult registration costs $30, and registration for children under 12 costs $15. Dogs can run for free. Register at or beginning at 9 a.m. the day of the event.

Throughout the day, there will be free trolley rides along the Nautical Mile, stopping at businesses and Blossom Heath Park. There will also be a craft and vendor expo in the park, pony rides and a petting zoo, as well as face painting in the park. 

A free family fishing derby will be held on the Blossom Heath Pier, across from the U.S. Coast Guard Station, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fishing rods and bait will be provided, and no licenses are required for the event. 

“The family fishing derby is outstanding at the fishing pier,” said Donna Flaherty, president of the Nautical Mile Merchants Association. “The Shorewood Kiwanis provides free fishing poles, bait and prizes, and they do a wonderful job.”

At 3 p.m., the 13th annual watermelon eating contest will take place. 

“Last year there might have been 80 people eating watermelon,” said Dave Rubello, one of the sponsors of the event and president of the Lac Ste. Claire Kiwanis Club. 

From 6 to 11 p.m., the Lac Ste. Claire Kiwanis Club is also working with the Cool City Committee to host a Hawaiian luau in Wahby Park, on Jefferson Avenue west of Blossom Heath Park. 

Assistant City Manager Bill Gambill, staff liaison for the Cool City Committee, said that there will be a Tiki hut set up in the park and run by Lac Ste. Claire Kiwanis for those 21 and older. Admission into the hut costs $5, and then drinks cost $4 each, or three for $10. The remainder of the area will be open for families as well, with barbecue pulled pork, pineapple slaw and other food available for purchase from Hiltzy’s Barbeque of Mount Clemens.

There will be steel drum music, limbo and fowling as well.

“It should be a good time,” Gambill said.

On Sunday, a pancake breakfast will be served at the Jefferson Yacht Club, 24504 Jefferson Ave. Entry costs $12 for adults and $7 for children 12 and younger, and includes pancakes, hash browns, sausage and fruit cocktail. 

The Ultimate Air Dog Show will return to the park July 15, as will the free trolley rides along the Nautical Mile, pony rides and petting zoo, and face painting. On both days, Great Lakes historian John Polacsek will host an exhibit on 200 years of steamboats on the Detroit River in front of Gifts Afloat, 25020 Jefferson Ave.

Also July 15, Jason Abbott will put on a comedy magic show in Blossom Heath Park at 3 p.m. and then make balloon animals for children. 

“The Nautical Mile is the place to be,” Flaherty said. “We have numerous volunteer organizations and sponsors (that) have helped us. The St. Clair Shores TIFA (Tax Increment Finance Authority) has provided tremendous support and funding for these events.”