As 2013 draws to a close, the riverfront has seen one of its busiest and most vibrant seasons to date. 

Daily programming served as a connecting point in the community and brought hundreds of thousands of visitors throughout the spring, summer and fall to the riverfront to enjoy a variety of activities, including health-related programming, recreation, education and environmental stewardship programs. Several returning favorites, such as DMC River Walkers program, Yoga on the Riverfront, Reading and Rhythm on the Riverfront literacy program and Canine Club dog walking group, were once again popular and well-attended offerings. 

The Conservancy also added several new programs, including Run This Town, a young and active professional weekly running group with more than 500 members presented by our partners Networking Out, bi-weekly cycling fitness and safety classes presented with our partners at Wheelhouse Detroit and new weekly riverfront walking tours presented in partnership with D:Hive. 

In addition to weekly programming, the riverfront served as a vibrant backdrop for the seventh annual GM River Days festival, June 21 – 23, which welcomed more than 150,000 guests for summer fun, including 40 musical acts, an expanded ArtScape urban art competition opening a week in advance, a Kids Zone, Taste of Detroit food court, rides and games, a Friday Night Bike Night, Tall Ship and Coast Guard cutter tours, as well as jet ski demos and a fully programmed Milliken State Park, which included an urban campout experience. 

Summertime Placemaking initiatives were part of a cohesive effort along with the Conservancy’s neighbors at Campus Martius, Capitol Park, Belle Isle and Grand Circus Park to create a sense of community in urban areas. The Conservancy’s riverfront Placemaking efforts, which included the installation of a regulation beach volleyball court at Rivard Plaza, along with beach chaises, Adirondack chairs and mini lending libraries along the riverfront, were extremely well received, creating an opportunity for guests to extend their visits along the riverfront by making it a point of destination. Plans are underway to expand our Placemaking efforts in 2014. 

On October 20, more than 27,000 participants ran through the streets of Detroit and Windsor for the 36th Annual Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon. The international route took runners along a stretch of the riverfront, and the Conservancy was pleased to sponsor a “cheering station” backed by live musical entertainment at the 25-mile marker at Atwater and Rivard Streets. Conservancy staff and volunteers were on hand to distribute rally towels, interact with spectators and cheer on the runners as they made their way to the finish line.

In addition to the Conservancy’s programming, the riverfront was alive with activity with a wide variety of programming and special events presented by the Organization’s riverfront stakeholder partners, all of whom we support through a variety of measures, including: 

-The popular return of GM Rockin’ on the Riverfront 

-A full season of concerts at Chene Park 

-Special events at Hart Plaza 

-Jazzin’ on Jefferson 

-The Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle 

-The Gold Cup Boat Races along the river