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Flint, MI—The COVID-19 pandemic brought Flint’s event-packed summer to an end in 2020. Events like the CRIM Festival of Races and Back to the Bricks, which historically brought thousands of people to the city were either postponed, modified, or made virtual.
This summer however, as more and more people get vaccinated and restrictions for outdoor events get lighter, residents can look forward to a summer filled with strolls down Saginaw Street, cool nights at Atwood Stadium, and live music scattered across the city’s parks.
Here’s what you can expect this summer.
Flint City Bucks return to defend title
In 2019, the Flint City Bucks started their first season in Flint with a national championship win. In the process, they made Atwood Stadium the most attended venue in the city week after week.
The Bucks’ success in 2019 left the city wanting more in 2020. Though a regular season would not pan out, the Bucks did play 7 friendlies, which they all won. This means for the 2021 season, the Bucks are going to take to the field still undefeated.
Costa Papista, the team’s president, said “We were really disappointed that we couldn’t play a regular schedule in 2020 coming off our little Cinderella story in 2019…We just can’t wait to get started. We’re very thankful that we can start with 20% capacity.”
Though the stands will not be filled for the Buck’s first home game this Saturday, Papista said he hopes restrictions will continue to soften, allowing more Bucks to enjoy the games live.
With an estimated 10-14 home games this season, the Bucks will be offering nearly weekly games this summer for those lucky enough to get in.
Back to the Bricks is back
Too big to die, Back to the Bricks still held some cruises as well as other events in 2020. The signature downtown car show, however, had to be axed.
Back to the Bricks executive director Amber Taylor said, “We are bringing back the car show this year. Full-blast moving forward.”
Starting in late May, Taylor said Back to the Bricks will kick off with its first event aptly named “Dust em’ off” event where car owners will be able to dust off and show off their rolling beauties.
Following “Dust em’ off,” a host of other events will go through June and July all leading up to Main Event Week which will be held from Aug 16-23.
“We’re really just staying hopeful that we continue to do good and do our part in Michigan so they can keep lifting the restrictions. At this point we are making all the plans to host this event…obviously we don’t have a crystal ball but we are hopeful. We are going to make sure we put on an event that will please everyone,” Taylor said.
The Crim Returns
Perhaps the only event that can compare in attendance to Back to the Bricks, the Crim Festival of Races opted for a do-it-yourself approach to last year’s race, allowing participants to run their own course and submit their times.
Though that factor is still in play in 2021, Joe Dimambro, director of races at Crim said a lucky few will get the chance to run the historic Crim race.
“We know that the demand is going to be more than what we’re going to have to cap the race at based on MDHHS restrictions. We are actually going to be using a lottery system for registration this year,” Dimambro said.
Though not all details are set in stone, Dimambro said he has high expectations for how the August race will turn out.
“Vaccination rates are continuing to go up and case rates are continuing to go down so we’re optimistic and we’re in a position where we’re feeling better and better about getting more details about what the in-person race will look like.
Those interested in registering for the Crim lottery can do so here.
Berston Fieldhouse to bring sports and music
Other venues and organizations across the city are also planning on a glorious return to Flint this summer. Berston Fieldhouse has planned an impressive set of events to be held throughout the summer months.
Bryant Nolden, executive director of the Friends of Berston said he is eager to share with the city everything Berston will be hosting.
Starting with the summer off with ribbon cutting ceremony for a new handball team on May 20, and keeping the momentum going with music in the park every last Saturday of every for June, July and August in partnership with the Flint Institute of Music.
One of the center’s most ambitious events, a day full of boxing, will be held on Labor day weekend where two rings and over 25 fights will take center stage.
Though details are still being worked out, Nolden said Berston will be collaborating with the Flint Water Festival and Rich Kid Inc. to organize a four-day-long Fourth of July festival featuring everything from food to live music.
Still in the works
Though still in the stages of planning, some of Flint’s other beloved celebrations like Juneteenth and Flint Pride will be returning in different capacities according to their respective organizers.