While it might not be as famous as the annual art fair, Top of the Park is a highlight of Ann Arbor summers. Run jointly by the city and the University, the free festival occurs annually during late June and early July and features movies, vendors and live music. This year, due to renovations to its usual location atop the Fletcher Street parking structure, organizers have opted to move the festivities to Washington Street and the steps of the Rackham Building. This change in scenery will add $55,000 to the cost of producing the event, leaving organizers looking for contributions to help offset the higher price tag. The city and University did well in working together to find an alternative location and keep the festival alive, and they should now help the festival’s organizers raise the extra funds.
Since 1983, this Ann Arbor tradition has been cherished both by residents and the students who remain during the summer months. The festival features entertainment by local and regional performers and, though it might seem to be a favorite primarily among the middle-school crowd, is great for all ages. Further, the event offers a great opportunity for town and gown to come together. Particularly in the summer months, when campus is nearly a ghost town, the extra effort being put forth to keep the festival running will be greatly appreciated.
So long as the organizers succeed in collecting the funds needed to meet the higher cost, there is no reason why the festival would not be as impressive as it has been in the past. It may be a few years before residents can enjoy “The Wedding Singer” projected on an elevator shaft. But so long as organizers can raise the additional funds and resist the temptation to rename the festival “Front of the Rack,” the location switch will be little more than a short-term change of scenery.