By Charles Sercombe
Hamtramck’s Fourth of July will have extra “oohs” and “aahs” this year.
Thanks to the Hamtramck Fire Department, the city will celebrate a real fireworks show on July 5, the first in at least 30 years.
The department was one of two cities to win a contest, sponsored by Destination America, a cable TV network, and USA Weekend Magazine, called “Red, White and You.”
(Prescott, Arizona was the other city that won. That city lost 19 wildland firefighters last summer when they died battling a forest fire.)
All the department had to do was submit an essay saying why the city deserved the treat. Motor Engineer John Dropchuk authored the winning essay. In exchange, the city will get an event worth $50,000.
Dropchuk wrote about what makes Hamtramck so special, namely this city being home to a number of ethnic immigrants who came here to pursue the “American Dream.”
“Hamtramck, Michigan is a perfect example of the melting pot that is the United States,” Dropchuk wrote. “We are a 2.1 square mile city surrounded by Detroit. Cultural diversity and a strong blue collar work ethic make up the backbone of our town. There is no better representation of the pursuit of the ‘American Dream’ than Hamtramck.”
Fire Chief Paul Wilk said the July 5 event will be geared toward families. It will be held in Keyworth Stadium, and starts at 5 p.m. Kids will have a variety of activities to take part in, including inflatable bouncing toys.
There will also be giveaways and live entertainment. At about 9:30 p.m., a 20-30 minute fireworks display will cap the night.
“It’s going to be a party,” Wilk said.
“We’re very grateful to Destination America and USA Weekend for giving us the opportunity to give back to Hamtramck” added Wilk “This is a great way to celebrate the 4th of July with our residents — many of whom are new Americans.”
Wilk also said he’d like to continue holding a July 4th fireworks event in the years to come. He said he’s looking into a fundraiser drive for next year, “if we can get it together.”