DETROIT -

Meridian Health Plan joins the downtown Detroit winter fun as Title Sponsor for Detroit’s Winter Blast for the next three years. Jonathan Witz, Winter Blast's event producer, announced Wednesday that the region's largest winter festival would now be known as the Meridian Winter Blast presented by Quicken Loans. The newly named festival kicks off at Campus Martius in downtown Detroit on Friday, Feb. 7 - Sunday, Feb. 9.

Meridian Health Plan is located in the Kennedy Square Building in downtown Detroit, with an office overlooking the site of the festival venue. Meridian is Michigan’s largest Medicaid HMO, providing health care to over 290,000 Medicaid enrollees through a contract with the Michigan Department of Community Health.

"We are proud to be a part of this wonderful winter tradition in Detroit that brings families to the city for three days of entertainment and outdoor activity," said Jon Cotton, President and COO of Meridian Health Plan. "There are many great things happening in the city of Detroit, and we’re glad to be a part of the growth of this city and festival."

Winter Blast is pleased to welcome back Quicken Loans as the presenting sponsor for the festival. Quicken Loans, known for its many contributions to the growth of Detroit, also has contributed a lot over the years to the success of Winter Blast. The Downtown Detroit Development Authority, Flagstar Bank and the Michigan Lottery also will return to Winter Blast as major sponsors.

Winter Blast's coveted attraction is also returning this year and will be as exciting as ever, thanks to Buick. The Buick Snow Slide will tower 30 ft. in the air and feature three lanes traveling 200 ft. in seven seconds, offering a thrill for all ages. Buick regularly makes a difference in our community. The Buick Achievers Scholarship Program, funded by the GM Foundation, in 2014 will award 100 college-bound students who make a difference in the classroom and the community, a renewable scholarship of up to $25,000 per year to study science, technology, engineering, math and other fields related to the automotive industry.

"Each year we receive a great deal of support from a variety of corporate sponsors," said Jon Witz, event producer "We are grateful for each of our sponsors who make it possible to bring back popular attractions, such as the Buick Snow Slide."

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 festival-goers include a Fire & Ice Show and hands-on science fun stations with slime, a color changing lab, bubbling potions and science trivia.

As in previous years, Meridian Winter Blast is the only weekend during which ice skating at Campus Martius is free. Other festival activities will include The Flagstar Bank Ice Garden, marshmallow roasting, delicious hot chocolate, live musical entertainment, heated tents and dog sledding.

Admission to the 2014 Meridian Winter Blast presented by Quicken Loans is $2 to support Matrix Human Services, or a donation of three canned goods/non-perishable items or a children’s book to support those in need in Metro Detroit.

Meridian 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. For additional public information, visit www.winterblast.com or call (313) 963-8418.