Lakes area residents itching to “ooh” and “ahh” at some of the best fireworks displays for the Fourth of July in the metro Detroit region need to look no farther than their own backyard — sometimes literally — as various organizations are holding both public and private fireworks displays to celebrate Independence Day.
However, it’s important to remember that when an event is listed as being private, the hosts mean it, so be sure to abide by their wishes. Parking alongside a roadway to view the fireworks is frowned upon, and could even result in police action such as a ticket.
So be sure to be neighborly, and make careful note as you read this special report on which events are public and which are private. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!
We love a parade…
The Milford Historical Society will host the annual Fourth of July parade on Monday, July 4 in downtown Milford beginning at 11 a.m.
The annual parade will step off at Commerce and Main streets and move south to General Motors Road.
Russ Rheaume, the historical society’s president and one of the parade coordinators, said he expects around 60 entries in this year’s parade.
Katherine Rheaume, the historical society’s recording secretary, serves as the other parade coordinator.
Also expected to participate is this year’s Miss Michigan and a contestant in the upcoming Miss America pageant, Elizabeth Wertenberger. There will also be a performance by the Huron Valley middle schools combined summer band.
Russ Rheaume added that there will be numerous parade entries from local businesses, as well as free ice cream compliments of the Huron Valley State Bank.
There will also be fire engines from several area departments, including the Milford Fire Department and possibly the White Lake and South Lyon departments, along with horses and other animals appearing in the parade.
Milford-area Cub Scouts will march along with honor guards from the American Legion and a team of German shepherds.
Candy will be thrown out to spectators during the parade.
For more information about the annual parade, contact Russ or Katherine Rheaume at the Milford Historical Society by calling 248-684-7373.
Camp Dearborn, which is owned and operated by the city of Dearborn, held a fireworks display on July 3 last year, but Milford Township Treasurer Cynthia Dagenhardt said that the city of Dearborn decided not to have a display this year because it was too expensive.
Dagenhardt added that Kensington Metropark held a fireworks display back on June 11 in honor of Flag Day in order to avoid traffic congestion.
Shows around the
W. Bloomfield area
On June 6, the West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees approved six fireworks displays set to take place in the township over the next two months.
West Bloomfield’s first fireworks display will be a private display at the Benson Ford, Jr. Property on Walnut Lake on Saturday, July 2. It’s scheduled to start 15 minutes after dusk. The rain date for the display will be Saturday, July 9.
On Sunday, July 3, there will be three fireworks shows, including the fireworks display held over Union Lake beginning at dusk. The rain date for the Union Lake fireworks is Monday, July 4.
Another fireworks show on July 3 will be seen over Sylvan Lake, presented at the Oakland County Boat Club. The event features a live band from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and a DJ after the fireworks.
A private display by the Pine Lake Country Club over Pine Lake is also scheduled at dusk on July 3. The rain date is Saturday, July 9.
The Shady Beach Improvement Association’s private fireworks display over the waters of Upper Straits Lake is scheduled for Monday, July 4 at dusk, with a rain date of Saturday, July 9.
The Green Lake Association will also hold its own private fireworks display over the waters of Green Lake on Saturday, July 9 at 10 p.m. with a rain date of Saturday, July 10.
Finally, there will be a private fireworks show presented by Temple Shir Shalom on Walnut Lake Road on Monday, Aug. 15 at dusk, with a rain date of Tuesday, Aug. 16.
West Bloomfield Fire Marshal Pat Rainey said that the township really hasn’t had a problem with the general public trying to horn in on private shows.
“As a matter of fact, Pine Lake allows the public to attend for a fee,” Rainey said.
“Other shows are on the lake, so people can watch them from their boats. If we ever had such an occurrence of trespassing, it would be a police matter.”
He added that some police officers direct traffic at Pine Lake and that the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department Marine Division is responsible for patrolling the waters.
According to Rainey, the number of Fourth of July related displays is about the same this year, but the overall number of fireworks permits for the year is down.
“We had a couple weddings and birthdays last year that we don’t have this year,” he said. “However, we did pick up the Benson Ford, Jr. Property this year. I don’t think it’s due to the economy.”
He added that there possibly could be more fireworks displays scheduled this year, but he isn’t aware of anything definite at the time.
Holiday shows set
Three lake associations have pulled fireworks permits for the month of July. Commerce Lake will be holding a fireworks display on Saturday, July 2.
Meanwhile, both Lake Sherwood and Long Lake will be holding private fireworks shows. Lake Sherwood’s is scheduled for Saturday, July 2, with a rain date of July 3. Long Lake’s fireworks will be shot off on July 4.
All three shows are expected to start at dusk.
According to Commerce Township Supervisor Tom Zoner, the township hasn’t received any complaints of the public “crashing” fireworks shows meant for private lake homeowners, nor have they’ve seen a drop in the amount of fireworks permits requested this year.
2 public displays
in White Lake
The sky will be alight with fireworks over Cedar Island Lake on Friday, July 1, courtesy of the Cedar Island Lake Association. In the case of inclement weather, the fireworks display will be postponed until Friday, July 8.
The fireworks over White Lake are scheduled for Saturday, July 2 with a rain date of July 9.
Both shows are set to begin around dusk and are open to the public, with public boat access sites at both lakes. However, parking is very limited in the area.
Township officials say they haven’t seen a decline in permit requests due to the economy.
24th Tiki Night
The village of Wolverine Lake will be presenting its 24th annual Tiki Night on Sunday, July 3. The event is a precursor to Independence Day festivities around the lake, where lakefront residents light the perimeter of the shoreline with Tiki candles at dusk.
A barge will be set up in the middle of the lake for a fireworks display by Zambelli Fireworks International. The fireworks are scheduled to begin around 10 p.m.
This year the village raised about $13,000 toward the fireworks display through private donations, according to Village Councilman Mike Stack.
Unlike some years, there will not be a boat parade on the lake this year.
“We’ve had a poor showing the last couple of years so we put it on the back burner,” said Village Administrative Assistant Jennifer Hansen of the boat parade.
Wolverine Lake’s marine patrol officers, together with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department Marine Division, will patrol to oversee public safety.
“Reserves from Wixom, Walled Lake and Oakland County will also help with parking,” Stack said. “Around 9:30 to 10 p.m. people start parking anywhere and then go up to residents’ homes uninvited. It can become an issue.”
Most of the holiday weekend festivities are held at private parties. There is some public access at the DNR launch site on the lake, but limited fireworks viewing opportunities elsewhere.
“Parking is available at Hickory Glen Park on Glengary and some people can watch the display from the public access ramp,” Stack said. “There will also be parking at Clara Miller Park and people can walk over to the Benstein boardwalk.”
According to Tiki Night Coordinator Joanne Sullivan, village residents have purchased about 1,600 citronella candles to line up around the lake for this year’s Tiki Night.
“Some people also use other candles or their own liquid torch fuel so the amount of lights could be doubled around the shoreline,” she said.
“There are four candle suppliers who stock the candles, in addition to Gene Matkowski who stocks them on his pontoon boat,” Sullivan added. “He goes out every evening a few weeks beforehand and delivers them.”
Residents line up the candles 8 to 10 feet apart around the lake’s shoreline. The candles typically burn for three to four hours.
According to Sullivan, many village volunteers donated their time and effort to make Tiki Night a success.
“It’s just a spectacular sight,” she said.
Bursts of color,
blasts in Waterford
A private fireworks show will be held over Williams Lake beginning at dusk on Saturday, July 16.
“We have our own barge that comes out in the middle of the water and puts on a fantastic display,” said Williams Lake Association President Joe Petrusha.
The festivities actually commence the weekend before with a fishing tournament. Results are then announced the following Sunday.
A festival will commence Friday, July 15 with a boat rally where members participate in the same fashion as a scavenger hunt.
“We’ve had this large festival for about 50 years and fireworks for the last decade,” Petrusha said.
Saturday, July 16, kicks off a day filled with fun for the entire family. Kiddy games begin promptly at 10 a.m. and finish up around noon, at which time a box lunch of hot dogs and chips will be served for $2 each.
A boat parade, as well as watercraft sports are planned for the afternoon. Afterwards, and in anticipation of the fireworks, private parties abound up and down the Williams Lake shoreline.
“Every homeowner will host a private party of his own,” Petrusha said.
The association antes up between $8,000 and $10,000 per year to purchase fireworks. The majority of the costs are paid for by fund-raising events prior to the fireworks display. A raffle also will be held on Sunday, July 17 to recoup costs. A DJ will emcee the raffle. Cash prizes, as well as awards for the fishing tournament and boat rally, will also be presented.
Also scheduled for Sunday is an exhilarating ski show presented by the Spray Masters Water Ski Team of Fenton. The premier water ski show team has been performing shows throughout Oakland County for over 20 years.
Acts include barefooting, a ballet line, doubles, swivel skiing, and pyramids up to four tiers high.
“They do jumps and tricks — each year is a different theme,” Petrusha said.
Despite all the hoopla on the lake during the festival weekend, Petrusha said the association has experienced no problems in recent years with party crashers.
“There’s no public access and we’ve had no problems,” he said.
This weekend, a fireworks display featuring two barges will be held on Maceday Lake starting at 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 2. The Maceday-Lotus Lakes Association raises between $13,000 and $15,0000 toward the event each year.
“We have a combination of sponsors and homeowners donations,” said Board Member Jim Oldford.
The display, put on by Ace Pyro Techniques, lasts between 30 and 40 minutes. A rain date of Sunday, July 3 is scheduled in case of inclement weather.
The association alternates the event between Maceday and Lotus lakes each year. This year Maceday will be the host lake.
“We like the fireworks to be held the Saturday before July 4 because of the lake parties. Most people want their parties on the weekend,” he said. “We have a couple hundred homes that can look out onto the barges.”
He added that over 200 boats will anchor on the water to take in the fireworks display.
While the fireworks exhibition technically is private, there is some public access provided at the DNR’s launch ramp on Maceday Lake. According to Oldford, there have been no problems in the past with interlopers.
“We don’t mind if the public attends — we’ve had no problems or complaints, but there are only 17 parking spots to put their boats in (at the DNR’s Maceday Lake access site) and only 5 to 10 parking spots for cars at the public access,” Oldford said. “There’s a small stretch on Maceday Lake Road where maybe 15 to 20 cars can park, otherwise there’s no main roads that go down by the lake.”
To continue with the festivities, on July 4, the association hosts a bike parade where 45 to 50 kids decorate their bikes followed by a boat parade where typically 20 to 40 boats participate. Prizes are awarded to winners.
Later in the month, the Elizabeth Lake Estates Improvement Association is holding its fireworks display in the skies over Elizabeth Lake on Saturday, July 9 at dusk. The rain date is July 10, in case of inclement weather.
A barge will be set up on the lake for the private fireworks display — there is no public access for Elizabeth Lake.
Calls to association representatives weren’t returned prior to press time.