32nd annual Homecoming: Spectacular fireworks, entertainment, food, carnival, craft show, car cruise, fundraising

Event starts with traditional activities for senior citizens Friday; children and family events all weekend long

DEARBORN — The city’s Homecoming festival will celebrate its 32nd year Friday through Sunday at Ford Field Park, 22051 Cherry Hill.

The event will feature fireworks Saturday and Sunday, courtesy of major fireworks sponsor Westborn Chrysler Jeep, with additional support from sponsor Kenwal Steel Corp.

The festival is known for nationally known entertainment Saturday and Sunday, along with three days of fun for the whole family.

This year, the city is joining with the nonprofit Dearborn Community Fund in organizing the festival, which is a major fundraiser for 30 service clubs and youth, cultural and charity groups. The presenting sponsor is Oakwood Healthcare

Frontiers! The Journey Tribute — 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Main Stage

Frontiers! The Journey Tribute is headlining this year’s Homecoming on Saturday night on the Main Stage.

Touring across the United States and performing at venues such as The House of Blues, the group is known as “the national full-time touring tribute to Journey.”

Featuring vocalist Jeremey Hunsicker, the group caught the attention of Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain and founding member and guitarist Neal Schon.

The band, which became a full-time endeavor in 2008, also features guitarist Stephen Chesney, bass player Greg Eanes, and drummer Chris Castelda, with touring keyboard players Chad Campbell and Billy Jones alternating shows.

Hotel California, “A Salute to the Eagles” — 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Main Stage

Capping off the eclectic musical weekend on Sunday will be Hotel California, “A Salute to the Eagles.”

The band, comprising five respected, multi-talented top music industry professionals, presents a dynamic show saluting the music of The Eagles, a group whose music has proven to have a staying power that few bands lay claim to. Audiences can once again experience the energy and magic of this timeless music.

Members of the band have opened separately for groups such as Boston, The Little River Band and Van Halen. They take the Main Stage together at 8:30 p.m. Their explosive, on-stage energy will be the lead-in to Sunday night’s fireworks display.


Other stage entertainment

Starting off the Main Stage festivities on Friday will be Larry Lee and the Back in the Day Band. Former Detroit Lions player and Vice President Larry Lee leads the group in performances of songs from the past and present, from 8:30 to 10 p.m.

Throughout the weekend, music will play on three stages, including Bugs Beddow Band and Bomb Squad on Friday; Gratitude Steel Band, Redhill, Howlin Mercy and Riot House on Saturday; and Rockestra, Laith Al-Saadi and Annabelle Road on Sunday.

Fireworks Saturday and Sunday

Homecoming wouldn’t be Homecoming without fireworks on Saturday and Sunday, beginning about 10 p.m.

They are sponsored by Westborn Chrysler, with additional support from Kenwal Steel Corp.

Blankets on the hill

People can put their blankets on the hill to view the fireworks after 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. All blankets must be removed by midnight both nights.

The size of a blanket is limited to no more than 8 feet by 8 feet to accommodate as many families as possible on the hill.


Car Show

The Cruisin’ Dearborn car cruise organized by the Dearborn Chamber of Commerce will begin at the 19th District Court at 7 p.m. Friday and travel on Michigan Avenue to Outer Drive to Cherry Hill and into Ford Field Park beginning about 7:30 p.m. The classic car show will last until about 10 p.m.

Other favorites

The Dearborn Community Arts Council’s Craft Show will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

And back again is the Living History Hill with historical re-enactors, musical entertainment, crafts, antique firearms, a high tea and more.

The Turbo Turtle Race returns for its fourth year at 4 p.m. Sunday to raise money for the Kiwanis Club of Dearborn Outer Drive’s children’s projects.

Nonprofit groups raise money

Dearborn service clubs and charitable organizations will be selling food, beverages and other items from about 40 booths in the Food Court and other areas to raise money for their causes that support Dearborn residents.

Also part of the fundraising is the sale of Labatt Blue products. Labatt Blue is the festival’s beer sponsor.


High School Reunions

Homecoming got its name from the festival’s draw of current and forme residents, and Dearborn school alumni. High school reunion picnics for Dearborn, Edsel Ford and Sacred Heart high Schools are on Saturday; picnics for Fordson, Lowery and St. Alphonsus high schools are on Sunday.

Carnival — $13 online specials for all-day wrist bands (advanced sales only)

The carnival runs from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Half-day wristbands can be purchased for $13 at Homecoming, while all-day wristbands will be available for $18. Other prices apply.

Advanced sales of all-day wrist bands are $12, plus $1 service fee through 11:59 p.m. Thursday at www.wadeshowsinc.com.

No refunds will be given on carnival tickets or wrist bands.

This year, the Ferris wheel returns, along with 25 other rides.


Plenty of low-cost, free children’s events

Free, “gentle” carnival-style games for children are offered from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Every child receives a small prize at every game.

Free inflatable rides are offered for children noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, sponsored by the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

And “wacky games” for all ages, like hula hoop at 4 p.m. Saturday, sponsored by Said Deep/deepsaidwhat.com; bubble gum blowing at 4 p.m. Sunday, sponsored by Dearborn patch.com, and spaghetti slurp at 3 p.m. Sunday, sponsored by the Italian American Fraternal Club. Other games take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Dearborn Rotary Club, along with Eppinger Manufacturing, will again sponsor the Free Fishing Derby at the Ford Field Pond on Saturday morning.

Free shuttles

There is free parking and free shuttle service from Dearborn High School, sponsored by Henry Ford Health System, and free shuttle service from the west Dearborn business district along West Village Drive, from Military to Monroe.

The Dearborn High shuttle runs from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, and noon to 11:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Parking is free.

The West Village Drive shuttle runs from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Parking fees may apply in the west Dearborn business district.


Ford Field parking is $10

The Ford Field parking lot also provides a limited number of spaces, including handicapped parking, for $10 per car.

Elderfest on Friday

As usual, the festival begins with Elderfest activities for senior citizens Friday, but this year, they will be centered inside the Italian Tent on the north side of the bridge.

A Fun Walk with Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. starts at 8:30 a.m., followed by events until 1:30 p.m., including music, a free breakfast for senior citizens, anniversary waltz, bingo, dancing and a free lunch for seniors.

Tell me more

Go to www.cityofdearborn.org for the complete schedule.