Summer just wouldn’t be summer without certain things like sunny days at the beach, ice-cold lemonade, ice cream trucks rolling up and down the streets and kids complaining about how bored they are.
But the kiddies won’t be griping this week because one of the area’s largest and most popular festivals is back.
Now in its 10th year, the Seymour Celebration is poised to take over Seymour Lake Township Park on Friday, July 6 and Saturday, July 7.
Organized by the Oxford Township Parks and Recreation Department, this two-day extravaganza will include a carnival, live music, hot air balloon launch, community art project, youth baseball tournament, community garage sale and two nights of fireworks illuminating the night sky.
“It’s just good, family fun. It highlights not only our community, but our park,” said Parks and Rec. Director Ron Davis. “It’s safe. It’s clean. I think it’s a great representation of our community.”
Admission to the Seymour Celebration is free both days before 7 p.m. After that, a parking fee of $5 per vehicle will be charged at the gate.
Just a reminder, alcoholic beverages, personal fireworks (including sparklers) and outside vendors are strictly prohibited in the park per township ordinance. Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies will be on patrol during the event and watching for violators.
Thousands of folks are expected to throng the 132-acre park, well-known for its Kids Kingdom playground and KLR Splashpad.
“We’ll have anywhere between 15,000 and 25,000 (visitors) over those two days. It all depends on the weather,” Davis said. “Last year was the first year I was really nervous about running out of room to park cars (on) Saturday night. That field was packed. The park was packed. Every year, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger.”
“It’s just great to see the families coming back year after year, and how the community supports the whole event. It’s pretty neat,” he noted. “It’s really rewarding, especially after those 18-hour days (organizing it), to see how much fun people are having. It validates what we do here.”
Not much has changed or is new for this year’s event and that’s not a bad thing to Davis.
“Our philosophy is if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” he said. “We keep going with the same format. It’s just a well-oiled machine.”
Carnival rides and games provided by Skerbeck Entertainment Group, based in Fennville, Michigan, will continue to serve as the celebration’s main attraction.
The carnival will run from noon to 11 p.m. both days.
Wristbands that will allow folks to enjoy all the rides as many times as they wish for a single day will be available for $20 each at the carnival ticket office. They can be purchased for $17 each prior to the event at www.seymourcelebration.com, but it must be done before noon on Friday, July 6. All sales are final.
Colonial Fireworks, based in Clayton, Michigan, will once again put on two dazzling pyrotechnic displays. Each will begin at dusk.
“People can feel free to come out earlier in the day and set their blankets out to reserve their spots for the fireworks,” Davis noted. “They can bring lawn chairs or have a picnic.”
Both Skerbeck and Colonial Fireworks have been part of the Seymour Celebration since its start in 2009.
New to Seymour Celebration this year will be a special community art project beginning at 6 p.m. Folks are invited to help paint a giant picture divided into four sections, each representing one of the township’s four parks and what’s available there. The sections contain images depicting playgrounds, disc golf, various sports, hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, wildlife and natural features.
The designs were created by Merge Studio and Gallery in Oxford Village, so the only thing folks will have to do is add colors in a paint-by-numbers fashion. You don’t have to be an artist, you just have to be able to stay within the lines.
From 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Oakland County Parks and Recreation will have inflatables set up for kids. Socks are required.
Sports fans won’t want to miss the Diamond Classic, a baseball tournament featuring approximately 25 teams with players ranging in age from 8-12. The games will start Friday evening, continue all day Saturday and wrap up on Sunday.
The Clean Sweep Community Garage Sale will be held in the park on Saturday, July 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Folks are welcome to sell, shop and swap. It’s for everyone from vendors and crafters to folks looking to clean out their cluttered garages, attics and basements.
Setup begins at 9:30 a.m. Booth space (12-foot-by-12-foot) is available. The cost is $10 for Oxford residents and $15 for non-residents. Participants must provide their own tables and chairs.
Proceeds will benefit the Oxford Wildcat Athletic Boosters Club. Visit the Parks and Recreation office at Seymour Lake Park to register. The phone number is (248) 628-1720.
Also on Saturday, Home Depot will have a Kid’s Corner area set up from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Youngsters will be able to build simple wood-based projects, free of charge.
There will be plenty of live music from 7 p.m. until the fireworks begin on Friday and from noon to the fireworks on Saturday.
Once again, the two big sponsors for the Seymour Celebration are Meijer, which contributed $5,000, and Genisys Credit Union, which donated $2,500, plus a lot of in-kind advertising and promotion. “The two of them have been great supporters and it’s been a great partnership,” Davis said.
Davis is beyond grateful to parks and rec. staff members for their willingness to devote so much extra time and effort – for which they receive no additional pay – to make the Seymour Celebration happen year in and year out.
“It’s really not work. It’s just a passion we have,” he said. “We enjoy doing it for the community.”