The Rapidian

Celebrate Independence Day downtown

The City of Grand Rapids' Independence Day celebration at Ah-Nab-Awen Park will cover two days this year.

For the first time this year, the city of Grand Rapids will celebrate Independence Day by combining the Amway Family Fireworks with Celebration on the Grand festivities to create one two-day event. 

Both events will be held at Ah-Nab-Awen Park, 303 Pearl Street NW. They are free and open to the public. 

Celebration on the Grand will feature performers from 3:00 to 11:00 p.m. on July 4. The bands set to play at the event are Kris Hitchcock and Small Town Son, Shimmie Pearl, Kathy LaMar and Her Crew, David Molinari and Creolization, Jimmie Stagger Band and The Outer Vibe. Celebration on the Grand will not include a fireworks display this year.  

The Amway Family Fireworks will be on Saturday, July 5. It will feature festivities including games, food trucks and vendors beginning at 5:30 p.m. and continuing through the start of the fireworks at 10:30 p.m. Daredevil Circus Company will perform from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

There will also be live music starting at 6:00 p.m. and continuing until the fireworks begin. The bands scheduled to perform are The Chupacobras, Vox Vidorra, and Three’s A Crowd. Each will play a 40-45 minute set. 

"We want to build on what's been done and believe this can enhance both events through the partnership," says Angela Paasche, Live Events Manager for Townsquare Media. The City has partnered with Celebration on the Grand, Amway, Townsquare Media and other corporate sponsors and community partners to make the Independence Day celebrations a reality. 

Grand Rapids City Manager Greg Sundstrom says that merging the two events will create a more sustainable platform for future events. The City is also adding the Fourth of July celebration to the Sponsored Patriotic Events category, which already includes Veteran's Day and Memorial Day. The City waives fees and charges associated with its services for events in this category.

According to the city's fiscal commission, combining the events will reduce the annual net cost to the City from $18,740 to $11,697. The City will also make an investment to eliminate $24,669 in outstanding debt incurred by Police overtime for past Celebration on the Grand and Fourth of July events. The City Commission expects to have a return-on-investment after three and a half years. 

Future Fourth of July celebrations will be held annually on the first Friday and Saturday in July. 

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