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June 22, 2015 - Detroit Ford Fireworks - Detroit, MI

The 57th Annual Ford Fireworks on the Detroit River finishes off a long weekend of fun at the Detroit Riverfest and the Freedom Festival in Windsor. Both events have rides, artwork, vendors and music, all of it culminating in one of the largest fireworks displays in the U.S.

One of the best places for viewing the fireworks is on the roof of the Miller parking structure on the river in Detroit. It is a relatively upscale charity event for The Parade Company on the roof, with tickets costing $250. for the general public. There are celebrities, vendors, food, drink, kids, a singing competition and the feeling that you are in the midst of the fireworks. It is THE place to be during the fireworks.

Walking into the rooftop party you encounter many, many vendors of games, cotton candy, hair and face painting, photo booths, and fun for the kids. Maybe if you were lucky, you were able to surreptitiously partake of this fun like some of us big kids did. But that is our secret, don’t tell anyone. This area is known as the “Kids Zone,” and it is a very popular spot. It was really nice to see Miller’s Big Red Pies being handed out (because they are a local farm in Washington, MI) along with Jimmy Johns subs. The Parade Company works to support local industry, agriculture, business and talent of all sorts.

When you go up another half-floor there are tables set up and, on the very top of the garage are the music, Channel 4 live shots, and food being served. This is where all the real action is at! The yummy food was catered by Andiamo’s and the band was Your Generation, Featuring Fifty Amp Fuse, playing on the Summer Sizzle Stage that was sponsored by First Merit Bank.

Channel 4’s Carmen Harlan and Devon Scillian were the broadcast MC’s of the evening; it wouldn’t be the same without them. There was a Super Singer contest judged by Dwele, an R&B Artist who is headed to New Zealand on tour and is also a song writer and producer. Jena Irene, an American Idol Finalist, and Steve Garagiola of local sports news fame filled in for Ben Bailey who had to stay back at the station to keep an eye on the weather for us.

Chuck Gaidica was the MC for the Super Singer contest, with the prize for the winner being the opportunity to sing on Aug. 9 at Freedom Hill with the Beach Boys and the Temptations. They also get an audition with the TV show “The Voice” and a $2,500 cash prize. Needless to say, they sang their hearts out and really represented. The last round of the competition was judged by the viewing audience rather than the judging panel. One lucky viewer who called in to vote for their favorite singer won a $500 gift card to the Somerset Mall. I was surprised, but pleased, to see Chuck Gaidica in attendance. When I think of the rooftop party he always comes to mind and I was sad to think that he had moved on after giving us the weather reports on Local 4 News for 27 years, but there he was! This was a nice surprise, it wouldn’t be the same without him either.

There were five singers, two of which went to round two where the home audience voted.
First up was Dan Fauls of Garden City, who received a vote total of 28. Then there was Marysville’s Taya Lear McCormick, who sang us a country tune and received a score of 26. The third person up was Peter Beard, who sang a Justin Timberlake tune and lives in Detroit, with a score of 24. At that point Chuck Gaidica called a bubble alert, there were so many bubbles being made by bubble guns they had handed out to kids. Seriously, the air was filled with the soapy bubbles. It looked cool, but was sort of wet. Next up to sing was Angela Davis from Southfield, who got a whooping 29 points with a R&B song. She was followed by Zania Alake, with an upbeat R&B tune, also receiving a score of 29. Angela and Zania went on to round two for the home audience to vote for the Super Singer Championship.

There were 400 auditions for this contest with five being chosen to sing at the event.
Gary Larson, Chairman of the Thanksgiving Parade Company, took the stage with Carmen and Devon to announce that Angela Davis was the Super Singer Winner for 2015. Congratulations Angela! Congratulations are also in order for all the contestants, all of whom were awesome.

Actor Terry Crews was spotted in the crowd (see photos) filming for his upcoming Traffic Channel Special; just hanging out watching the fireworks. There were WWII bomber planes flying very low over the rooftop, sent by the Yankee Air Museum. The crowd was wondering if we were going to be bombed, but I figured it wouldn’t by by WWII vintage bombers if that were the case.

The fireworks began about one hour earlier this year due to the weather, yet it was still very windy and I do not know how they were able to pull it off. But all of the conditions and systems that needed to be in place were met and it was a go! Tony Michaels, Parade Company President and Jim Vella, Ford Motor Fund, had made the decision at about 1:00 PM to move the fireworks up to 9:15 PM, which was just at dusk. Actually it was very nice to see the fireworks against a beautiful blue sky. Last year’s Super Singer winner was Kenny Nelson who sang both Canada’s and the United States’ National Anthems before the fireworks. The Canadian flag was flown over the river by a helicopter, but the U.S. flag had to be saluted from atop a building, for reasons unknown to this reporter. The Detroit Ford Fireworks is one of the biggest and best displays in the United States. This years show was longer than in years past and hosted some new colors. Zambelli Fireworks used 10,000 shells with three computer firing systems for this 57th annual display. Jim Vella President Ford Motor Company said, “Everybody is a Detroiter tonight.”

Detroit Metro Mashup wishes to thank Tony Michaels, President of the Parade Company, for holding this yearly event. Every city needs more people like Mr. Michaels. Not only does he give back to the city, but he gives from his heart.

If you love Detroit, this is one event you must attend at least once in your lifetime.

Don’t miss the Hob Nob Gobble and the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade, coming up later this year and also hosted by the Parade Company.

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