Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Detroit-Windsor International Freedom Festival

Begun in 1959, the Detroit-Windsor International Freedom Festival was a multi-day celebration in late June and early July, jointly marking both Canada Day on July 1st, and America’s Independence Day on July 4th. The festival became two different celebrations in 2007: Detroit River Days, and Windsor Summer Fest, though both generally fall within the same timeframe. Set on the riverfront of both countries, Detroit and Windsor jointly celebrated the multi-day festival, drawing about 3.5 million visitors.

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy held the first Detroit River Days festival in 2007 to act as a “grand opening” of the newly completed portions of the new Detroit River Walk of the greater Detroit International Riverfront. The separate festivals have since continued and feature food, music, and other attractions along the scenic Detroit River.

The highlight of the event is the Ford Fireworks, normally held on the Monday shared by both festivals. It was first sponsored by Hudson’s, followed by Target, and starting in 2013 by the Ford Motor Company. The fireworks show is produced by the Parade Company of Detroit. One of the largest and most spectacular fireworks displays in North America, it lights up the sky over both cities. This annual spectacle draws more than one million people to the Windsor and Detroit riverfronts.



Certificate of appreciation from the first International Freedom Festival, 1959

Freedom Festival fireworks display, 1960

View all items related to the Detroit-Windsor International Freedom Festival