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Excitement filled the air as thousands of fireworks fans packed downtown Detroit for the annual display.

Families and couples gathered in Hart Plaza and other locations downtown for the  perfect spot amid the carnival attractions. When the fireworks launched, and the soundtrack for the evening began, it seemed like perfectly timed choreography along the riverfront.

Others clustered on lawn chairs across the street, swinging glow sticks as police trotted past on horseback. When the bursts and blasts began, viewers who weren't already in place scrambled to find a spot. They followed the blue, red, gold and orange bursts lighting up the Detroit River.

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The festive atmosphere drew Detroiter Maryanne Allen and three of her grandchildren. Clad in jackets against the cool air, they arrived more than an hour early to snag the best skygazing perch amid an ever growing crowd.

“It’s nice with all the different kind of people,” Allen said while tending to her 4-year twin grandchildren. “It’s the way it should be. The way our country is going, it’s good to see people mingling together.”

Her granddaughter Ashanti, however, was all about glimpsing silvery swirls bursting high above her head.

“They’re pretty and girly,” she said.

The ear-piercing pyrotechnics lured Renee Struhak from Taylor after a few years of missing the display. The longer show and kaleidoscopic finale was enough, she said. “I love them. It’s beautiful, big, colorful. I love being down here.”

Her friend Angela Robinson of Brownstown Township  came to snap photos of the fiery spectacle. “Bigger, better, brighter,” she said.

Mostly clear skies set the tone for the 10,000 pyrotechnics over the Detroit River on Monday night for the 60th annual show.

Ford Motor Co. again sponsored the event. Tony Michaels, president and CEO of the Parade Company, which is effort organizing the event,  said this year's show was expected to last 24 minutes "timed to the second."  Past shows have run 15-20 minutes. This year's started "loud and roaring" at 9:55 p.m.

Thousands stared up at the sky from their posts -- some holding up cell phones as shimmering orbs of gold, emerald and violet illuminated the darkness and obscured the full moon.

Jason Alquiza of Roseville hoisted 4-year-old son Konnor on his shoulders for a better view of the finale as wife LeeOna and daughter Jaena, 10, watched in awe nearby. 

"I've been coming since I was 5. This is awesome," he said, adding the display gave his family a chance to see more of Detroit's revitalization. "It's unbelievable the stuff that's happening."


Every year thousands from the city and Metro Detroit gather beginning in the early afternoon to enjoy the evening show. The best location to view was in Hart Plaza, where viewers had to go through security. Police also had security at the Spirit of Detroit Plaza this year, after a woman was shot there last year.

There was a heavy police presence, with officers and K-9 units from agencies including the Detroit Police Department, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police and Border Patrol.

Police also enforced a curfew for unaccompanied children 17 and under. Four youths were detained Monday night for breaking it, city officials said.

Detroit News Staff Writer George Hunter contributed.

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