DETROIT (January 27, 2016) – Detroit’s premier winter festival, Meridian Winter Blast presented by Quicken Loans, returns to Campus Martius Park for its 12th year, Friday, Feb. 12 through Sunday, Feb. 14, with its sights set on a making a positive impact for Flint children. The festival’s hours are Friday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sing, Skate and Slide for Flint, in partnership with The Community Foundation of Greater Flint, will feature a coordinated effort among 46 festival bands, festival patrons and partners to raise funds and awareness of the new Flint Child Health & Development Fund. Through donation and advocacy all individuals participating in Meridian Winter Blast will be supporting childhood development, nutrition and the future needs of children affected by tainted water in the City of Flint. Additionally, the festival will also continue its tradition of impacting metro Detroit children through festival admissions, which is either $2, three non-perishable food items or a children’s book, with the help of Matrix Human Services and volunteers from Talmer Bank.
Each band will donate 10 percent of their pay toward the Flint based fund, which will be matched by the Winter Blast Foundation. In addition to the music campaign there will be outreach to skaters throughout the weekend for additional support, and for true exhilaration, Talmer Bank will donate $1 to the Flint-based fund for everyone who travels down the snow slide. The Winter Blast “icing” on the cake is that Meridian Health Plan will match all dollars raised, up to $40,000.
“We are very grateful to the Meridian Winter Blast presented by Quicken Loans for their collaboration with our Flint Child Health & Development Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint,” said Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD MPH FAAP of Hurley Children’s Hospital/Michigan State University. “The support and awareness, especially Meridian Health Plan’s matching grant, will help ensure that the Flint children who are affected are afforded the numerous resources and interventions required to overcome their exposure to lead. We are grateful to the musicians and festival partners for all their help.”
“Meridian Winter Blast has a large audience and platform to make a difference,” said Jon Cotton, President of Meridian Health Plan, and we applaud the festival for taking this direction. We are excited to lead the campaign by matching the heartfelt donations of festival bands, guests and partners, and contribute directly to this critical outreach for children in the City of Flint.”
HEADLINING ATTRACTIONS RETURN
Returning to this year’s Meridian Winter Blast are two favorite attractions: the Meridian Snow Slide and the Bedrock Zip Line Adventure. Towering over 30-feet high, the Meridian Snow Slide continues its tradition as a festival favorite, thanks to the sponsorship of Meridian Health Plan. The slide’s three lanes will deliver an exhilarating, 200-foot long ride in seven seconds, making the Meridian Snow Slide once again a main attraction not to be missed.
The Bedrock Zip Line Adventure will return with the longest, fastest mobile zip line in Michigan and allows two thrill-seekers to zip simultaneously on two lines, 34 feet above the ground of Woodward Avenue in just 20 seconds.
“Winter Blast attracts tens of thousands of additional visitors to Detroit’s Campus Martius Park, which has already been booming with activity, even throughout the cold months” said Lisa Dancsok, Vice President of presenting sponsor Quicken Loans. “The festival’s entertainment options combine with all the other great attractions, restaurants and retail in the downtown core to make the area a winter wonderland destination for residents and visitors alike.”
WHO LET THE DOGS OUT
Siberian Husky dog sled exhibitions will be available for the first time since 2006. Two dog sled teams will bring the majestic animals to not only provide exhibitions but also to pose for interactive photos, which will be available for a $3 donation to the Flint Child Health & Development Fund.
Dog Sledding Exhibitions presented by US Park will offer a firsthand look at the challenging winter sport of dog sled racing with regularly scheduled demonstrations. Returning for their sixth appearance at the festival to lead presentations is professional sled dog racer and Michigan native Amanda Vogel, along with her Snomad Racing Sled Dogs.
SUPER HEROES IN ICE
The Dawn of Justice, along with regulars like the Spirit of Detroit, will be featured in this year’s Ice Garden presented by the DTE Energy Foundation, a collection of expertly crafted ice carvings. Life-sized versions of Batman and Superman will honor the highly anticipated Batman v Superman movie. Onsite carving demonstrations will take place during Friday festival hours.
FREE ADMISSION AND FUN FOR “BIGS” AND “LITTLES” Thanks to Talmer Bank:
Meridian Winter Blast presented by Quicken Loans will be providing additional community support by hosting a day of fun and free activities for more than 250 metro Detroit adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and the children they mentor (“Littles”). The Talmer Bank “Big and Little Blast” will include free admission, complimentary Meridian Snow Slide and Bedrock Zip line rides, free skate rentals and lunch from Happy’s Pizza.
OTHER MERIDIAN WINTER BLAST INTERACTIVE ACTIVITIES
Festival patrons can enjoy the only weekend of free ice-skating all year at Campus Martius Park for the entire festival weekend, courtesy of St. John Providence Health System. Synchronized skating exhibitions, presented by WH Canon, will also perform and entertain the crowds throughout the weekend.
The hockey competition is back! The Meridian Winter Blast challenges festivalgoers with a hockey shot competition presented Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC). Throughout the weekend, attendees will have a chance to shoot and score cool prizes from Great Expressions, Winter Blast and the Detroit Red Wings. The grand prizewinner will win a choice of a free set of Invisalign braces or a dental care package from GEDC valued at $5,000. The competition will take place on the ice rink at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.
Snowmaking returns to Meridian Winter Blast with special snow cannons from Shanty Creek Resort that will add to the festive winter environment. Sponsored by Meridian Health Plan, visitors can get up, get moving and get fit while snowshoeing in the festival’s winter wonderland of snow. Guests can grab a pair of free snowshoes – available in a variety of adults and children’s sizes – and step into winter fun with the entire family.
Fun and reading go hand-in-hand at Meridian Winter Blast in 2016! Meridian Winter Blast is reprising its popular Reading is a Blast, an engaging literacy activity supported by the General Motors Foundation. Twelve celebrity readers each will read a beloved book to families and festivalgoers assembled at the kids’ stage inside the Quicken Loans building lobby.
Warm up with your family at one of the many marshmallow-roasting stations situated throughout the festival sponsored by Metro PCS. 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 music lineup on the Michigan Lottery Stage Soaring Eagle Casino Stages and Quicken Loans Family Stage. 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 throughout the festival in the Comfort Zones and in the atrium of 1 Campus Martius, which all provide a warm and cozy environment for listening enjoyment.
Slated to perform are longtime favorites The Reefermen, Stone Clover and Orbitsuns, along with Detroit jazz legend Thornetta Davis. A number of first time bands will be performing, including The Tom Toms, Tart, SKYrise and Here We Harbour.
NEW MOTOR CITY FOOD OFFERINGS
New this year in celebration of Detroit’s food renaissance is the Meridian “Taste of Detroit” food tent. Outstanding metro Detroit restaurants and chefs will be providing enjoyable, quality food from LaDolce Vita, Red Crown, (revolver), Slow’s To Go, El Asador, El Barzon, Hudson Café, Andiamo Italia, Detroit Seafood Market and Famous Dave’s.
SPEND A 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, located just two blocks from the festival, at special discounted weekend rates of $159. 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. Festivalgoers must book by Feb. 3 to receive this rate.
Founded in 2005, as the backdrop of Super Bowl XL, the signature wintertime event debuted in January of that year to kick off the official countdown to Super Bowl XL in Detroit. This first time event attracted more than 200,000 people and featured a combination of hip and fun seasonal events that celebrated all things Detroit. The 2006 event was an even bigger hit, attracting nearly one million metro Detroiters and out-of-town guests during Super Bowl XL. Continuing as Detroit’s premier winter festival drawing tens of thousands every year, it has become an annual tradition reflecting the rebirth of the downtown area.
ADDITIONAL COMMUNITY COLLABORATION
It takes hundreds of volunteers to help make Meridian Winter Blast run smoothly, so we are please that the United Way of Southeastern Michigan will be hosting and sponsoring more than 200 general volunteers over the festival weekend in its Detroit offices overlooking Campus Martius Park.
Meridian Winter Blast could not happen without the generous support of its sponsors, which include Meridian Health Plan, Quicken Loans, Bedrock Real Estate Services, DEGC/Detroit DDA, Talmer Bank, Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, General Motors Foundation, Michigan Lottery, MetroPCS, Greektown Casino, St. John Providence Health System, Great Expressions, Great Lakes Beverage, Ilitch Holdings, Marketing Associates, Penske Corporation, Pepsi, Redico, DTE Energy, Motor City Casino, Westin Book Cadillac, Food Should Taste Good, US Park, Cricket Wireless, Buffalo Wild Wings, EJ Gallo and Made In Detroit.
Winter Blast is Detroit’s celebration of winter experiences, dining, music and family fun held in downtown Detroit’s Campus Martius Park from Friday, Feb. 12 through Sunday, Feb. 14. Originally created as the backdrop for Super Bowl XL, in its 12th year, the festival attracted more than 75,000 people last year. For additional information, visit http://www.winterblast.com or call (248) 541-7550.