Meridian Winter Blast returns to downtown Detroit Feb. 6-8

Winter festival in Campus Martius Park to feature Snow Slide, zip lining, free hot chocolate


DETROIT – The Meridian Winter Blast presented by Quicken Loans returns to Campus Martius Park, Friday, Feb. 6, through Sunday, Feb. 8.

The Snow Slide returns courtesy of Meridian Health Plan and the Bedrock Zip Line Adventure makes its debut on Woodward Avenue, putting the thrill into the downtown winter chill at the 11th annual festival.

Towering more than 30 feet high, the Meridian Snow Slide will continue its tradition as a festival favorite thanks to the sponsorship of Meridian Health Plan. The slide has three lanes delivering a 200 foot ride in seven seconds.

"The Snow Slide has always been such a big part of Winter Blast and we're pleased to be able to make the return of this family favorite a reality," said Jon Cotton, President and Chief Operating Officer of Meridian Health Plan.

Meridian Winter Blast will also launch the Bedrock Zip Line Adventure in 2015, providing daredevil festivalgoers the coolest 20 seconds of their lives with the first zip line ever in downtown Detroit. Thrill-seekers will be lining up to experience the ultimate rush of flying 300 feet across the sky -- the length of a football field.

This new festival feature is the longest, fastest mobile zip line available and allows two people to zip simultaneously on two lines 34 feet in the air.  

"The Bedrock Zip Line is an exciting new addition to the Winter Blast, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors to the city's urban core each year," said Bill Emerson, CEO of presenting sponsor Quicken Loans. "Whether its zip lining, ice skating, dining or shopping, there is something for the entire family in the city during this festival weekend."

Guests will also enjoy marshmallow roasting, a weekend of free ice skating, a variety of food choices, live music and plenty of other "cool" winter activities.

Meridian Winter Blast hours are Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m.to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Free coffee, hot chocolate

All festivalgoers will be able to get something for free courtesy of Meridian Winter Blast's new event partner as they "Warm Up with Tim Hortons." 

Complimentary hot chocolate and regular coffee sampling will take place each afternoon, with hot chocolate served for free at noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., and coffee on the odd hours of 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. 

More than 2,500 free cups of warm beverages will be available each hour on a first-come, first-served basis inside of two Tim Hortons Comfort Zones.  

Each guest will receive a guaranteed-to-win RRRoll Up The Rim To Win cup when exiting the festival. RRRoll Up The Rim To Win runs at Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop restaurants across the United States starting Feb. 2 and will run throughout the month, or until cup supplies last. Prizes include coffee, cars, gift cards and more.

Finding warmth will be no problem at the festival with Tim Hortons Comfort Zones providing heat every 150 feet along with a variety of cuisine, music and kids' activities. These respites insulated from the winter chill will include the Compuware Building Atrium and large tents on Monroe Street and Cadillac Square that both feature great food and live music.

Kids stage & science program

All family fun and activities will unfold inside the Compuware lobby. New this year is the science-themed "Winter Fun Lab" presented by the General Motors Foundation. Organized by Meridian Winter Blast and The Michigan Science Center, activities will include "Frostology," LIVE dramatic demonstrations on the Kids Stage of how different materials react to extremely low temperatures; hands-on activity stations with slime; science of sound; static electricity demonstrations; and more, with giveaway offers including family four-packs to the Michigan Science Center.

Flagstar Bank Spirit of Detroit contest

Flagstar Bank is providing a brand new opportunity to win some downtown winter fun with the Spirit of Detroit Contest. One lucky winner will receive a prize package of Detroit delights including a two-night stay at the Westin Book Cadillac, four tickets to see a Detroit Red Wings regular season home game, a dinner certificate for four at Santorini and Fountain Bistro and a party for 20 at Bookies Bar & Grille. 

Contestants can enter online at www.winterblast.com or in person during the Meridian Winter Blast at any of the festival information booths.

Rules and information are available at www.winterblast.com

Free skating, live skating demos

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.

Attendees can also watch live skating demos at the Skating Exhibitions presented by WH Canon from synchronized ice-skating teams to up-and-coming couples.

Five distinct ice skating clubs, including the legendary Detroit Skating Club, will perform and entertain crowds at Campus Martius Park throughout the entire weekend. The hockey competition is back: the Meridian Winter Blast is once again challenging festivalgoers with a Hockey Shot competition, presented by Great Expressions Dental Centers.

Throughout the weekend, attendees will have a chance to shoot and score cool prizes from Great Expressions, the Meridian Winter Blast and Detroit Red Wings. The grand prize winner will get a choice of a free set of braces or a dental care package from Great Expressions Dental Centers valued at $5000. Each person who participates in the competition, taking place on the ice rink on Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m., will receive a GEDC t-shirt and smile bag for all their mouth-care needs.

Other interactive activities

  • The Flagstar Bank Ice Garden will once again present a variety of expertly crafted and lighted ice sculptures including a large rendition of "The Spirit of Detroit" statue, always a crowd favorite. On-site ice carving demonstrations will take place during festival hours on Friday. Patrons can also visit the iced Eskimo family exhibit as well as take pictures posing in any of the four open faces. Also, interactive and great for photos will be ice chairs and an ice bar. Among many of the one-of-a-kind sculptures on display will be wildlife and aquatic scenes, as well as hockey players sculpted in honor of the Detroit Red Wings.
  • Snowmaking also returns to Meridian Winter Blast with special snow cannons from Shanty Creek Resort and Huron-Clinton Metroparks 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.
  • Dog Sledding Exhibitions presented by US Park will once again give a firsthand look at the challenging winter sport of dog sled racing with scheduled demonstrations. Presentations will be led by professional sled dog racer and Michigan native Amanda Vogel and her Snomad Racing Sled Dogs, making their sixth appearance at the festival. With more than 10 years training and racing sled dogs, Vogel is one of the top competitors in mid-distance sled dog racing in the lower 48. The Snomad Racing Sled Dogs travel throughout the U.S. and Canada to compete against other teams and will be participating in the upcoming UP200 Sled Dog Race on Feb. 12 in Marquette, Michigan. 
  • Warm up with your family at one of the many roasting stations situated throughout the festival.  For a toasty treat, marshmallow and s'more kits will be available for purchase. 

Music and entertainment

Meridian Winter Blast is pleased to announce its best ever music lineup on three different stages. The voices and beat of music from many genres, including country, rock, blues, pop,

acoustic, Americana, funk and soul, will resonate from three stages located in the Compuware Lobby and throughout the festival in the Tim Hortons Comfort Zones, which provide a warm and cozy environment for listening enjoyment.

Popular bands slated to perform are The Reefermen, Stone Clover, and Orbitsuns along with Detroit jazz legend Thornetta Davis. Also scheduled to take the stage is the Pop R&B group Hot Sauce, high energy band Persuasion, Ska band 1592, and many others.

Food and drinks

A wide variety of tummy-warming foods and thirst-quenching drinks will be featured from local restaurants, eateries and caterers at locations throughout the Meridian Winter Blast grounds.

New to the lineup this year will be: The Whitney, famous for its contemporary tastes and award-winning cuisine; and Detroit Seafood Market, known for its seafood delicacies and more. Other newcomers include Golden Fleece, Andiamo Italia/Ren Cen and Mystic Kettle. Returning eateries include: Mercurio Foods, Jackson's Five Star Catering, The Almond Hut, Bed Rock Turkey Legs and more.


'Spend the Night in the City'

With all of the excitement of Meridian 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 Meridian Winter Blast, discounted weekend rates. Located just two blocks from all the Meridian 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 $149 and include complimentary overnight valet parking for one car.  Festivalgoers must book by January 31, 2015 to receive this special rate.


Admission and charity

For the sixth consecutive year, Meridian Winter Blast has teamed with Matrix Human Services to help those in need during the winter.

Admission to the 2015 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.