Light up the sky

Riverview Summerfest just keeps getting better

If you are walking around one night this summer and you look up and see fireworks, chances are good that Riverview’s Summerfest is underway.

Summerfest is still around 10 weeks away, the dates are June 14, 15, 16, but the city is working hard to get preparations in order for the summertime get-together that began as a little one-day party, but now has blossomed into a full-fledged festival – complete with the aforementioned fireworks.

Lots of communities Downriver shoot off fireworks at various times during the summer months, but Riverview’s are special, and the reason is the place they shoot them from.

The city shoots from the top of the Riverview Land Preserve. The higher launch point helps, of course, but because the surrounding area is landfill and golf course, the city can use bigger shells. Bigger shells, bigger, better bang. The show is so good that many people wind up hosting watch parties in backyards and neighborhood parks. That is fine, of course, but Riverview Recreation Director Todd Dickman says nothing beats watching from the festival with the fireworks exploding almost right overhead.

Of course a three-day festival is more than fireworks and in Riverview’s case, much, much more.

Here is a brief rundown on at to expect each day of this year’s Summerfest:

Friday

The midway, presented by Wade shows, is the heart of the three-day event and it opens at 4 p.m Friday and runs until 11:30 p.m. Wade provides a full spectrum of rides from kiddie and family rides right up to thrill rides for those who are more adventurous.

Craft and community vendors will be set up from 4-9 p.m.; Riverside Kayak Connection will be on hand; Children’s Pony Ranch will provide rides and a petting zoo from 5-9 p.m.; a classic car show will run from 5-9 p.m. and the beer tent is open from 5-11 p.m.

At 7 p.m. the entertainment starts when Mod Opera takes the stage, followed by Riverview-bred Ray Street Band.

At 10. p.m., the fireworks light up the sky.

Saturday

Saturday is a full day of action.

The Midway, the community and craft vendors, Riverside Kayaks and a petting zoo and pony rides provided by Carousel Acres all get started at noon. The high school and middle school bands also play at noon and the beer tent opens at 1 p.m.

Saturday is also the day for the Riverview Police Department’s Crime Prevention Tent, featuring Reno the police dog and the Riverview Fire Department Open House.

At 4 p.m. enjoy the cardboard boat races and at 5 the tug-o-war.

Would your little one like to meet Spiderman, Deadpool, Robin and other superheroes? The Saturday of Summerfest at 5 p.m. is the time. There will be a meet and greet and then a superhero stunt show.

Following that, watch the Medieval Fire Show from 6-7 p.m.

At 7 p.m., it is time from the most unique 5K run Downriver – The Summit Run. Everyone knows that flat ground is a hallmark of Downriver terrain, but not in Riverview. Thanks to the hill at the landfill, runners can challenge themselves with a vertical event.

Race participants will enjoy a challenging 5k course taking you to the highest elevation and most spectacular view in Downriver – top of the hill at Riverview Highlands Golf Course and back. Participants will receive post-race refreshments (beer ticket to those of legal age), food, commemorative t-shirt and finisher medals.

After the race, enjoy your refreshment and the music of Phoenix Theory, which will play until closing at 11  p.m.

Sunday

On Sunday morning there is a fishing derby at 10:30 a.m. and the midway and food areas are open from 1-6 p.m.

That’s the current schedule, but the city recommends checking out the Summerfest on the city’s web page because new attractions will be added between now and June.

Riverview’s Summerfest started as a one-day, Friday afternoon and evening event with a car show and a few bands. It eventually expanded to two days, but was halted altogether for several years during the economic downturn during the 2000s.

As things turned around, the event made a triumphant comeback as the weekend-long celebration it is today.

“The Recreation Commission felt the city enjoyed the festival and the city council was supportive so here we are,” said Dickman. “As a bonus, this is a really nice way to show off our city.”

But even now the city is not exactly flush with cash, so part of the deal was the Recreation department had to get sponsors to help defray the costs. 

The city picks up the cost of the fireworks and the staff to man the event, while sponsor money pays for bands, staging, advertising and other entertainment.

Dickman said the city owes a big thank you to Mike Ceaser of Ceaser Capital Management and his wife Miko, who are the Summerfest’s title sponsor.

Other important sponsors are, Pentiuk, Couvreur & Kobiljak, P.C.; W. F. Whelan Co.; Carlise Wortman Associates;  Colonial Village Cooperative; Concessi’s Inc.; Power Home Remodeling; Siegel Chiropractic; Solo World Partners; and Bellaire Senior Living; and Riverview Register Community News Publication.

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