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Detroit Ford Fireworks light up Metro Detroit's skyline

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

For a second consecutive year, the Detroit Ford Fireworks show blasted off far from its home location and in a different format than most fans are used to.

The 26-minute event, considered the largest fireworks display in Michigan, aired in a broadcast-only format Monday on WDIV-TV (Channel 4).

It featured more than 10,000 pyrotechnic effects that were choreographed to music and shot into the sky from Lake St. Clair Metropark in Macomb County.

The music included contemporary hits by singers such as Dua Lipa as well as Detroit standards — from Motown legend Stevie Wonder's "(As) I'll Be Loving You Always" to rock stalwart Bob Seger's "Turn the Page" — which was the theme for the fireworks after the lifting of most COVID-19 restrictions last week.

Fireworks are seen over Lake Saint Clair for the Ford Fireworks show held at Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township on Monday, June 28, 2021.

Barges were placed about 1,500 feet from the shoreline, according to the Parade Company, which organized the event with Huron-Clinton Metroparks.

Bursts of orange, crimson, blue and pink illuminated the skyline, albeit about 10 minutes behind schedule.

The display was delayed as a round of showers and thunderstorms pushed east across the region amid humid conditions, cloudy skies and temperatures hovered near 80 degrees.

The Parade Company selected the musical arrangement and worked with Zambelli Fireworks and international choreographer Patrick Brault to stage the effects.

Bursts of orange, crimson, blue and pink illuminated the skyline.

The show, which is in its 63rd year, did not return to its traditional location of downtown Detroit because of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers said.

Plans were in place before most of Michigan's restrictions on gathering capacities and the mask mandate were lifted last week.

The pyrotechnics are expected to return to the city in-person in 2022.

The 26-minute event, considered the largest fireworks display in Michigan.

For Monday's event, the Ford Fund honored and thanked teachers, professors and school counselors who worked hard throughout the pandemic.

“Ford is honored to be a longtime supporter of this annual event that celebrates and unites people and communities across Southeast Michigan,” said Mary Culler, president of the Ford Motor Company Fund, in a statement last week.

The event comes as some communities across the region are moving ahead with plans for public fireworks displays in upcoming weeks. New Baltimore held its fireworks show last week, and others plan to follow suit. Rochester Hills plans a fireworks show in August. 

Bob Seger's "Turn the Page" was the theme for the fireworks after the lifting of most COVID-19 restrictions last week.

But other cities are keeping the skies dark because they said they are being cautious or couldn't predict months ago as COVID-19 cases surged whether it would be safe to host mid-summer fireworks shows. Those communities include Clawson, Roseville and Wixom.

mhicks@detroitnews.com