Break out your sparklers, west Oakland County — or, for the daring types, the newly legalized types of pyrotechnics. The Fourth of July is soon upon us, and a variety of activities are lined up for lakes area residents to take part in, including the annual Sparks in the Park event in Highland Township, as well as Wolverine Lake’s expanded version of Tiki Night, among a slew of others.
What follows is a run-down of all the festivities taking part in the lakes area over the next few weeks so residents can celebrate America’s 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. Don’t park alongside a roadway to view a private fireworks display, as that can cause traffic congestion and risk public safety. Don’t park on people’s property, or block fire hydrants. Don’t show up in somebody’s yard uninvited. Be sure to be neighborly, and make careful note as you read this special report on which events are public and which are private — and have a safe and happy Fourth of July!
Three lake associations in the township have pulled fireworks permits for the months of June and July. North Commerce Lake and Lake Sherwood will both be holding their private fireworks displays on Saturday, June 30, with a rain date of Monday, July 1.
Meanwhile, Long Lake will be holding fireworks festivities on Wednesday, July 4, with a rain date of July 5.
All of those fireworks shows are expected to start at dusk.
Edgewood Country Club will hold its fireworks display on Tuesday, June 26, with a rain date of Wednesday, June 27.
WHITE LAKE TOWNSHIP
The sky will be lit with fireworks over Cedar Island Lake on Friday, June 29, courtesy of the Cedar Island Lake Association.
White Lake will see fireworks on Saturday, June 30.
Both shows are set to begin around dusk, with public boat access sites at both lakes. However, parking is very limited at the access sites and is reserved for those launching a boat.
Once again the night sky over Huron Valley Milford High School will be lit up as the Highland-White Lake Business Association (HWLBA) hosts Sparks in the Park on Saturday, June 30.
As is the case with many public events, Sparks in the Park was a small community event centered around a traditional fireworks display when it first started 12 years ago. But it now has grown into a summer festival attracting approximately 10,000 people annually. However, it’s quite likely even more people annually enjoy the event’s fireworks from other areas along Milford Road and not at the Sparks in the Park site.
Yet, enough people came to the site that the HWLBA had to move Sparks in the Park from its original location at Hickory Ridge Pines Park off of Hickory Ridge Road. With so many people attending, there became an overwhelming problem with traffic and parking.
Moving the event to Milford High School became the solution.
The move to the high school offered another opportunity to expand the event by adding the Great Campout, hosted by Huron Valley Recreation and Community Education. Now in its fifth year, it has become a popular attraction.
According to Laura Kay, an HWLBA administrator, approximately 70 tents were used at the camp site last year.
Campsites are 15-feet-by-15-feet and can accommodate up to six people. Each camp site is limited to two tents, and an adult must be present at each camp site.
The camping includes a free hot dog meal, free access to the high school’s pool facilities until 8:30 p.m., lawn games, VIP fireworks seating and parking, s’mores, and a breakfast the following morning sponsored by Rodnick Chiropractic.
You can still register for the Great Campout online at www.huronvalleyrec.com. Forms will also be accepted by mail or fax. Registration ends Friday, June 22.
The cost per camp site is $35. For more information about the Great Campout, call 248-676-8390.
Sparks in the Park will also have many family-friendly activities again this year, including bounce houses, face painting and crafts, and food vendors.
Also in its second year will be the Sparks Market Avenue, featuring vendors with locally crafted, hand-made products, and locally grown produce.
In an effort to encourage economic growth in Michigan, Sparks Market Avenue will feature vendors who produce their items in Michigan.
For additional information on becoming a vendor, contact Kevin Lawrence at 246-755-1195 or at email@example.com.
Sparks in the Park will begin at 3 p.m. with the Great Campout. The Sparks Market Avenue will start at 4 p.m., while family activities will start at 5 p.m. Live music — featuring pop, rock, classic rock, bluegrass, and original tunes — will also be played from 5 to 10 p.m., followed by the fireworks.
The line up of the live bands is as follows:
• Miss Kayla Nettles;
• Bulletproof Snow;
• Mean Mary;
• Infinity Hour Unplugged (Huron Valley’s Got Talent winner);
• Perfect Fifth (Huron Valley’s Got Talent winner);
• Mainstreet; and
• Remedy Detroit
Addy O’Brien will be singing the National Anthem, while the Novi Concert Band will provide patriotic music during the fireworks display.
There will be free on-site parking at Milford High School, which will be accessible by Watkins Road or by the service drive from Lone Tree Road. Parking will be first-come, first-serve until the lots are full. Donations are welcome.
Meanwhile, a shuttle service will not be available this year.
A site plan detailing where to park and watch the fireworks can be found at the HWLBA website at www.hwlba.com.
The Milford Historical Society will host its annual Fourth of July Parade on Wednesday, July 4 in downtown Milford beginning at 11 a.m.
The parade will step off at Commerce and Main streets and move south to Atlantic/General Motors Road.
Former Milford Historical Society President Russ Rheaume and Katherine Rheaume, a former historical society recording secretary, will serve as the parade coordinators for the 10th consecutive year.
Russ Rheaume said he expects 3,000 people in attendance for this year’s parade.
“This will be bigger than ever,” he said. “We’ll have a lot of churches and politicians participating.”
He added that he believes Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard and former state Sen. Nancy Cassis will be in attendance.
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 Huron Valley State Bank.
There will also be fire engines from several area fire 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 and Special Olympics participants will march along with honor guards from the American Legion and a team of German shepherds. Also participating will be the Kensington Trail Riders and representatives of the Carls Family YMCA.
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, will not hold a fireworks display for the second consecutive year. The city of Dearborn pulled the plug on the display last year because it was too expensive.
WEST BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP
On May 14, the West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees approved permits for six fireworks displays set to take place in the township over the next two months.
West Bloomfield’s first fireworks display will be held over Union Lake on Tuesday, July 3, beginning at dusk. The rain date is July 14.
A private display by the Pine Lake Country Club is also scheduled at dusk on July 3. The rain date is July 4.
There will be a private display at the Benson Ford, Jr. property on Walnut Lake on July 4, scheduled for 15 minutes after dusk. The rain date for the display will be Thursday, July 5.
The Green Lake Association will also hold its own private fireworks display on Saturday, July 7 at 10 p.m. with a rain date of Sunday, July 8.
The Shady Beach Improvement Association’s private fireworks display on Upper Straits Lake is scheduled for July 7 at dusk, with a rain date of July 8.
Finally, there will be a private fireworks display by Temple Shir Shalom on Walnut Lake Road on Aug. 20 at dusk, with a rain date of Aug. 21.
In addition, the public fireworks show over Sylvan Lake will be held on July 3, presented at the Oakland County Boat Club, located at 2330 Ferndale Avenue, with a live band from 6 to 10 p.m. and a DJ after the fireworks.
The boat club will also have a sing-a-long of “God Bless America” at 9:55 p.m., as well as food and drinks all night.
Gino’s Pizzeria & Restaurant at 1999 Cass Lake Road will also provide free shuttle service to the Oakland County Boat Club from 6 p.m. to midnight.
Unique to the lakes area, the village of Wolverine Lake will be hosting an 85-foot Grand Princess Riverboat on its namesake for a two-week stay that includes a Tiki Night Fireworks dinner and cruise on July 3 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the village’s holiday tradition.
The boat sails in Friday, June 29 and will depart July 15.
“This year it’s more of an experiment than anything to see what events work well and what doesn’t,” said Mike Stack, who co-chairs a committee dealing with the event along with village resident John Blankenship.
The events open to the public are intended to benefit the village’s fireworks fund and local charities.
“Next year, once our feet are semi-planted, we will figure out how to bring local organizations in and fund theirs on the boat,” Stack said.
Activities and cruises are lined up for nearly every day of the festivities and vary in price. Enjoy a dinner cruise, a Pirate Adventure, a Teen Sun Dance or a leisurely riverboat ride.
“From July 2 through July 8, every day something is scheduled,” Stack said. “There will be openings available for corporate sponsors.”
Some of the highlights include a July 4 Wolverine Lake historical brunch cruise, a narrated tour hosted by the Wolverine Lake Historical Committee. The tour runs from noon to 2 p.m. A barbecue brunch will be provided by Uptown Grille. Costs are $25 per adult and $15 for children 12-years-old and younger.
The July 5 Pirate Adventure is tailored to those 13-years-old and under. Kids will be enthralled by the pirates in costume and treasure hunt to take place on a beach location. Pizza and ice cream is included in the $15 ticket price. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Seniors are sure to enjoy the senior luncheon cruise on Friday, July 6 from noon to 2 p.m. Costs are $25 per person and seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. A cash bar is available.
Also on July 6, teenagers between 14- and 18-years-old will have their own fun in the sun during the Teen Sun Dance and Pizza Party cruise from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Costs are $20 per person and a parental consent and signed waiver form is mandatory to attend.
Other events include a Girls Night Out cruise, which is already sold out; a Mardi Gras dinner cruise; and afterglow or brunch cruises. For a complete listing of events, dates, times, and prices, visit www.wolverinelake.com.
Food during weekend excursions and cruises will be provided by a trio of local restaurants, including Uptown Grille, A Matter of Taste, and The Root. Each dinner will be served buffet style. A cash bar will be available.
Reservations are necessary and tickets are limited.
Order your tickets now online or stop by Village Hall at 425 Glengary Road. For more information, call 248-624-1710. When ordering tickets online, select “Village of Wolverine Lake,” then select payment type. Be sure to enter the specific event name and start time where required.
Tickets purchased online with a credit card will be available for pick-up at Village Hall two days after registration or at “Will Call” during the event boarding. However, tickets purchased at the Village Hall must be paid for with a check or cash only.
These are rain or shine events; no refunds are available.
Parking is available at Village Hall.
The skies over Walled Lake will be awash with brilliance on Saturday, June 23 during the inaugural Freedom Festival, a fireworks gala open to the public.
Bayside Bar and Grille General Manager Todd Clickner conceptualized and spearheaded the event, which has the theme of “Let Freedom Ring,” through a not-for-profit organization, the Walled Lake Civic Fund.
“I originated the idea but wanted it as a city event, so we started the civic fund for community involvement,” Clickner said.
The fireworks spectacular is expected to become an annual event and will be held the last Saturday in June beginning next year.
“The Walled Lake Civic Fund was developed to raise funds to put on the fireworks, but Bayside is the biggest contributor and promotes it,” said Walled Lake Civics Fund President Ron Johnson.
The fireworks alone cost around $16,000, according to Johnson.
“There will be three barges: One smaller barge close to Bayside and a small and large 30-foot barge in the middle of the lake,” Johnson said. “It will be a full-blown show. We haven’t had fireworks since the early 1980s and never shot them off from the middle of the lake on barges.”
The show will commence at dusk. A rain date of Sunday, June 24 is scheduled in case of inclement weather.
Festivities at Bayside begin prior to the fireworks exhibit start around 4 p.m. and end around 2 a.m. Kids activities include face painting, jugglers, and two inflatables. There will also be a riding bull and seven themed bars, along with 12 different DJs during the day set up on a concert stage.
Live entertainment will begin at 9:30 p.m. at Bayside. The Atomics, a classic rock band, will play everything from the classics through Top 40 hits.
Parking will be provided on the Walled Lake side of the lake in two church parking lots, as well as at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home and PNC Bank.
The Walled Lake Police Department is proposing a temporary “no parking” order on 27 streets around the lake from 4 p.m. on June 23 to noon on June 24.
A private fireworks show featuring two barges will be held at the south end of Lotus Lake starting at 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 30.
A rain date of July 1 is slated in case of inclement weather.
The Maceday-Lotus Lakes Association alternates the event between Maceday and Lotus lakes each year.
While the fireworks exhibition is private, there is some public access provided at the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) boat launch ramp on Maceday Lake.
As a part of the festivities, the association will host its annual Kids Bike Parade. Each bike is decorated as a means of personal expression. Prizes are awarded. The bike parade is followed by a boat parade.
In conjunction with the Fourth of July celebration, the association will be holding a Light up the Lakes contest where residents present lakeside displays of tiki torches and patriotic lighting.
Each decorated display will be judged July 2 after 9:30 p.m. by a panel of impartial judges. Cash prizes will be awarded.
Summerfest is an event Williams Lake Homeowners Association members make a top priority. The private fireworks event will be held over Williams Lake beginning at 10 p.m. July 21.
The association rolls out festivities the weekend before with a fishing tournament and results are announced the following Sunday.
A festival will commence the evening of July 20 with a boat rally.
Then on July 21, the activities kick off with crafts and face painting between 10 a.m. and noon. A hot dog lunch will be available as a fund-raiser for $2 each.
As a part of the festivities, a cardboard boat race will be held, in which participants build boats out of cardboard and duct tape and each boat follows an obstacle course.
“You’d be surprised by the ingenuity people put into it,” said Williams Lake Homeowners Association President Joe Petrusha.
The day after the fireworks, the Spray Masters Water Ski Team will perform on the lake. A raffle will also be held on Sunday to recoup fireworks costs. A DJ will be on hand to emcee the raffles. Cash prizes, along with awards for the fishing tournament and boat rally, will be presented.
Club Royale Marina will be sponsoring a private fireworks spectacular on Elizabeth Lake on Aug. 3 at dusk. In case of rain, an alternate date of Aug. 4 has been reserved.
Thanks to local business owners, an Independence Day extravaganza in Wixom is planned for Thursday, June 28 complete with a spectacular fireworks over Sibley Park.
The city had rescinded its tradition of holding a fireworks display in 2010 due to economic challenges. The move to return the event was made public during Mayor Kevin Hinkley’s State of the City address when he said there was a groundswell of support to return the fireworks display to Wixom to underscore the importance of Independence Day.
“It’s a fabulous opportunity — not just for the city, but the region,” Hinkley said.
As a result, an ad hoc fireworks committee was formed to aggregate donations. A few businesses — such as Total Sports, which doled out $4,000, and Short’s Brewery, which anteed up $1,000 — stepped up to contribute.
“The businesses and some residents have contributed, as well as the VFW, to bring back this venue,” Hinkley said. “It truly shows how the businesses have wrapped their arms around the community and furthers ‘buy local, buy Michigan” to promote the downtown.”
The fireworks display will be held in conjunction with the city’s Farmer’s Market and Concert Series.
“It showcases the downtown, along with our Concert Series and Farmer’s Market so we get people down here,” Hinkley said.
The itinerary for June 28 is as follows:
• Farmers Market, 3 to 8 p.m.
• World War II Memorabilia Display, 6 to 8 p.m.
• Booths (VFW, veterans, Boy Scouts, ROTC), 6 to 8 p.m.
• Beer Tent sponsored by Shorts Brewery, 6 to 10 p.m.
• Inflatables for kids, 6 to 9 p.m.
• VFW Color Guard, 6:20 p.m.
• Novi Concert Band, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
• Steve King and the Dittilies, 8 to 10:15 p.m.
• Fireworks display, 10 p.m.
Staff writers Angela Niemi and Michael Shelton contributed to this report.