The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s popular family-friendly HarvestFest Detroit event is moving from the Dequindre Cut to Robert C. Valade Park this year to help celebrate the grand opening of the much-anticipated destination along the East Riverfront. The freeoutdoor festival takes place Saturday, October 26 from Noon to 4 p.m. at the park, which is located at 2670 Atwater Street, between Stroh River Place and the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre in downtown Detroit.
Kids are encouraged to come in costume for trick-or-treating throughout the park and along the RiverWalk. This year’s fifth annual HarvestFest Detroit will feature lots of family-friendly activities including hayrides, face painting, bounce houses, meet-and-greet and photo opportunities with superhero and princess characters, live music, a pumpkin patch, games, giveaways and much more. Additionally, classic Halloween cartoons will be shown on a big screen. Donuts and cider from Blake’s Cider Mill, as well as other food options, will be available for purchase.
HarvestFest Detroit is sponsored by Bank of America and the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre. Since making its debut in 2015, HarvestFest Detroit has become one of the most popular fall-themed events in the City of Detroit. It’s also become one of the Conservancy’s most well-attended events.
“Every year, HarvestFest Detroit keeps getting bigger and better,” said Mark Wallace, president and CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. “Last year we had more than 2,500 people come out for the event. This year, we are expecting even more because people are very excited to experience Robert C. Valade Park.”
Robert C. Valade Park is the newest park to open along the East Riverfront. It features an expansive, sandy beach with chairs and umbrellas, a children’s musical garden, colorful play scapes for kids to climb on, a community barbecue pavilion and Bob’s Barge, which is Detroit’s only floating bar. The park is also home to The Shed, a 3,600-square-foot building that will be used for food, events and programming.
Later this year, sushi and barbecue food will be available for purchase at The Shed every Wednesday through Sunday. Beer, wine and spirits will be available also. Additionally, local food trucks will be stationed at the park during special events throughout the year.
Formerly known as Atwater Beach, the Robert C. Valade Park project has transformed an industrial site along the East Riverfront into an exciting park that people of all ages will enjoy. Most recently, the 3.2-acre parcel was used as a buoy storage yard and a cement factory. The park completes a series of family-oriented parks along the East Riverfront, each located approximately a 10-minute walk from each other. Robert C. Valade Park will also include an important bridge along the RiverWalk, which connects Stroh River Place to Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre, two of the most popular destinations along the riverfront.
The park’s official name celebrates native Detroiter and former Carhartt, Inc. chairman and CEO Robert C. Valade, and is in recognition of a gift to the Conservancy from the Molly and Mark Valade Family Fund.
The project has been supported by a diverse group of leaders, including the William Davidson Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which selected the project as one its 2017 Knight Cities Challenge winners, the Walters Family Foundation, and the Mona and Richard Alonzo Fund. The Conservancy also received a grant for the project from Gannett/USA Today Network as part of the “A Community Thrives” initiative, which supports programs that positively impact local communities.
Robert C. Valade Park will be open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Funds provided to the Conservancy from Bank of America will ensure that the park is programmed with events and activities throughout the winter months.
For more information about HarvestFest Detroit or about the riverfront revitalization efforts of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, please visit detroitriverfront.org.