GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (July 5, 2014) – It’s that time of year for the red, white and boom, but for the first time in over 30 years, fireworks will be displayed in downtown Grand Rapids on July 5.
It’s a move made in part by the City of Grand Rapids to merge its annual Celebration on the Grand in September with the Amway Family Fireworks into a weekend-long event in July. The Celebration on the Grand activities will be held the first Friday of July, then fireworks will cap off the weekend just after dusk on the first Saturday of July.
“Big weekend. We always like to make the Fourth big, and Grand Rapids does it best,” said Susann Moody, a Grand Rapids resident.
According to Grand Rapids City Manager Greg Sundstrom, the reason for merging the two events is to make Grand Rapids’ special events sustainable. He said the City added the Fourth of July Fireworks to the Sponsored Patriotic Events, meaning the City will waive fees and charges associated with City services for the event. The fireworks will be free for all to attend.
“Parents still have to work right? So it’s an opportunity, it’s going to be the first Saturday of July from now on. It’s a chance for families to go out and people don’t have to work the next day,” said David Madiol, with Amway Community Relations.
Jeff Majoor and his family business has been a food vendor at the Grand Rapids’ fireworks for almost twenty years. He told Fox 17 News that by 8 o’clock there’s a long line on both sides of their food trailer, and expects a bigger crowd this year.
“I expect the same crowd, if not bigger, because we have no competition, no one else is doing (fireworks) on the fifth around here. So we should have a good crowd here tonight just as well or better than previous years,” added Majoor.
Yet some local residents disapprove of combining the two events, stating that it will take away from celebrating the Fourth.
“I think it’s stupid, because the fourth of July is for the people of Grand Rapids to come down here and enjoy their time, but when they have it on the fifth the fourth of July doesn’t mean anything,” said Merissa Henry, a Grand Rapids resident.
While other residents told Fox 17 News that the Celebration on the Grand in September was too hectic during the start of the school year.
“It kind of kept me away: we have young children and they have to go to school and they sleep in, whereas now in summer time you can feel relaxed and comfortable. We have days off work and we can enjoy it,” explained Moody.
Event organizers said they expect up to 125,000 people downtown Saturday night.