CLAWSON, Mich. (WXYZ) — It’s a tradition that predates the Mackinac Bridge, the creation of the UAW and Motown. Since 1933, thousands of people have flooded the streets of Clawson to celebrate the Fourth of July — all except one year, due to war.
Ask the President of the planning group behind the annual parade, festival and fireworks and he’ll explain what’s changed in the 20 years he’s been involved in planning: “Nothing, it’s really just been big all along,” said Michael Paquette.
It’s true, you haven’t seen a Fourth of July party until you’ve walked 14 Mile in Clawson early in the morning. It’s a small town with an oversized celebration, folks who grew up there return. Neighbors from nearby towns pop up to enjoy the festivities and given some of their larger neighbors due fireworks celebrations on the weekends ahead of the actual July 4th date, they’re one of the area’s final big shows that evening.
“The biggest thing is a lot of people come together,” said Paquette. “We have a safe environment, here. It’s a real big family event.”
It’s not just carnival rides and the parade that bring in crowds. The annual craft show has been drawing Billy Denies from Toledo for 20 years.
“I like it,” said Denies who starts to chuckle before noting his regular customers, “the people come, and they spend money consistent — I’ve got to like that part!”
The celebration starts in late June with a flurry of events including an ice cream social, a run, several events with music and more — but beginning on July 4th the real party begins.
LIST OF EVENTS
8:30a — Opening Ceremony at Blair Memorial Library
A flag raising ceremony is the official kickoff to this year’s event.
9:00a — Parade
The parade begins at Crooks and 14 Mile and extends down 14 Mile making a turn to end at Clawson Park. This year’s parade features marching bands, U.S. Congressional members, veterans, and more.
9:00a — $1,000 Firecracker Mile
The Firecracker mile is one of three races that take place during the Clawson Fourth of July celebration — the Firecracker Mile precedes the parade down 14 Mile Road. At least $1000 in prizes are awarded to Firecracker mile racers every year.
10:00a to 6:00p — Arts and Crafts Fair
Dozens of booths with both local and out-of-town vendors.
10:00a to 9:00p — Midway Games and Rides
Carnival rides, food and more are open for kids and adults at Clawson Park — an annual tradition for locals, and returning locals.
10:00a to 9:00p — “Shell Camino” Monster Truck Rides!
One of the newer tradition at the Clawson festivities, Shell Camino is a monster truck racing team that offers up thrill rides for locals.
11:00a to 9:30p — Free Entertainment
Musical guests will appear on-stage at Clawson Park throughout the day.
1:00p — Clawson versus Tory Fire Dept. Water Battle
A tradition that has both fire departments battle, however, it serves a second purpose: it wets down the place where the fireworks are set off for the evening fireworks display. A trophy and bragging rights go to the winning fire department.
3:00p — Hot Dog Eating Contest
Happens at Clawson Park at the midway section where carnival games are taking place.
Dusk (around 10:00p) — Fireworks