Shelby Township offers summer fun for families

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published June 23, 2021

 The Shelby Township DDA Independence Day Fireworks will take place at Ford Field Central Park, 7460 23 Mile Road, at 10 p.m. July 1. Pictured, spectators watch the 2019 edition of the township’s fireworks show.

The Shelby Township DDA Independence Day Fireworks will take place at Ford Field Central Park, 7460 23 Mile Road, at 10 p.m. July 1. Pictured, spectators watch the 2019 edition of the township’s fireworks show.

File photo by Erin Sanchez


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — School is out, and now that children and their families have more time, parents are seeking ways to keep their children active and engaged. Shelby Township’s Parks, Recreation and Maintenance Department, Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center, and the Shelby Township Library have the answers.

The township has many opportunities for residents to get out and share new experiences throughout the summer.

Last summer in Shelby Township wasn’t the same without the annual fireworks show, but residents can come to this year’s Shelby Township DDA Independence Day Fireworks at Ford Field Central Park July 1, which will also feature a food truck rally. The food truck rally, which has 17 trucks signed up, will start at 4 p.m., and the fireworks will start at 10 p.m. The park is located at 7460 23 Mile Road.

Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis said it was a difficult summer last year.

“I applaud the hard work of PRM Director Joe Youngblood, Library Director Katie Ester, Deputy Supervisor Chelsea Oland and the township staff that got together and put our 2021 summer schedule together at the last minute,” Stathakis stated in a press release.

In addition to the fireworks, the township will bring back other traditional summer events, including free Wednesday concerts, the Shelby Township Flea Market July 24, the Kid-to-Kid Sale Aug. 7 and the 38th annual Shelby Township Art Fair Aug. 14-15.

The Shelby Township Library has activities planned for all ages this summer. As part of its summer reading programming with the theme of “Reading Colors Your World,” activities will take place behind the library at Senior Citizen Park, 51720 Van Dyke Ave., for its “Park it Behind the Library” series.

Katie Ester, the director of the Shelby Township Library, said they know that families are looking for fun, free activities all summer long, and the library has just the thing.

“The staff at the library specialize in creating these engaging programs for kids, teens and adults alike. Our annual summer reading program that allows readers to track their reading all summer and earn prizes is a huge draw with hundreds of Shelby Township residents of all ages participating. Our librarians are never happier than when our library is busy and bustling with residents attending events, choosing audiobooks to listen to on the way to a vacation destination, picking out their Saturday night movie on DVD, or looking for their next favorite book,” Ester said via email.

The library has more than 20 events planned for the “Park it Behind the Library” series, and patrons can find the full schedule on the summer reading program website

Shelby library Youth Services Librarian Jennifer Sunderhaus said summer reading is one of their favorite times at the library, and the staff loves seeing all the kids and families at the weekly events, hearing about all the books they’re reading and awarding the grand prizes.

“We’re excited to see library users we haven’t seen since the beginning of the pandemic. This summer is one step closer to normal, but whatever your comfort level is, we have something for you at the library this summer. In addition to the in-person events, we’re still offering the grab-and-go craft and activity kits you can do safely at home,” Sunderhaus said in a press release.

Summer at the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center involves programs and academies, which include things like story times, tours of Pioneer Cabin or learning to use survival skills during a “zombie apocalypse.” The center has planned its Pollinator Party for 2-4 p.m. June 26 at a cost of $3 per attendee, its free log cabin celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 27 and its $3 per child “Creatures of the Night” program for 8-10 p.m. July 17. There will be guided Sunday hikes and Saturday story times for ages 3-5. The center’s summer academies, which include archery, nature exploration and the zombie apocalypse wilderness survival academy, will begin in late June and run through mid-August. The bulk of the academies cost around $60 for residents and a little more for nonresidents.

On Aug. 14-15, Shelby Township’s River Bends Park will host the 38th Annual Shelby Township Art Fair and its more than 100 national, regional and local artists and artisans. The event includes activities and entertainment for the whole family. Entry is free, and the fair hours will be 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

“Whether it’s the nature center academies, maintaining 1,200 acres of parks or coordinating programs like our day camp and art fair, summer is a challenge for our department, but it’s a challenge that we thoroughly enjoy,” Youngblood said in a press release. “We missed all of our residents and neighbors last year, so this year it is even more enjoyable to welcome them back to our parks, programs and event,” he said.

For more information, call the township at (586) 731-5100 or visit