DEARBORN – Dearborn will celebrate its 37th annual Homecoming festival Aug. 5 to 7 with two dozen carnival rides; festival food; entertainment, including headliner Laith Al-Saadi; as well as scores of healthy, family fun activities against the backdrop of fireworks.
More than 20 non-profit organizations fundraise and add to the activities as well.
Homecoming is hosted by the city in conjunction with the nonprofit Dearborn Community Fund and sponsor Beaumont Health. The festival attracts 150,000 people and is made possible largely because of businesses, organizations and individuals who fund a significant amount of the cost.
Festival activities are at Ford Field Park, 22051 Cherry Hill, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day, although some activities may start earlier.
‘The Voice’ star Laith Al-Saadi headlines on Saturday
Laith Al-Saadi, a top-four finalist on NBC’s “The Voice,” returns to his roots for an 8:30 p.m. headline performance on the Main Stage Aug. 6. Al-Saadi, an eclectic singer and guitar virtuoso, plays a mix of blues, soul and classic rock. The Ann Arbor native will be joined by the world-renowned Motor City Horns.
Fireworks begin at 10 p.m. Aug 6 and 7.
Car cruise, rhythm and blues on Friday
At 6 p.m. Aug. 5 on the Main Stage, Sunglasses After Dark will delight the Homecoming audience with its alternative, Brit-pop, garage style of rock.
It’s followed by The Phoenix Theory, a classic rock and dance cover band, at 8:30 p.m., providing just the right vibes for the Cruisin’ Dearborn Car Cruise.
Classic cars will be hitting the road beginning 7 p.m. outside 19th District Court on Michigan Avenue. Organized by the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce, the cruise draws more than 100 vintage vehicles to Ford Field Park.
Stage Acts Saturday and Sunday
Main Stage entertainment Aug. 6 kicks off with Kaleido at 6 p.m. The band’s signature sound – a blend of Guns N’ Roses meets No Doubt – earned them seven Detroit Music Award nominations in 2014 and Best Band in Detroit by Real Detroit magazine in both 2013 and 2014.
Main Stage entertainment Aug 7. begins at 6 p.m. with cover band Ask Mary, playing a blend of old-time bluegrass classics, alt-country and smokin’ instrumentals.
At 8 p.m. Aug. 7, Mega 80s will bring favorite 80s songs to life by rocking great tunes along with a video spectacle. The band repeatedly has been named a “Best Of” Best Live Production/Cover Band by Real Detroit Weekly, and was Hour Detroit’s best local band in 2009.
Food Court Stage entertainment includes Armed-N-Dangerous, Musically Yours, the Joel Tracy Show, Howlin’ Mercy, Bombsquad, Pete “Big Dog” Fetters Band, and Manny 500.
Italian and Polish music also will be offered, including the Kielbasa Kings.
There are more than enough opportunities to take a break from the action and get some food and cold beverages at the Food Court, staffed by nonprofit groups, and from food trucks all three days.
Discounted carnival wristbands available through Aug. 4
The carnival, open all three days from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., boasts two dozen rides, including the new Super Cyclone Coaster. A full-day wristband is $22. However, they can be purchased for $15 at cityofdearborn.org/homecoming through 11:55 p.m. Aug. 4.
Free shuttles and parking
A free shuttle service will be provided from Dearborn High School, 19501 W. Outer Drive, in addition to free parking. Handicap accessible shuttles will make continuous trips from the school to the festival from 6 to 11 p.m. Aug. 5, and noon to 11:30 p.m. Aug. 6 and 7.
Ford Field parking costs $10 beginning at 11 a.m. all three days. The initial fee comes with a $7 parking coupon for a second entry over the weekend.
Free parking is available throughout the nearby west Dearborn downtown business district.
Healthy Dearborn initiative brings new activities
A wide range of healthy activities, many of them new, offer the chance to work off that festival food and even engage in some friendly competition. A short list includes:
• Family Bike Ride — Nothing combines fitness and fun like the first Family Bike Ride. The free, police-supported ride will span seven miles, wending through northwest Dearborn neighborhoods.
It starts 10 a.m. Aug. 6, at Ford Field Park, near the south side of the Homecoming festival grounds. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. the day of the ride. Helmets are required. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
• 5K Run or One Mile Fun Run — The new one-mile Family Fun Run and 5K is set for Aug. 7. Registration for the one-mile run is $15 before July 31 or $20 through race day, while the 5K is $32 before July 31 and $35 through race day.
All registered runners receive a T-shirt. The 5k runners get a commemorative glass and recognition for top finishers in various categories. The Fun Run starts at 7:45 a.m. and the 5K starts at 8 a.m. Find registration information at www.cityofdearborn.org/homecoming.
• Cornhole Tournament — Also for the first time, Homecoming will feature a Midwest tailgate favorite: cornhole. The competition consists of players taking turns throwing bags of corn (or beans) at a raised platform with a hole. It begins at noon Aug. 6, at Ford Field Park. Cost is $25 a person. The registration deadline is July 30. Cash prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place.
Other activities taking place in the Beaumont/Healthy Dearborn Tent are:
• Learn Tai Chi with Erin Reas, certified Tai Chi teacher, from 2 to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 5.
• Scavenger Hunt with free drawing for prizes from noon to 4 p.m. all three days.
• Yoga for Kids with Jamie Garrison, founder of Yoga Shala and Wellness, from 2 to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 6. And, yoga for all ages from 10 to 11 a.m. Aug. 6. Those participating should provide a mat or towel.
• Healthy Eating with registered dietitians Lois and Cheryl, from noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 6 and 7.
• Storytelling with Dearborn Public Library, 1 to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 5, and 11:30 a.m. to noon Aug. 6 and 7.
Crowd favorites, like the free “Paddling on the Pond,” will be there this year. And, there will be many free games, crafts and inflatable rides for children.
Farmers and Artisan Market on Friday
From 9 a.m to 2 p.m. Aug. 5, Dearborn’s Farmers and Artisan Market moves temporarily to the festival grounds, near Cherry Hill.
Go to www.cityofdearborn.org/homecoming for more information about the festival and registration for events, as well as a complete schedule for entertainment and activities.