Thousands chill out in Detroit and have a (Winter) Blast
Clarissa Campbell looked like she was crying Sunday afternoon at Campus Martius, but she was still having a good time.
The tears streaming down the Detroit mom’s face were due to the windy weather and smoke coming from the fire pit she and her husband and kids were huddled around at downtown’s Meridian Winter Blast presented by Quicken Loans.
“This is a great event for the family,” Campbell said, taking a break from eating a s’more she had made by roasting her own marshmallows on a stick.
The brutally cold weather cut Winter Blast attendance for the three-day event by about half this year to between 35,000 to 40,000, said Jon Witz, the producer. Last year up, at least 75,000 people participated.
This year high temperatures in Detroit on Saturday was 15 degrees and Sunday’s high was 17 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Last year, temperatures were more than double, in the high 30s and 40s.
“We had great crowds despite the cold weather,” Witz said.
The skating rinks, zip line and sled hill had solid crowds, he said. And on the bright side: “For the first time in four years, the ice sculptures didn’t melt,” Witz said. Money raised will go to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint and Matrix Human Services.
Raychelle Robinson of Detroit brought five kids and said that it was worth the facing the chill “just to see their faces” coming down the 200-foot snow slide on the inflatable tubes.
While most of the revelers went with hot chocolate, a dozen brave souls had bought snow cones by late Sunday afternoon from one concession stand.
“They were kids,” said Sabrina Mercurio of Mercurio Food Specialties. “If they want it, they want it.”