Last year we had family out for the fourth of July and we skipped heading into Lansing for any festivities. To be honest in 2012 when we attended both the parade and fireworks display some freaky things happened that made me not want to come back. Although the parade was fine in 2012 it was hot out making sitting through the parade almost painful. This year it was almost a tad, a smidge, an iota chilly. Luckily my husband led us to the perfect, sunny, photographic location.
We sat directly in front of the closed off parking ramp on Allegan. Every photo I took was back dropped with the Capitol and a gorgeous Mid Michigan blue sky.
In 2012, although there was a good enough attendance, the participants within the parade seemed thin. By that I mean each group had only a few people representing them. There was a huge difference this year where each specific group had a large crowd with them and almost every group interacted with the crowd by handing out candy or some such thing. We came home with flags, coupons, magnetic clips and even packets of orange Kool-Aid with directions to create Kool Aid playdough from Lansing Charter Academy and Windmere Park Charter Academy. The New Citizens Press Community Action Network Inc. and its Stop the Violence campaign which also partnered up with Mike Karl and The Homeless Angels had over 125 in their group. As they passed by it was hard not to join in with their encouragement to “Keep the peace, stop the violence”. Within their midst was Yvonne LaFave and her Go Green Trikes carrying the Quality Dairy (Pine St.) water donation to keep the group hydrated. They later donated the remaining water to Livity Inc which is a nonprofit fighting to rid the Capital city of poverty and hunger. These types of activities are what really make Lansing amazing.
In 2012 we came into Lansing late and our normal spot was full. We then decided to park in Old Town and walk to our normal location by the Lansing City Market. I’m not sure if it was the heat or something else but there was a strange feeling to this night. It seemed there were large groups of people who could at any moment cause trouble. Many of the members of the groups were visibly intoxicated. At one point we thought we even heard a gunshot. Although we were walking quite fast we were unable to fully make it to our desired location. As the first fireworks began to light up the sky we found ourselves stuck under the Shiawassee St. Bridge. The photography from this location was terrible. We then decided to go onto the bridge. Again we found ourselves in the middle of two separate groups, sizing each other up. At one point the mayor and Capt. Daryl Green raced to where we were standing, dramatically looked around and then took off in a car. Once we got home to safety it came to our attention that someone had been shot very near to where we were at. The whole situation left me feeling unsure about ever returning to watch fireworks in Lansing.
However after a year off I was willing to try again. Our original idea for this year’s Fourth of July was to attend the Lugnuts game. This would provide the safety needed to feel comfortable in the city, enjoy some baseball and be in the perfect spot for fireworks. Then again you can wait too long and not be able to get tickets. The next idea was to just find the perfect photographic location so I can get some good shots. With this in mind we headed to the top of Sparrow Hospital parking ramp. We had parked on the top-level a few months ago and found that the view was phenomenal. We honestly didn’t even know if we could park there but as we drove in we found ourselves in a small parade heading into the ramp. We parked lower down for a fast get away and began our hike up 5 levels of stairs. At the top we found a very large group of people waiting for the light show. There were numerous security folks keeping the peace and all in all a family friendly environment. And as I had thought, the view was spectacular. We enjoyed watching the panoramic view of the horizon as consumer level explosions shot into the sky. It was great for people/car watching as well. We quickly settled in at a space by the wall so I could take photos and the kids took out the chairs and the bucket of popcorn I’d made just before leaving. Just after 10:00 p.m. the first city display shot off. This was the perfect spot!
The show was great. Then we waited patiently for the Lugnuts game to finish, their lights shut off and their fireworks to begin. And we waited. And we waited. I started texting people I knew were at the game and found that at the bottom of the 14th there was still no score.
From our eagle eye location we could see the traffic and decided we would wait the game out. Forty minutes later the news came in via Facebook that the Lugnuts had won. The lights went out over the stadium and we sat through a second fireworks display. It was a gorgeous night and even though those fireworks were farther away there was something really memorable about seeing the moon resting to the south of the Lansing downtown skyline and the baseball game fireworks filling the sky to the north.
By the end of those fireworks the traffic was flowing smoothly and we had no trouble getting home. As we pulled into our driveway we were greeted by nature’s own fireworks; millions of fireflies flitting and glowing all over the tree line. This was really the perfect ending to a perfect day of celebrating our independence.