Woods gets ready to have a blast

By: April Lehmbeck | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 26, 2013

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — The city is expecting big crowds again this year to see bold colors and bright lights fill up the night sky for the annual fireworks extravaganza this weekend.

Residents are known for making a big affair of the fireworks show by setting up their viewing spots along Mack the day before, filling Parcells and Mason’s fields and hosting backyard parties on fireworks night.

This year should be no different, when the city puts on the big show at dusk June 30.

“People line all up and down Mack Avenue,” Grosse Pointe Woods Executive Assistant Susan Como said. “They start putting their blankets out the day before, claiming their territory.

“It’s a very anticipated event,” she said. “It’s attended by thousands of people.”

Most of the festivities will take place at Parcells Middle School with entertainment by Motor City Mix. The crowd at Parcells can purchase a cold treat from the popular Wally’s Frozen Custard, which will show up in its signature fire truck. Also, Good Times Pizza will be on hand at Parcells to sell food to the spectators.

Global Glow Toys will be at both Parcells and Mason Elementary School’s fields to sell glow-stick items.

“Both of those fields get filled up,” Como said of Parcells and Mason.

“It is such a nice family, community event,” Como said.

The city has stepped up to make the safe event even safer for the families who come out.

“We have quite a bit of additional security officers working,” Grosse Pointe Woods Director of Public Safety Andrew Pazuchowski said.

Those include additional personnel coming from Hamtramck, Harper Woods, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Reserves and more.

There are volunteers from the schools, as well.

One addition this year is a specific, coned-off area for families as a protective measure for young children. The area will protect them from others, such as teens who are playing Frisbee or other activities.

“Sometimes, the little children would get trampled on,” Pazuchowski said.

“That’s going to be pretty nice, I think,” he said of the separate area for families with young children.

Another additional security feature is rental lighting to keep the field from going dark after the fireworks show ends. That will help keep people safe so they can see as they maneuver to leave.

“The field will be nice and bright at the end,” Pazuchowski said.

“It should be … a nice, peaceful family event,” Pazuchowski said of the fireworks.

Yet another addition this year is golf carts for security personnel. Maneuvering through traffic with scout cars can be tricky to get to areas that need attention. The Lochmoor Club donated golf carts so that public safety personnel can get to where they need to be quickly.

While many communities that once had fireworks have had to forego the big events due to budget issues in recent years, Como credited the event sponsors, many of them long-term supporters, for the city’s ability to keep it going.

The city has 16 sponsors for the fireworks this year. They are recognized several times, including with ads in local newspapers, banners along Parcells’ fence and more.

“Without them, this event wouldn’t happen,” she said.

Pazuchowski wanted to remind people that they cannot bring dogs, bicycles or alcohol onto the field.

“We will be checking backpacks and coolers and things like that for people who want to be on the field,” he said.

The rain date for the fireworks is July 1.