Band known for hit power ballads in the 1990s is headliner at the Bay City Fireworks Festival

Look up in the night sky during the Bay City Fireworks Festival and you’ll see brilliant colors and hear thunderous booms. Look at the stage during the day, though, and you’ll see stars.

The 62nd Annual Bay City Fireworks Festival includes a Fri., June 30 performance by FireHouse, known for hit singles from the early 1990s including “Love of a Lifetime,” “I Live My Life For You,” and “When I Look Into Your Eyes.”

Before the band takes the stage at Wenonah Park, Hairball John hosts a “Fired up For the ‘80s” pre-show tailgate party in the park.

The concert was announced at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon.

During the press event, Fireworks Festival President Earl Bovia thanked McLaren Bay Region for serving as the presenting sponsor for the festival and Gower Law for serving as presenting sponsor for FireHouse.

“This hallmark event, a tradition not only for Bay City, but for the entire region, is one we are absolutely thrilled to support,” says McLaren Bay Region Chief Executive Officer Darrell Lentz. “We’re looking forward to celebrating with hundreds of thousands of individuals who come to town to enjoy the event. We are assured it will be a spectacular tribute to our freedom and independence.

Several popular local bands are performing during the event, but the highlight is FireHouse.

“This is going to be, from a radio standpoint, especially Wheelz 104.5, this is going to be an unbelievable summer of classic rock concerts,” says Stan Parman of Wheelz 104.5. “We are privileged enough to be part of six great shows and this is one the that’s going to kick it off for everyone.”

Earlier in the day, Rockin’ The River announced its summer 2023 line-up of concerts. Plans include bringing Rick Springfield, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Larry McCray, Riot V, Here Come the Mummies, 38 Special, Styx, and Gabby Barrett & Ashley McBryde to Wenonah Park in July and August.

It all begins, though, with the Fireworks Festival and FireHouse.

“FireHouse was very much a huge band in the ‘90s. They had multiple top 40 hits. Most of the original members are still touring, which is not something you see a lot these days in classic rock,” Parman says.

“One thing that’s going to make this show very exciting is ticket prices are extremely reasonable. VIP tickets are going to be $25 and general admission just $10 to get into this show,” Parman adds.

Before the concert, John Bellsmith, aka “Hairball John,” will host a pre-show tailgate party, dubbed “Fired Up for the ‘80s.” The pre-show party takes place under the Nickless Family Community Pavilion in Wenonah Park.

“It’s going to be a great night of ‘80s and early ‘90s music,” Bellsmith says.

For several years, Bellsmith and Bovia have discussed the popularity of 1980s music and how the festival could bring that energy to the event. With that in mind, Bovia says he hopes to make “Fired Up for the ‘80s,” a regular part of the annual festival.

“It really has that true ‘80s festival type of feel to it,” Bellsmith says. “It’s going to be a really exciting me and I’m proud to be part of it.”

More details are available on Facebook and the Bay City Fireworks Festival website.

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Read more articles by Kathy Roberts.

Kathy Roberts, a graduate of Central Michigan University, moved to Bay City in 1987 to start a career in the newspaper industry. She was a reporter and editor at the Bay City Times for 15 years before leaving to work at the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Covenant HealthCare, and Ohno Design. In 2019, she returned to her storytelling roots as the Managing Editor of Route Bay City. When she’s not editing or writing stories, you can find her reading books, knitting, or visiting the bars of Bay County. You can reach Kathy at