TAYLOR — Despite four days of heavy activity and summer heat involving tens of thousands of people at Heritage Park, police reported no arrests and just two minor domestic issues during the 2019 Taylor Summer Festival June 27 to 30.
This marks a strong trend toward a more family friendly event launched under Mayor Rick Sollars’ administration in 2014. Settling in with 360 event promotions as the festival promoter, the city’s largest summer event has gone from an at-times headache to a fabulous gathering featuring entertainment, food, activities and, of course, the annual fireworks display.
“Our goal as I took office in late 2013 was to put on a large summer festival that our residents can take pride in,” Sollars said. “Bigger isn’t always better. We welcome people from surrounding communities, but our summer festival is about our own residents. It’s about quality, and it’s about safety.”
While police did not have crowd estimates, Police Chief John Blair confirmed that this year’s crowd was bigger than last year’s – mainly because of the extreme heat that plagued the 2018 festival, especially on fireworks’ Saturday. Last Saturday still may have been hot, but it did not keep the crowds away. Taylor police were supported during the festival other police agencies in the surrounding area.
Vendors alley, set up near Pavilion A, was jumping on Saturday evening, including some fun, games and interaction courtesy of BJ’s Wholesale Club, which took over the main sponsorship of the festival this year. The Masco Foundation had sponsored the festival for years, but ended its relationship in 2018 after the corporate headquarters relocated to Livonia from Taylor. BJ’s is building a 100,000-square-foot retail facility in Trader’s Pointe, north of Menards. It plans to open in late fall.
“Cities cannot host these types of events without great corporate sponsors, and we have the best,” Sollars said. “We were extremely happy with all of our sponsors, and truly can’t wait for BJ’s to open this fall.”
Crowds packed the park, but didn’t end there. Crowds were up and down Northline Road and at Wayne County Community College District Downriver campus. As has been tradition, many other Taylor residents watched the fireworks from their backyards, front yards and streets.
As has been custom, Elliott’s Amusements held a large carnival inside the park all four days. The only hiccup came on Saturday night, when the midway was closed and cleared for a short time due to overcrowding. It was quickly reopened without a problem.
On Friday, an excellent crowd in the Sheridan Center Open Air Pavilion watched performances from Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, Tony Lewis of The Outfield and local warmup band Sarah Sherrard. VIP tickets cost $35, and included a stage front seat, dinner via Whiskeys on the Water and a drink.
Once the sun went down, the Community Choice Credit Union Glow Run 5K took place, starting near the wedding chapel, running around Coan Lake and back through the park and neighboring WCCCD campus before finishing near Pavilion A and Greg Bzura Parkway. Over 100 people participated in the run and walk, with Wyandotte’s Slywia Matyszewska finishing first overall in 23:01. The top Taylor finishers were runnerup David Naczas (23:30) and Tyler Tencza (26:08). Despite the heat, runners said they enjoyed the “glow” run, which was very different from a regular road race.
Saturday included Community Choice Credit Union’s 94.7 WCSX’s Gone Fishin’ event at Coan Lake, visits from animals at the Heritage Park Petting Farm, Michigan Renaissance Festival actors and bounce houses, leading up to concerts in the Sheridan Center and eventually the fireworks.
Saturday’s concert was headlined by Cinderella’s Tom Keifer, who performed for nearly 90 minutes. He was proceeded to the stage by Mad Rabbit and Eva Under Fire.
“The weekend was very successful,” Sollars said. “And next year, we’ll try to do even better.”
Source: The city of Taylor