Fireworks are a big deal. They always have been. (They do, after all, date back to 10th-century China.) And there's always been a love-hate relationship in terms of the festive explosives here in Michigan, as well. The J.L. Hudson Company began its sponsorship of the annual fireworks display during the International Freedom Festival in 1959, also. When we bid Hudson's a fond farewell in 1998, we didn't say goodbye to the fireworks, however. The display has changed hands over the years, but it's always been a part of Detroit history. In fact, Target is now the official sponsor of the fireworks extravaganza that takes place at the end of June every summer (which celebrates its 54th year this June 25). But for years, that's about as close as you could legally get – aside from the other splendid Independence Day festivities in the area – to witnessing explosive pyrotechnics in the sky.
As of January 1, 2012, the ban on certain types of fireworks that had previously been considered illegal was lifted. May 26 marked the day that fireworks officially went on sale throughout the state, with over 500 certificates granted to businesses to legally sell the explosive merchandise (for the record, sellers must be inspected by the state, undergo a background check and carry $10 million worth of liability insurance). That means you can feel free to shoot off all that cool shit that you used to have to drive to Ohio or Indiana to buy – we're not saying that's what we did, that's just what we heard people would do to get around the fact that Michigan was limited to snakes and sparklers. But don't move too fast – some cities and townships are developing local ordinances to combat the dangers of the colorful explosives – so it's probably best to check out your local laws, and read further into the changes within the state legislation before you go loading up on bottle rockets, exploding shells and Roman candles.
Bringing the conversation back to the professionals, there aren't many events in the Motor City that are as historically "Detroit" as the fireworks. It's a huge party. People come from miles around. It's as much a celebration of the city as it is a huge mass of people staring at colorful explosions in the sky, muttering "ooooh" and "ahhhhhh." And if you can't make the fireworks in Detroit proper, please check out the fantastic display that so many local cities put on every Independence Day (we've included a sidebar with a few for your reference). But just remember: it's all fun and games until someone blows their arm off. Show some responsibility and be safe. | RDW
54th Annual Target Fireworks • 6/25, 10:06 p.m. • Launched from barges on Detroit River, but the fireworks are viewable for miles • FREE
LOCAL FIREWORKS DISPLAYS:
Beverly Hills/Birmingham, 7/3 Lincoln Hills Golf Course
Brownstown, 6/30 Lake Erie Metropark
Canton, 6/16 Heritage Park
Clarkston, 7/4 Clintonwood Park
Clawson, 7/4 Clawson Park
Clinton Township, 7/11 Clinton Township Gazebo
Dearborn, 6/30-7/4 Greenfield Village
Grosse Ile, 6/2 Grosse Ile Municipal Airport
Grosse Pointe, 6/24 Parcells Middle School
Grosse Pointe Farms, 6/30 Lake Shore Dr.
Grosse Pointe Woods, 6/24 Parcells Middle School
Harrison Township, 7/4 Belle Maer Harbor
Hazel Park, 7/6 Dequindre & 10 Mile Rd.
Holly, 7/4 Lakeside Park
Huntington Woods, 7/4 Rackham Golf Course
Lake Orion, 6/30 Green's Park
Leonard, 6/29 West Romeo Rd.
Livonia, 6/24 Ford Field
Madison Heights, 7/1 Civic Center Park
Melvindale, 6/10 2651 Greenfield Rd
Milford, 6/16 Kensington Metropark
Mount Clemens, 6/29 at the Riverfront
Oxford, 7/6-7/7 Seymour Lake Township Park
Plymouth, 7/3 Township Park
Redford, 6/9 Bell Creek Park
Rochester Hills, 6/27 Borden Park
Roseville, 6/23 Veterans Memorial Park
Royal Oak, 6/28 2036 Rochester Rd.
Shelby Township, 7/1 Stony Creek Metropark
Southgate, 7/28 Southgate Municipal Complex
St. Clair Shores, 6/29 Memorial Park
Sylvan Lake, 7/3 Over Sylvan Lake
Taylor, 6/30 Heritage Park
Trenton, 7/4 Rotary Park
Walled Lake, 7/3 Center of the lake
White Lake, 6/30 South end of the lake
Westland, 7/4 Westland City Hall
Wixom, 6/28 Sibley Park