By J. PATRICK PEPPER
DEARBORN — It was a little less than a month ago that howling thunderstorms caused the cancellation of the Sunday night Homecoming fireworks.
But for the rescheduled event Thursday, the weather proved much more accommodating as thousands of people descended into the valley that is Ford Field to get another taste of Homecoming just a little bit after the fact.
The night’s festivities kicked off with a concert by local act Fifty Amp Fuse at 7 p.m. It was the popular cover band’s second recent appearance at Ford Field after priming the crowd for the fireworks display that ended up being canceled.
The group played pop hits from the last four decades during their two-hour before giving way to a booming pyrotechnic show.
“These are some of the best fireworks I’ve ever seen,” said 37-year-old New Jersey resident Scott Gardener. Gardener, who was in town visiting his brother, said he was surprised when he learned the city was putting on a fireworks show on an otherwise nondescript Thursday night. However, he said, he’s glad it happened.
“I’m glad it rained here back when it did,” Gardener said. “What a great event.”
And to those more familiar with Homecoming, it was a scene that bore some marked similarities and some distinct differences compared to a Homecoming weekend fireworks show.
Present was the large center stage with massive speakers and multicolored lighting. But just as noticeably absent was the temporary tent village home to the many charities and nonprofits that sell food, beer, and other carnival fare.
The typically jam-packed hill was covered in blankets in typical Homecoming fashion. Yet down below, the lines for the restrooms – a trial for even the most patient bladders on a busy Homecoming night – were short and moved quickly.
Angela Pearce, 24, a lifelong Dearborn resident, said she enjoyed the display as much, if not more, than the usual Homecoming fireworks.
“Honestly, I just like the fact that it isn’t as crowded. It has a lot more of an intimate, communitylike feel to it,” Pearce said.
Like Pearce, Sheila and Ronnie Harb said they enjoyed the smaller crowd. But they also said it was nice to have a free event to attend with their 11 and 12 year-old boys.
“It’s like a farewell to summer with school starting now,” Sheila Harb said.
“We think it’s great.”