Highland Park’s Annual Michigan Week Parade & Car Show Takes Place This Saturday, May 18th

Highland Park-based Parker Pride Foundation, in partnership with the city of Highland Park, will host its annual Michigan Week Parade and Car Show on Saturday, May 18, from 12-4 p.m.

“The spectacular parade will start at the intersection of Tuxedo Ave. and Hamilton Street in Highland Park,” said Sydney Spight, founder and CEO of Parker Pride Foundation. “The exciting procession will wind its way through the heart of our community in celebration of unity, culture, and fun. Marching bands, floats, and community groups will parade through our streets.”

Spight added that the parade will ultimately reach its grand destination at the storied Reggie McKenzie Field, located at 10 Pitkin St. in Highland Park. At McKenzie Field, named for Highland Parker Reggie McKenzie, a gridiron star guard with the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks from 1972 to 1984, Spight said there will be fun-filled games, activities, music, food, and more for adults and families with children of all ages. An impressive lineup of automobiles will also be on display at McKenzie Field, showcasing vehicles ranging from classics to cutting-edge models.

“It’s only natural that we have this car show to celebrate Michigan Week in Highland Park,” Spight said. “After all, Highland Park was the birthplace of Ford’s massive plant and moving assembly line that manufactured Ford Motor Company’s Model T cars over a century ago.”

Incorporated as a city in 1918, Highland Park was not only the home of the Ford Model T but also the home to Chrysler Corporation’s World Headquarters from 1925 to the mid-1990s.

In addition, for decades, Highland Park had one of the best school systems in America, which included Highland Park Junior College established in 1918. It was one of the nation’s first two-year institutions of higher learning before closing in the mid-1990s under the name Highland Park Community College.

In 1932, the Lawrence brothers – Russell and E. George – opened and operated the Lawrence Institute of Technology in Highland Park, the forerunner to the current Lawrence Technological University (Lawrence Tech.) in Southfield, Mich.

“By celebrating Michigan Week in Highland Park, we want people in this region to know that Highland Park has a history that its residents love and cherish,” said Spight. The city is not as large as it used to be, but we still have plenty of Highland Park pride here.”

Parker Pride Foundation, a non-profit organization, was created by Spight to empower Highland Park residents, communities, and city schools under the banner “Bringing Life Back to a City

That Once Thrived.” The foundation dates back to 2010, when it was called Parker Pride Alumni Association. In 2023, the organization changed its name to Parker Pride Foundation.

“Through our unwavering programs and initiatives, we will ensure that Highland Park’s future will once again shine brightly,” said Spight, “much like the precious gem it truly is.”

Many current and former Highland Parkers have faith that they and perhaps other external entities will restore the city in ways similar to the renewal efforts happening in Detroit, which geographically surrounds Highland Park on three sides.

“Who knows, we might play some small part in the inevitable rebirth of the city, though I hesitate to say rebirth, for HP is not dead…it yet lives,” said Marsha Music, who writes stories about culture and music in Detroit where she was born but grew up in Highland Park. “There are still beautiful homes and dedicated homeowners and residents who await the day that the city’s decline will stop, and its stable blocks will be returned to their full former beauty. I believe that day will come…This is not a city that will just ‘ride off into the sunset’ of non-existence. I love Highland Park.”

Spight agrees.

“This is a proud city with a proud history, and we want people to know that Highland Park will rise again,” said Spight. “So even if you are not a Highland Parker, come on out to our Michigan Week Parade and Car Show for a day of fun and community pride and spirit.”

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