In efforts to keep Huntington Woods’ fireworks bursting over Rackham Golf Course this year, city residents and officials are teaming up to host a 5K fundraiser.
The inaugural event, Run/Walk/BOOM!!!, will be a one-mile walk and 5k run June 30 near the Huntington Woods Recreation Center. The effort may be what saves the fireworks from being a memory rather than a long-standing tradition, officials say.
“The tradition of fireworks as the closing event of our city’s annual Independence Day celebration began in 1972. But due to budget constraints, the city considered eliminating the fireworks last year until the Huntington Woods Men’s Club made a significant financial contribution,” Mayor Ron Gillham said in a statement.
To pay for the fireworks this year, the Huntington Woods Men’s Club will donate up to $10,000, depending on the club’s Fireworks Raffle Ticket sales, explained Alex Cooper of the Men's Club.
“The hard work of the Huntington Woods Men's Club combined with the Run/Walk BOOM!!! sponsors and participants should completely fund the Fourth of July fireworks,” Cooper said. “With this type of community commitment and teamwork, one of the signature Fourth of July events in Huntington Woods will be seen and heard for many, many years to come."
Run/Walk/BOOM!!! organizers hope the event will merge into local Fourth of July traditions as a fun event, celebration of summer and as a case for community fundraising.
While surrounding cities also address budget concerns to keep fireworks shows going, (such as Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announcing Friday that taxpayer dollars would no longer be able to support the fireworks over the Detroit river in the coming years), the Huntington Woods collaboration might be the practical solution to keep the local Fourth of July celebration going strong.
That’s at least what organizers hope. City Manager Alex Allie said he believes it’s a strong possibility, too.
"It’s an accurate statement,” he said. “In 2010, the City Commission said there would be no public funding of the fireworks in future budgets. In 2011, the Men’s Club went from partial support to full support to save them and dedicated their Fourth of July raffle to them in the future. To maintain the fireworks, we will still need support in addition to the Men’s Club, thus the annual run."
Ed Kozloff, Motor City Striders president and Run/Walk/BOOM!!! coordinator, said the idea of a run in Huntington Woods is perfect in theory – there’s already a community of runners, a beautiful area to run through (in fact, running around the city is how he found his home 40 years ago) and the event is designed for participants ranging from beginner to novice.
The concern, he said, is the turnout because the fundraiser could clash with residents' plans for the weekend.
“We hope this is what can sustain the fireworks, but it’s really hard to tell how much money is going to come in. The biggest fear is people won’t be in town for the holiday,” he said.
That said, support so far has been promising, Kozloff added. Virtually all expenses to fund the race have been covered and feedback about the family-friendly walk/run has been positive.
Participants in the fundraiser will receive a Run/Walk/BOOM!!! T-shirt as a “thank you” for their support, and top finishers will be honored with trophies, while all one-mile participants will receive a ribbon.
“We hope that anyone who takes part in the fireworks takes part in that day,” he said.
When: 8:30, 8:45 and 9 a.m. Saturday, June 30
Where: The walk and the run start and finish at the Huntington Woods Recreation Center on Scotia Road.
1 Mile Walk
12 and under
- $5 - no T-shirt
- $15 with T-shirt
- $10 - no T-shirt
- $20 with T-shirt
- $25 June 1-26
- $30 after June 26
How to register: Visit the Run/Walk/BOOM!!! website
More information: Call Mary Gustavson, recreation program coordinator, at 248-541-3030.