4th annual Uncle Sam Jam promises lots of family fun

By Evelyn Cairns
The fourth annual Uncle Sam Jam, scheduled for Thursday through Sunday in Woodhaven, is much more than the usual community festival.

It will offer such family fun attractions as camel and monster truck rides, a white tiger exhibit, capuchin monkey jockeys in a banana derby, a circus with aerial trapeze acts and free concerts.

Festival hours will be 2 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 2 p.m. to midnight Friday, noon to midnight Saturday, and noon to 11 p.m. Sunday. Fireworks are planned for Friday and a laser show will take place on Saturday. Admission is free.

Among other attractions will be Michigan’s largest mobile petting zoo, a Classic K-9 show and a rock-climbing wall.

Wristband discounts for the more than 30 carnival rides, which include a roller coaster and water slide, are available at the Woodhaven Community Center and Big Boy locations.

Among the bands scheduled to perform on Friday are Mullen, Ryan Jay, Matt Austin, Blind Season and Mark Farmer.

Groups booked to play on Saturday include Full Throttle, Fall Prey, Superlast, Dead in 5, Candlebox and Skid Row.

Performing on Sunday will be Alison Albrecht, Category 5, Tommy Marx, Ray Street Park, The Nightmare and Starship.

VIP tickets, which include preferred seating, private rest rooms and a private bar, are available by going to www.unclesamjamfest.com.

Video cameras will not be allowed at the fest; however, point-and-shoot cameras will be permitted throughout the grounds.

Bellini slates opera series
A series of opera lectures and performances is being offered without charge by the Bellini Opera Theatre of Michigan.

The second in the series is slated for 7 p.m. Thursday in the auditorium of the Henry Ford Centennial Library, 16301 Michigan Ave., Dearborn.

Additional programs are planned for Aug. 22, Oct. 17, Nov. 21 and Dec. 19 under the direction of Dino Valle of Dearborn, the organization’s artistic director.

The series, sponsored by the Friends of the Library — Dearborn, will concentrate on bel canto Italian classics and Neapolitan songs, according to Ross Lo Duca of Lincoln Park, Bellini president, and Valle, co-founders of the opera theater.

The founders said they hope to foster the enjoyment of opera through concerts, recitals, lectures and fully staged operas in Michigan, Florida and Italy. For additional information, call 313-943-2330.

Former cop writes book
Don W. Wallace, a former Lincoln Park police officer, will sign copies of his new book, “Growing Up in Simpler Times: Memories of Lincoln Park,” from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Fort Street Brewery.

The author wrote the book after Facebook users who read his posts about growing up in the city during the 1930s later encouraged him to write a book about the subject.

Wallace’s wife, Jean; sons, Don and Bruce; and daughter, Pat, will be on hand for the signing. The book costs $12.95, but will be sold for $10 at the signing.

Reservations are being accepted by Bruce Wallace at 248-895-7285 or BruceWallace@comcast.net.

The brewery is at 1660 Fort St. in Lincoln Park.

Ragtime fair set at village
Dancing in the streets to ragtime music, the screening of a slapstick silent film, and a cake walk will be among the highlights of the annual Ragtime Street Fair Saturday and Sunday at Greenfield Village.

Professional instructors will demonstrate and teach ragtime-era steps, and food of the period will be prepared by Henry Ford chefs. Performances are planned by the River Raisin Ragtime Revue and the Tartarsauce Traditional Jazz Band.

The activities are free with the cost of village admission ($22, seniors; $24, adults and $17.50, youths). Children 4 and under are free. For tickets, go to www.thehenryford.org or call 313-982-6001.

Child abuse will be topic
A program designed to end child abuse, “Darkness to Light,” will be conducted without charge through August by the New Beginnings Exchange Club Downriver, which is seeking local organizations to host training sessions on child-abuse awareness.

Spokeswoman Dina Vannice, of The Information Center, said the goal of the program is to train 75 adults to raise awareness of the harm done by child sexual abuse and encourage adults to create safe communities for children.

For additional information, call Lacea Zavala at 734-785-7705, Ext. 7291, or e-mail lzavala@guidance-center.org.