Detroit’s riverfront is one of the city’s best gems, and it’s going to be shining for the 9th edition of River Days from June 19-21 which will be jam-packed with festivities. It’s basically going to be one of the best $3-$5 you’ll spend for fun this summer.
This year’s GM River Days will have new programming including zip line rides, a Tuskegee Airmen Museum Airshow, a lineup of national music acts and a special preview fundraising event called “River Nights” to support the continued development and operations for the Detroit riverfront. There are multiple facets to this multi-day festival, so let’s get started.
Airshows Come Back To Detroit
There will be an airshow with World War II replica aircraft over the Detroit River on Saturday and Sunday, June 20 and 21 starting at 1:00 p.m. each day. The show is being staged by the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum. There will be a demonstration of precision formation flying by the museum’s own three-aircraft team, and aerobatics by world-class airshow performers. This will be the first time that Detroit has seen aerobatic demonstrations over the river in more than five years and this time it’s locally-organized and features many performers from Metro Detroit.
Zip Lines Will Give You A New View of the River
Ever-popular zip lines will be available for a fun ride, giving a bird’s eye view of the Detroit River from Milliken State Park. Thrill seekers will get to fly 300-feet across the sky with the first-ever zip line in the state park. This new festival feature is the longest, fastest mobile zip line available and allows two people to zip simultaneously on two lines that are 34 feet in the air.
Tickets for the zip line will cost $15 for one ride or two for $25.
The New Three Point Shoot Out
There’s a new three-point shoot out and free throw competition this year. You will be able to compete throughout the day to qualify for the daily championship in many different age and gender brackets. You’ll find it near the Beaubien entrance and the Michigan Lottery Music Stage. Daily 11am-6pm.
It’s A Sound Decision To Check Out The Concerts
Paul Rodgers, founding member of Bad Company on Friday night and the seven-time Grammy Award winner and Motown legend Gladys Knight on Saturday evening, in addition to R&B singer-songwriter Chanté Moore. Sunday’s main stage will bring rhythm and blues to the waterfront with celebrated R&B performers including Bell Biv Devoe, a trio of members from the 1980s act New Edition, Jagged Edge, Grammy-nominated R&B group and Dave Hollister, R&B vocalist and previous member of Blackstreet.
VIP tickets will be available to purchase for premier seating during the headlining concerts. Tickets cost $35 and include entrance to the festival. Tickets can be purchased online through RiverDays.com.
Food, Food And More Food
More than a dozen eateries will present a wide array of dining options throughout the weekend, including Atwater in the Park, Bert’s Market Place, Coach Insignia, Famous Dave’s BBQ, Detroit Marshmallow Company, Eskimo Jack, Detroit Fish and Shrimp, RiverWalk Café, Baja Smoothies and the The Soaring Eagle Cuisine Machine that will once again be the star of the Pepsi Taste of Detroit Food Court.
The Whole Family Can Get Involved
The Flagstar Bank Kids Zone located on Rivard Plaza will keep kids laughing and playing all weekend long. Parents just need to pick up a free sticker from the Flagstar Bank booth at the festival. The Kids Zone produced by The Parade Company will feature story time, magic and puppet shows, as well as face and hand painting with the Detroit Institute of Arts and recyclable crafts with Arts & Scraps. Children and families will also experience an entertaining lineup on the Meijer Kids Stage. Rivard Plaza will also be the site of a 50-ton sand sculpture presented by Quicken Loans and designed by Team Sandtastic.
You’ll Be Amazed At All The Ship You’ll See
There will be ships and fun on the water! Not only will there be Diamond Jack River Tours, there will also be tours of the Appledore IV Tall Ship presented by Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center docked at the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority Dock.
The Jet Skis Will Be Ready to Entertain
In addition, festival favorite Typhoon Tommy and his world-class jet ski team will use the Detroit River as their stage to perform big air jumps, flips and underwater dives for the crowds along the riverfront.
Tour An Actual Coast Guard Cutter
The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary will showcase rescue demonstrations and the opportunity to board and tour a Coast Guard cutter throughout the weekend.
Learn About The Nature Around You
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will provide a variety of hands-on activities for children and adults throughout William G. Milliken State Park & Harbor during the festival. Guests can stroll along the RiverWalk and talk with wildlife and fish experts, foresters and conservation officers. Booths will be across the park to learn about Michigan’s birds of prey and reptiles. Festivalgoers will also have a chance to try their hand at archery, scale a climbing wall and other outdoor challenges.[td_smart_list_end]
Festival hours are 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Sunday. The Conservancy will charge a $3 admission fee (and $5 after 5 p.m.) to help underwrite programming and operational costs for the festival.
Admission to the festival is free before 5 p.m. on Friday, June 19. For a full schedule of events and activities, check out RiverDays.com.