Detroit — Even with a winter of being pummeled by snow, Metro Detroiters came out in droves Saturday to celebrate the cold weather at 10th annual Meridian Winter Blast downtown.
The annual event, presented by Quicken Loans, floods Campus Martius each year with events ranging from free snowshoeing and ice skating to dog sledding exhibitions and live music.
Detroiter Sirbina Thomas brought hid three children out because “my daughter saw it on TV and she wanted to experience it.” They were roasting marshmallow while a chilled Thomas warmed up by the fire pit.
“With the kids, I think their blood is a little thicker than mine,” he said.
Temperatures hovered around 14 degrees in the early afternoon, with windchills pushing that below zero. But it didn’t stop hundreds from enjoying the ice sculpture gallery, the carnival rides and games and the ice skating at the rink at Campus Martius.
Mary Catherine Jiroux of Plymouth attended Winter Blast with her family. It was their first time at the downtown Detroit festival, an opportunity to embrace the cold and snow.
“You gotta get out,” she said. “Our daughter plays hockey so she was glad to get outside and skate.”
Aside from the skating, the biggest draw was the Buick Snow Slide, a crowd favorite that returned after a two-year absence. The slide towers more than 30 feet high, with three lanes stretching 200 feet.
“I’m so afraid of heights, but I did it,” a triumphant John Ploskonka of Ferndale said after he slipped and slid his way down the massive ice slide.
“We’ve given up on trying to get warm and came out here to have a little fun.”
The Winter Blast runs 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. today and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. The cost of admission is $2, three canned food items or one children’s book.
Everything collected for admission will be donated to Matrix Human Services.