The Algonac Pickerel Tournament has been a long-standing, time-honored tradition within my family. For the last 35+ years, we have gone to the carnival, rode the rides, experienced the parade, and watched the fireworks. Each year the Pickerel Festival is held the weekend leading up to the 4th of July, and it is something we always look forward to. For 2021, the Algonac Pickerel Tournament is happening from July 1 through July 4th, with fireworks on July 2nd.
I don’t think there is a kid out there that doesn’t get excited to see the beginnings of a carnival getting set up. My grandma lived right next to the schoolyard where the Pickerel Tournament is. As little kids, we couldn’t wait to visit her during this time. To us, it was the official beginning of the summer. The minute we arrived at her house, we were running over there with whatever babysitting or chore money we earned over the year. This year the rides open on July 1st at 5 p.m.
As we got older, we dared each other to go on the scarier rides. The most feared rides twisted and turned upside down. The addition of wristbands allows kids now to ride any ride all day long.
Who can go to a carnival and not pick up an elephant ear or a bag of cotton candy to take home? Not I! The festival has a fantastic food court where you can buy all sorts of tempting food. My particular favorite is the corn dog. What’s your favorite?
Games of skill or as most people call them games of luck are all located on one side of the carnival. One row is full of colorful stuffed animals and prizes on display. You just have to figure out which one you feel confident in winning. The water game is my favorite, and most assuredly I can win almost every time. Steady, Aim, Fire that water canon!
The carnival games are so difficult to pass by without trying your hand. Our goal is to see who can bring home the most prizes at the end of the day. I remember my dad’s favorite was the dime toss in the dishes. He would come home with his arms full of glasses, plates, and whatever dish he could get his dime to stay on. My mom and Grandma liked the candy color game. Although now it is a quarter to play when it was a lot cheaper when we were younger. Today we play the coin game, where you drop in a token and aim for the lever to push out prizes and more coins. We clean up on that game!
Waiting for the Fireworks
Pick your spot to watch the fireworks early on July 1st by staking your claim with blankets or lawn chairs. Also, the earlier you get to Algonac, the better parking choices you will have available. Be prepared to pay for parking unless you know someone living in Algonac that has a spot saved for you.
A lot of the local kids swim in Lake St. Clair and if you are daring you can join them. Kayla loves jumping into the water especially if it is a really hot day. Not having a suit doesn’t stop her one bit. Obviously, if you plan ahead, remember to bring towels and a bathing suit!
Kayla practicing her Ethel Merman smile. Isn’t she lovely?!
Another relaxing thing to do is watch the freighters go by. Lake St. Clair connects Lake Huron to Lake Erie so, seeing a big freighter is always a treat.
The excitement ramps up when we see the firehouse boat which is usually the precursor to the barge coming down the river. The fireworks are shot off of the barge in the middle of Lake St. Clair.
Algonac Pickerel Tournament Fireworks
And for the highlight of the Algonac Lions Pickerel Tournament is the Fireworks display.
The Algonac Pickerel Tournament Fireworks are, I believe, one of the best displays around Metro-Detroit. The event usually lasts over 20 minutes. I really like when some of them, depending on the wind, can burst way over your head and it feels like you are under an umbrella of fireworks. The fireworks start at 10 p.m. on Friday, July 2st.
The parade is a great way to spend time with your family by watching the marching bands, fire trucks, clowns, and of course the Pickerel Tournament queen and her court. I pulled these photos out of my archive for you to enjoy a look back at the 1970s. How can you tell? See if you can find the plaid pants in the crowd. One thing we could always count on is the amount of candy we took home from people throwing it from the floats.
Besides what I mentioned above and also the fishing tournament, antique Chris Craft boat parade, bingo, Kids and Pet Parade, Donut, Watermelon, and Pie Eating Contests, Boat Parade, Kayak Run, Pickerel 5K Walk/Run, of the course beer tent, and so much more. There are plenty of things to do at the Algonac Pickerel Tournament for the entire family. If you are in town and are looking for a fabulous Firework Display, you can do no better than the one Algonac puts on and come for the day and partake in all the fun carnival activities during the 4th of July weekend.
Happy 4th of July everyone! Be safe and Travel Well!
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