Though there are no local fireworks in Ann Arbor, many students are still trying to find ways to get a bang out of their Independence Day while staying in town.

Paul Wong
Ann Arbor resident Omar Imran picks out fireworks at Busters Food Mart on Platt Road.

Hosting picnics and barbecues, watching movies and spending time with friends are just some of the ways people said they plan to spend their time off.

Attending the 12th annual July 4 parade in downtown Ann Arbor is another popular holiday pick. The parade starts on campus and travels down Main Street and up William Street, featuring musical guests and community groups.

“The best part of the parade is the community involvement,” parade chair Tara Sniezek said. “We have so many different groups – the participation is unbelievable.” Last year’s parade, she said, was attended by around 20,000 people. She expects even more people to line the streets and watch this year.

Sniezek said she has found that people really “just want to be a part of it” and added that she feels the event truly belongs to the community.

Riding her bike down to the parade is LSA sophomore Kelly Jackson’s favorite July 4 memory. “It took awhile to get downtown, but it was fun,” she said.

Jackson said watching the parade and barbecuing at Gallop Park equals definite fun on the 4th. But, she said, something is missing from the festivities. “It just always seems like you should have the fireworks.”

Bob Kovats, a high school student from Portage, Mich. who will be in Ann Arbor until August as part of a summer program, said he always sees fireworks on the 4th but that this year he is going to have to make other plans.

“I’ll be disappointed because it’ll be the first 4th I haven’t seen fireworks but I’ll get over it,” he said, adding that he does not feel out of options. “Ann Arbor is a really neat city, they have a lot to offer.”

Top of the Park’s July 4 festivities will feature a picnic, the Ann Arbor Civic Band, percussion ensemble and the movie “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

Also this weekend, the Ann Arbor Jaycees, the junior Chamber of Commerce group, will be holding their 51st summer carnival from Wednesday to Saturday at Pioneer High School, offering games, face painting and rides.

In addition to parades and picnics, security is at the front of many people’s minds this 4th of July weekend. And though there are no direct threats in Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor Police Department Chief of Police Daniel Oates said there will be extra police at community events. Since Sept. 11, he said, there is a list of sensitive and critical locations around the city that are also being visited by extra patrols.

“We’re just redoubling our efforts to remain as vigilant as possible,” Oates said, adding that while extra caution will be taken on the holiday, he thinks that everyone should relax and have a good time and celebrate the 4th.

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