BOOM! The Bay City Fireworks Festival is coming, June 30 - July 2, 2016! And since you know you'll be there for all the 4th of July festivities - we're talking one of the largest fireworks displays not only in Michigan, but in the whole Midwest - here's your inside pass to having a blast!
Celebrate with 250,000 festival-goers at two parks bursting with a Skerbeck carnival, live stage performances, entertainment tents, a Car & Bike show, Paint and Foam Parties and then some. But what not to miss, where to eat, where to park? Fire up with these Go Great insider tips, and get ready to rock the Bay City Fireworks Festival this year!
Let's Talk BOOM
This three-day festival is all kinds of tastes, tunes and treats ... all truly leading to the showstopper: The Fireworks.
- Expect launches from three locations in 2016: Ball diamonds in Veteran's Memorial Park, barges in the Saginaw River and from a location in Uptown Bay City.
- Firework FYI: Celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2012, the BCFF fired off 50,000 shots in 50 minutes! (See the video here.) At the grand finale this year, July 2, 2016, look for approximately 35,000 to 40,000 shots, or an experience nearly equivalent to the commemorative blowout!
- Where to watch? Your crew could see the fireworks from just about anywhere in Bay City (outdoor patios are plentiful at many restaurants in the area), but Veteran's Memorial Park and Wenonah Park are the places to be during the BCFF-two parks, twice the fun!
Rockin' Westside: Veteran's Memorial Park
West of the Saginaw River, the scene at Veteran's Memorial Park during the BCFF is raging festival fun with live music, the Skerbeck carnival, Teen Zone events, the Car & Bike Show and more! John F. Kennedy Drive is closed to traffic for the festival, and "the main drag" is lively, colorful and packed with food vendors, activities and people celebrating.
- Admission is $1 per person. Not a typo, seriously only a buck!
- Coolers are welcome; pets, personal fireworks and alcohol are not. (Adult beverages are available at entertainment tents ... phew.)
Inside Tips from a Westside Fan
- Paint the Town: Should you check out the 7 - 11 p.m. Thursday-night "Glo Party", Friday-night "Paint Party" and Saturday-night "Foam Party"? Yes, yes, and yes! Located next to Liberty Harbor Marina, these events are for "kids of all ages". (Psst. The Glo Party is a free event!)
- Have a Ball: Watch the fireworks near the ball diamonds by the Veteran's Memorial Bridge. It's less crowded than the main drag, live bands play and the ballpark lights remain on after the show-creating a cool place to hang out until traffic clears, too.
- Firework FYI: Behind the scenes, the BCFF is a nonprofit organization conducted 100 percent by volunteers!
Chillin' Eastside: Wenonah Park
Expect to find blankets spread about the grassy park and an easy vibe Eastside at Wenonah Park. Dance to live music-acts from ToppermostT (Beatles tribute) to Swing Shift begin at varying times each night-and gobble up cotton candy or hot dogs from vendors.
- Admission is $5 per person.
- Coolers are welcome; pets, personal fireworks and alcohol are not. Adult beverages are available in the entertainment tent.
Inside Tips from an Eastside Goer:
- VIP. This option, sponsored by AT&T, is THE option. Enjoy a VIP Viewing Area (available with multiple packages and choices including a Thursday and Friday night $20 per person rate) and a picnic-style dinner.
- Killer Parking: Remember, 250,000 people! Parking can be tricky. Check the Dow Bay Area Family Y (paid parking, includes blocked off area to watch show from) and consider restaurants in Downtown Bay City, too (think fantastic meal and possibly parking as well). Word to the wise: Pay attention to parking signs; look for meters.
- Worth the Traffic: A 1,000 times, yes, the fireworks are worth the traffic-but do be prepared for delays afterwards. Or, skip the hassle, walk to any and many hotels in the area and kick back in a hot tub instead. *Fist bump.
Know Before You Go
- The Million Dollar BCFF Question: Where to park? See above. (Shhh! Locals also park along the side streets of neighborhoods, and walk in approximately ¼ mile to the festival. Free is free, but you didn't hear it from me.)
- Preferred Seating: You might find that your favored seats are aboard the Appledore IV tall ship during the July 2 Bay City Fireworks VIP Dinner Sail (featuring a relaxing dinner aboard the ship, followed by VIP seating for the fireworks display), or on the Princess Wenonah during the Bay City Fundraiser Fireworks Cruises July 1 and 2 (featuring live entertainment and an Atrium-catered meal while aboard, followed by VIP Viewing Area seating at Wenonah Park for the fireworks show).
Wherever you end up sitting, swaying and enjoying the show(s), have a blast at the Bay City Fireworks Festival!