Thousands of people watched the Fourth of July Fireworks show from various locations around Saline Wednesday in what Mayor Brian Marl hopes will become an annual event.
Grand Sakwa Properties, which plans to build residential housing on North Maple Road, paid for the inaugural show -- the first community Fourth of July fireworks display in many years.
The event came together quickly -- and plans were based largely on Saline's sesquicentennial fireworks show held in October of 2015. Although there are no official counts, crowds were much larger at Liberty School, Saline Middle School and Heritage/Woodland Meadows School. There were also substantial crowds watching from off-campus locations.
This year's show clocked in at 20 minutes - a bit shorter than the sesquicentennial show. Still, it was long enough to thoroughly entertain people of all ages who camped around Crabtree Field.
"Saline's fireworks were awesome. Thanks to all who were involved in the process," Tracy Stanish said.
"The fireworks were awesome!," Andrea Michael said. "Let's do this again next year!"
That's the plan. Previously, Mayor Marl has said that Grand Sakwa has committed to fund future fireworks displays.
The show drew a large crowd. By 9:15 p.m., nearly all of the available parking at Liberty School was occupied. Police officers and reserves were redirecting latecomers out of the parking lot even as the show began.
With more people in attendance, exiting the show was also tricky.
Jennifer Louden thought police did a great job routing traffic off the school campus.
"Fireworks were great! And I just wanted to give some props to the officer directing traffic out of the show. I did tell him I have never seen someone do such an amazing job with the traffic. He was on it! Good job to one of our boys in blue," Louden said.
But others were critical of the traffic planning.
"It was amazing til we were stuck with one way out and in our cars forever! Not well organized! Nobody knew what they were doing," Linda Reynolds said.
There was a head-on collision involving two SUVs at Ann Arbor Saline Road and Brecon Drive. At least one person involved in the crash was said to have a head injury. It's not clear how severe the injury was or if others were injured. It's also not known if the crash, which occurred around 10:50 p.m., was related to the fireworks traffic. The crash made congestion even worse.
There were smaller fireworks displays all around town. For the most part, people enjoyed their shows without incident. At 11:09 p.m., the fire department was dispatched to the 200 block of Tower Drive for a "Sky Lantern" stuck in a tree.