Festival in the Park will feature fireworks, plant exchange, more

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published June 24, 2019

 During last year’s Pre-Fourth of July Festival in the Park on  June 24, 2018, at Civic Center Park in Madison Heights, fireworks light up  the sky during the grand finale. This year’s festival will take place June 30.

During last year’s Pre-Fourth of July Festival in the Park on June 24, 2018, at Civic Center Park in Madison Heights, fireworks light up the sky during the grand finale. This year’s festival will take place June 30.

File photo by Sarah Purlee

  Lillian Barbosa, right, and Ian Dimaggio, both 6 and from  Madison Heights, make bubbles during the festival last year.

Lillian Barbosa, right, and Ian Dimaggio, both 6 and from Madison Heights, make bubbles during the festival last year.

File photo by Sarah Purlee

MADISON HEIGHTS — The annual Pre-Fourth of July Festival in the Park will once again end with a bang, with fireworks lighting up the skies over Civic Center Park. But there will be plenty of other things to check out before the night reaches its explosive conclusion.  

The festival will take place starting at 6 p.m. Sunday, June 30, with food vendors and offstage entertainment. The live music will start at 7:30 p.m., and the fireworks will start at 10 p.m., lasting about 20-30 minutes. The park itself is on the north side of 13 Mile Road, west of John R Road, between Lamphere High School and the Madison Heights Civic Center campus.

A new addition this year is an exchange for plants and gardening tools at a table hosted by the Environmental Citizens Committee.

“Our plant exchange will be a simple opportunity for residents to bring plants and gardening paraphernalia they no longer need, and to take new plants or gardening items they can use,” said Roslyn Grafstein, a member of the Madison Heights City Council who serves as the council rep for the Environmental Citizens Committee. 

“To participate, all you need to do is bring your labeled and individually wrapped extra plants, then take some new plants that you would like,” she said. “The label should have the plant name and a short description, along with basic care instructions.”

In the event of light rain, the inflatables on loan from Oakland County may be closed for safety. Heavy rain could result in all activities being temporarily postponed, or canceled if the rain persists. There is no rain date for the Festival in the Park.

The fireworks show will be done by Great Lakes Fireworks LLC, returning from last year with a portfolio comprising about 675 shells of various sizes and configurations. The $9,000 cost of the show is covered by donations from local businesses. The fireworks will be deployed from the small sled hill in the park. 

“Great Lakes (Fireworks) has provided a great show for the festival for a number of years,” said Sean Ballantine, public services analyst/planner for Madison Heights. “They’re always bringing new ideas and concepts with their display, so it’s always exciting and fresh for festival patrons.

“There is no bad place to watch the fireworks from, but the prime viewing area is in the center of the park around the hill,” he added. “We recommend people show up early to get a great seat and to enjoy everything the festival has to offer.”

Between 5,000 and 10,000 people show up each year, making it the most popular event in the city of Madison Heights. Available parking fills up fast at the Civic Center campus, Lamphere High School and surrounding businesses. Access from both Palmer Street and Agnello Drive off 13 Mile Road will be closed for the duration of the festival.

Among the other attractions will be the inflatables from Oakland County; face painting, henna tattoos and sand art; and a variety of food vendors along Palmer Street. A stage will be set up at the north edge of the park along 13 Mile Road, provided by Oakland County, with the city’s own stage set up in front as an extension. 

This year’s band is Great Scott, a six-piece cover band specializing in a wide range of music from the 1950s to today. The band is based out of Grand Rapids and performs across the Midwest. The music will end when the fireworks begin. 

Many civic groups help make the festival a success.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible group from Gospel Life Church, who help (Department of Public Services) staff with the daunting task of garbage cleanup” following the festival, Ballantine said. 

The cost of the festival reaches into the tens of thousands of dollars, he noted, but the vast majority of the cost is covered by donations and revenues from other city events and festival vendors, and so the remaining cost is limited to payroll for the DPS, police and fire employees keeping order. 

Those who show up may also want to check out the Jaycee shelter building at the foot of the sled hill, all four walls of which are being painted into a sprawling mural that celebrates the power of the imagination. Representatives from the Arts Board will be on hand to explain the project. 

“The festival is, and continues to be, a great family-friendly event. It’s a time to get outside and enjoy a great time with your family and friends in a spectacular location,” Ballantine said. “Speaking as a resident, I’ve never missed it. Speaking as an employee, I love being a part of it!”

Call Staff Writer Andy Kozlowski at (586) 279-1104.