Best seats for the 2016 Ford Fireworks in Detroit

The 58th annual fireworks celebration begins 9:48 p.m. on June 27

Stephanie Steinberg
The Detroit News

The Detroit skyline will light up for the 58th annual Ford Fireworks display on Monday.

The 24-minute show begins at 9:48 p.m. The theme, “Go Forward Detroit,” is a “salute the progress of Detroit and bright future of our city,” says Tony Michaels, CEO and president of The Parade Company, which is producing the show.

With the expected large crowd, Michaels says fireworks watchers need not be concerned about safety. The company is working with safety experts from the Detroit Police Department and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“We take their lead in all safety matters, and we are all committed to bringing Detroit a safe and enjoyable Ford Fireworks,” he says.

Patrick Brault, who designed the pyrotechnic displays for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, has choreographed the local fireworks exhibition since 2009. He says viewers can expect to see new “ghost shells” and floral designs such as dahlias, peonies and chrysanthemums.

“Also, this year I am bringing back some lower-level effects like cakes, volcanoes, comets and sound effects,” says Brault, president of Sirius Pyrotechnics in Quebec.


New this year, Ford Motor Co. will offer free admission to Belle Isle for the first 1,000 vehicles. At $11 per parking pass, Ford is covering the $11,000 cost. Drivers will receive a DNR Recreation Passport that can be used at participating Michigan state parks for the rest of the year.

Drivers should note that some downtown streets and freeways will be closed Monday. Check the city website for updates.

The Detroit People Mover, which has been shut down for two weeks of maintenance, is expected to reopen at 6:30 a.m. Monday.

Transportation may be easier in Canada, as Transit Windsor will offer free bus rides starting at 6 p.m. to and from the event. The service, paid for by Zehrs Markets, will run until after midnight.

Where to watch

Here are several options:

■Hart Plaza is the go-to spot to watch the fireworks downtown. There’s no admission cost, but expect crowds. No tents, alcohol or pets are allowed.

■Another viewing option is the Ford Motor Co. Rooftop Party on top of the Miller parking garage next to the Renaissance Center. The event will include live entertainment from Fifty Amp Fuse and food from Andiamo. The $250 ticket can be purchased online at or by calling (313) 432-7831. (The ticket does not include parking.)

■The Detroit Princess won’t offer cruises during the fireworks, but the riverboat will remain docked for those who want the closest seats on the Detroit River. As the website puts it, “The fireworks will be exploding basically right above your head.” Boarding is from 4-7 p.m., and the event ends at midnight. Tickets are $75 for adults and children, which includes a buffet dinner and entertainment by the Motown group the “Prolifics.” Tickets can be purchased at or the box office at the boat.

■The nonprofit Avengers Mentoring Organization is hosting its third annual Charity Fireworks Fundraiser to raise money for its free summer camp that serves 300 Metro Detroit youth. Attendees will see the show from the 19th floor at One Woodward. The 4-10 p.m. event includes a barbecue meal and entertainment by Detroit singer Johnyce and comedians Mic Larry and Simply Shanell. Admission is $65 for two adult tickets, and $25 for two children, ages 12 and under.

■Those who want to see the fireworks from several vantage points can ride on the HandleBar. The 16-person pedal powered pub will offer rides throughout the fireworks. A two-hour tour can be booked at for $300, or you can hop on at 228 Gratiot for roughly $18 per person.

Listen and watch from home

News/Talk 760 WJR will air a radio simulcast throughout Ford Fireworks. Morning announcer Paul W. Smith will host live coverage starting at 8 p.m.

WDIV-TV 4 will offer a live broadcast, beginning at 7 p.m. The primetime special includes the annual Super Singer competition. “The Voice” finalist Laith Al-Saadi, of Ann Arbor, will join a panel of judges to pick the 2016 winner. The four semi-finalists — Cherri Black of Redford, Byron Cancelmo of West Bloomfield, Grace Lee of Rochester and Brianna Seaborn of Detroit — will perform during the broadcast.

(313) 222-2156