Touting 10 years as Detroit’s premier winter festival, this year’s Meridian Winter Blast presented by Quicken Loans pulls out all the stops with an exciting entertainment lineup, delicious cuisine and plenty of signature winter activities, held at Campus Martius in downtown Detroit, Friday, Feb. 7 – Sunday, Feb. 9. Returning is the three-lane Buick Snow Slidetowering more than 30 ft. high and 200 ft. wide long and delivering a thrilling seven seconds of fun.
“This event has become a winter tradition and one that families look forward to year after year. Once again, our guests throughout the metro area and other visitors will experience a mixture of delightful winter activities and leave with warm feelings about the city,” said Jon Witz, founder and event organizer. “We are proud to be in our 10th year and reach this milestone. We are most excited that the popular Snow Slide is returning thanks to the generous support of Buick, which has stepped forward in a tremendous way. We’re looking forward to the added attendance and interest it will bring to the festival.”
The Meridian Winter Blast will offer a variety of winter fun for all ages, including live entertainment, interactive activities, supported by a great mix of food and family-centered amusement. This year’s Meridian Winter Blast event hours are: Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
MERIDIAN WINTER BLAST INTERACTIVE ACTIVITIES
It’s all fun and games at the Meridian Winter Blast – free fun! Festival patrons can ice skate for free at Campus Martius Park for the entire festival weekend courtesy of St. John Providence Health System. Once again, Winter Blast is the only weekend all year long when visitors can skate for FREE. Attendees can also watch live skating demos at the Quicken Loans Ice Skating Exhibitions from synchronized ice-skating teams to up-and-coming couples and even speed skating demonstrations, four distinct ice skating clubs, including the legendary Detroit Skating Club and Great Expressions Hockey Shot Competition, will perform and entertain crowds at Campus Martius Park throughout the entire weekend.
“We’re thrilled to be bringing the popular hockey shootout competition back to Winter Blast this year,” said Richard Beckman, CEO of Great Expressions Dental Centers. “It’s a great event the entire family can participate in. Also, it gives them the opportunity to win $5,000 to put toward cosmetic dentistry or orthodontic services they may need and otherwise couldn’t afford.”
The Flagstar Bank Ice Garden will present a variety of expert crafted and lighted ice sculptures that festivalgoers can take photos sitting on one of the beautifully designed seats. Patrons also can visit the iced Eskimo family exhibit and take pictures posing in any of the four open faces. Among many of the one-of-a-kind sculptures on display will be wildlife and aquatic scenes, as well as characters from the upcoming “Lego” Movie!
Snowmaking also returns to Winter Blast with special snow cannons from Shanty Creek Resort that will add to the festive, winter environment already in place due to this season’s snowfall. There will be plenty of snow created to ensure Snowshoeing and Dogsledding Exhibitions will again be a part of the fun. Sponsored by Meridian Health Plan, guests will enjoy Snowshoeing and can grab a pair of snowshoes and step into winter fun with the entire family at no charge. Snowshoes are available in a variety of sizes for both adults and children. Visitors will be able to get up, get moving and get fit in the festival’s winter wonderland of snow.
Returning this year to lead the dog sled exhibitions will be Amanda Vogel, sled racer and Michigan native. She and the Snomad Racing Sled Dogs will give festivalgoers an authentic winter experience. Originally from Bay City, Vogel has been training and racing sled dogs for nearly 10 years and is excited for the opportunity to make her fifth appearance at the festival. The Snomad Racing Sled Dogs travel the U.S. and Canada to race other teams and to enjoy the various trails, towns and terrain.
Afterpurchasing a reasonably priced marshmallow or s’more kit, the entire family can huddle around one of the many roasting stations positioned throughout the festival. Attendees also can find heated tents every 150 feet when they head over to the Comfort Zones powered by Corrigan Propane. While burning calories partaking in the winter activities, stay warm with a variety of cuisine, music and kids activities inside one of the Comfort Zones.
MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT
Meridian Winter Blast is pleased to announce its best ever music lineup on four different stages. The voices and beat of music from many genres, including country, rock, blues, pop, acoustic, Americana, funk and soul, will resonate from four stages located in the Compuware Lobby and throughout the festival in the Comfort Zones, which provide a warm and cozy environment for listening enjoyment.
Popular bands slated to perform are Killer Flamingos, The Reefermen and Kaleido, along with Detroit jazz legend Thornetta Davis. Also scheduled to take the stage is pop R&B group Hot Sauce, Caribbean band Roots Vibrations, and many others.
The party continues on both Friday and Saturday nights on the stage in the Cadillac Square Tent from 9-11 p.m., as Movement Electronic Music Festival presents DJ Ryan Richards and DJ Shawn Michaels.
GREEKTOWN CASINO TASTE OF DETROIT
Featured will be a wide variety of foods and drinks from favorite restaurants, eateries and caterers to warm up and satisfy everyone’s taste buds. New to the line up this year will be: Bagger Dave’s, famous for its artisan style burgers and fresh-cut potato fries; Prime 29 Steakhouse, an award winning restaurant that will offer an assortment of fine dining cuisine; and Oye Crepe, known for its flavorful crepes, will offer its French cuisine with an American twist. Other restaurants returning are: Santorini Estiatorio, famous for its freshly prepared Greek inspired fare; Gaucho Brazilian Steakhouse; Jackson’s Five Star Catering; Olga’s Kitchen; LaFeast; Bearclaw Coffee Co. and several more.
SPEND A NIGHT IN THE CITY
With all of the excitement of Winter Blast festivities, why go home? Organizers are offering festival patrons the opportunity to “Spend the Night in the City” at Westin Book Cadillac Hotel Detroit at special Winter Blast, discounted weekend rates. Located just two blocks from all the Winter Blast excitement; the iconic Westin Book Cadillac provides a warm and refreshing retreat after a long day of festivities. In addition to the convenience of a mini-vacation downtown, the hotel indulges the senses with amenities such as contemporary rooms, flat screen TVs, guest room services, valet parking, indoor pool fitness center and spa. The Westin Book Cadillac Hotel stays are $139 and include complimentary overnight valet parking for one car. Festivalgoers must book by January 31, 2014 to receive this special rate.
MEIJER STAGE, WINTER BLAST OFF AND MORE FOR THE KIDS
All family fun and activities will unfold on the Meijer Stage inside the Compuware Lobby. Radio Disney Detroit, part of the No. 1 radio network for kids, tweens and families, joins the fun with Children’s Hospital of Michigan, part of the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) from 12 – 3 p.m. February 8 and 9. The Radio Disney Junior Road Crew will be on-site with interactive entertainment themes around the hit Disney Junior series "Doc McStuffins," including a stuffed animal and toy check-up station where kids can check their toys' height, reflexes and heart beat. Additionally, kids and families are invited to play games such as "Name That Disney Junior Song," "Name That Doc McStuffins Character" and more.
Returning is the Winter Blast Off, presented by the GM Foundation. The science-themed program has expanded and will be located in the Cadillac Square Tent in Campus Martius Park. Organized by Meridian Winter Blast and Michigan Vendor Mad Science, activities that will be offered to festivalgoers include a Fire & Ice Show and hands-on science fun stations with slime, a color-changing lab, bubbling potions and science trivia.
FESTIVAL ADMISSION AND CHARITABLE GIVING
For the fifth consecutive year, Winter Blast has teamed with Matrix Human Services to help those in need during the winter. Admission to the 2014 Meridian Winter Blast is $2, three canned goods/non-perishable items or a children’s book, which will go toward helping to fight hunger in metro Detroit and continue the festival’s commitment to fostering literacy.
The return of Winter Blast is made possible with the generous support of many corporate citizens, including Airea, Allied Marketing, American Laser Skincare, Buick, Compuware, DEGC, Detroit DDA, Detroit Medical Center, Flagstar Bank, General Motors Foundation, Girl Scouts, Great Lakes Beverage, Great Expressions, GalaxE.Solutions, Greektown Casino & Hotel, Honigman Miller, Huron-Clinton Metroparks, Ilitch Holdings, M-1 Studios, Made in Detroit, Marketing Associates, Meijer, Meridian Health Plan, MetroPCS, Michigan Lottery, Olga's Kitchen, Pepsi, Quicken Loans, Redico, Shanty Creek, St. John Providence Health System, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, University of Phoenix, Urbane Media, Westin Book Cadillac and many more.
Winter Blast is Detroit’s celebration of winter experiences, dining, music and family fun to be held in downtown Detroit’s Campus Martius from, Friday, Feb. 7 - Sunday, Feb. 9. Originally created as the backdrop for Super Bowl XL, the festival attracted more than 75,000 people last year. Festivals hours areFriday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.For additional public information, visit www.winterblast.com or call (313) 963-8418.