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Fourth of July weekend lights up downtown

July 3, 2014
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Fourth of July weekend lights up downtown
The Amway Family Fireworks event lights up the sky above the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids. Courtesy Amway

Downtown Grand Rapids will be doing plenty of celebrating over the extended holiday weekend.

Celebration on the Grand activities will take place tomorrow, the Fourth of July, and the Amway Family Fireworks event is on Saturday.

Both events are free.

The most notable change in the annual events will be the absence of a Celebration on the Grand fireworks display.

The Amway Family Fireworks event will feature family activities in the early afternoon and concerts and entertainment in the evening, followed by the Amway Family Fireworks at dusk.

“Amway is once again proud to sponsor Family Fireworks in celebration of our nation’s independence,” said David Madiol, West Michigan community relations manager, Amway. “Aligning closer to Celebration on the Grand is very fitting for Amway, as we were intimately involved in the original Celebration event.”

Continuing the celebration

The first Celebration on the Grand event was held in 1980 and celebrated the opening of the Amway Grand Plaza and the opening of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.

Celebration on the Grand has struggled in recent years to be financially sustainable, and the city said this winter that it will combine the festival with the Fourth of July fireworks event over two days to help continue Celebration on the Grand.

As part of this process, the city is adding the Fourth of July fireworks to its Sponsored Patriotic Events category, joining Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

For patriotic events, the city commits to a higher level of investment by waiving fees and charges associated with city services.

“Creating a sustainable platform for patriotic events is the first step of the city’s new approach,” explained Grand Rapids City Manager Greg Sundstrom. “This partnership exemplifies the collaborative investment model we are developing to help create a solid financial platform for all special events.

“The City’s partnership with Celebration on the Grand, Amway, TownSquare Media and other partners will ensure the Fourth of July fireworks and Celebration on the Grand events are sustainable.”

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