HarvestFest Detroit to Inaugurate New Robert C. Valade Park on Riverfront Saturday

The fifth annual HarvestFest Detroit, which celebrates fall in the city and this year the grand opening of Robert C. Valade Park, takes place Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. and features activities for the entire family.
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Robert C. Valade Park
HarvestFest Detroit will take place Saturday at the Robert C. Valade Park on Atwater Street. // File rendering

The fifth annual HarvestFest Detroit, which celebrates fall in the city and this year the grand opening of Robert C. Valade Park, takes place Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. and features activities for the entire family.

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and the Molly and Mark Valade Family Fund announced in August that the newest public space along the waterfront would carry former Carhartt Inc. chairman and CEO Robert C. Valade’s name and open in the fall. Carhartt, based in Dearborn, was founded in Detroit in 1889 by Hamilton Carhartt.

The free outdoor festival at the new park, located at 2670 Atwater St. (between Stroh River Place and the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre) in downtown Detroit, moves from its previous Dequindre Cut location.

Kids are encouraged to come in costume for trick-or-treating throughout the park and along the RiverWalk. This year’s HarvestFest Detroit will feature several lots of family friendly activities including hayrides, classic Halloween cartoons on a big screen, face painting, bounce houses, meet-and-greet and photo opportunities with superhero and princess characters, live music, a pumpkin patch, games, giveaways, and more.

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.

“Every year, HarvestFest Detroit keeps getting bigger and better,” says 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.”

The 3.2-acre Robert C. Valade Park, formerly known as Atwater Beach, is the newest park to open along the East Riverfront. It features a sandy beach with chairs and umbrellas, a children’s musical garden, play scapes for kids to climb on, a community barbecue pavilion, and Bob’s Barge, which is Detroit’s only floating bar. The park also is 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.

The park also features a bridge along the RiverWalk, which connects it to Stroh River Place and Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre, two of the most popular destinations along the riverfront.

In addition to the Detroit Riverfront Conservatory and the Molly and Mark Valade Family Fund, the park project received support from the William Davidson Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Walters Family Foundation, the Mona and Richard Alonzo Fund, and the Gannett/USA Today Network.

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