Windsor–Detroit International Freedom Festival
The International Freedom Festival is a multi-day celebration in late June marking Canada Day on July 1 and the American Independence Day on July 4. Detroit, Michigan, USA and Windsor, Ontario, Canada jointly celebrate the multi-day festival which draws about 3.5 million visitors. The International Freedom Festival began in 1959.
Beginning in 2007, the Festival became two separate events, Windsor Summer Fest, and Detroit River Days.
Summer Fest is a 19-day festival, which takes place along the scenic riverfront in Windsor Ontario. This festival is a perennial favourite for the entire family, offering something for all ages, and stages. Over the years more than 500,000 people have come out annually to enjoy the many activities, and attractions which run in conjunction with Summer Fest.
The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy began the River Days festival in June 2007 to introduce the community and visitors to the transformed Detroit International Riverfront. The festival marked the opening of significant portions of the new Detroit RiverWalk and the festival has continued each year to spotlight this destination in the city of Detroit.
The highlight of both festivals is the fireworks display in celebration of the United States' Independence Day and Canada's Canada Day. It is one of the largest and most spectacular firework displays in North America, lighting up the sky over Windsor and Detroit. This annual spectacle draws more than 1,000,000 to the Windsor and Detroit river fronts. It is usually held on the Monday shared by both festivals.
Traditionally, several days of events were planned, ending with one of the world's largest fireworks displays. The event usually took place the last Wednesday of June, every year. However, in 2010, the day was moved to a Monday. The Windsor side also contains a carnival with additional events and rides.
For most of its existence it was sponsored by Hudson's. Its corporate successor Target took over as sponsor until 2013, when the Ford Motor Company became the primary sponsor, with the event re-branded as the Ford Fireworks presented by Target. The show is broadcast on TV by NBC affiliate WDIV-TV, while WJR airs an audio simulcast of its music. On the Windsor side, there is a midway consisting of carnival rides and concessions during the festival. The Midway operates as a stand-alone attraction at the end of June and beginning of July. The Ford Fireworks is produced by The Parade Company of Detroit.
- Mink, Randy, and Karen Mink (July 2001).Detroit Turns 300 - Detroit 300 Festival. Travel America, World Publishing Co., Gale Group.
- "Ford becomes lead sponsor of Detroit fireworks scheduled for June 24". MILive.com. Retrieved 13 November 2013.