Winter Blast prepares to entertain downtown visitors Feb. 7-9

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit’s Winter Blast will return to a single weekend format this year, drawing festivalgoers downtown Feb. 7-9 for winter fun activities, musical acts and a food truck lineup. 

“With the auto show moving to June this year having Winter Blast to one weekend with a full lineup of programming certainly means Detroit will have a major signature winter event to celebrate,” Jon Witz, festival producer, said Tuesday during a press conference inside the Cadillac Lodge near Campus Martius Park. 

In its 15th year, the free family-friendly event known as Quicken Loans Winter Blast Weekend Presented by Soaring Eagle will feature festival traditions including ice carving demonstrations, the winter slide and skating at the Frankenmuth Rink. The event is the only time skating is free on the rink. 

Eric Scott Baker of Detroit spins lighted s-staffs behind a Fire and Ice Tower. Baker is a performer with the Detroit Circus.

Musical performances are also an event staple. This year's headliners are Larry Lee & The Back in the Day Bank, Alise King and The Persuasion Band.

A new partner for the event this year is Mt. Brighton, which will transform a lot at Cadillac Square into a ski hill with its state-of-the-art snow making system, said Beth Lohman, general manager of Mt. Brighton. 

"We'll be offering complimentary 15-minute lessons with gear included," she said. "Ages 7 and up are welcome to participate. No experience necessary." 

Mt. Brighton ski instructor Marie Mann, left, of Ann Arbor cooks marshmallows with other instructors and executives outside the Cadillac Lodge after a press conference. Mt. Brighton, a new festival sponsor, will offer ski and snowboard lessons.

Also new this year is a community outreach component as 600 residents of the Grandmont Rosedale community will be invited for an early festival preview Saturday through the event's partnership with TCF Bank.

"They'll get free food, free skating, free sliding," said Latrice McClendon, vice president and director of corporate community relations for TCF Bank. "This was something that was an initiative... It's holding accountable organizations that come downtown to include the neighborhood and become inclusive." 

TCF Bank is also donating exhibit space to three small businesses from the Grandmont Rosedale community. One of those businesses is Crummies Sweets and Treats owned by husband and wife team Mark and Charlita Knox. The two combined their baking and retail skills to open a business they operate from a commercial kitchen at the North Rosedale Park Community House.

"I want to have a lot of fun," Mark Knox said of the exhibit opportunity. "I want to meet a lot of people. I want to get our name out there and network with a lot of people. Have fun and get some sales."


Michigan Lottery Stage

Friday, Feb. 7

6:30-7:30 p.m. Leaving Lifted (Reggae/Rock)

8-9:15 p.m. Ben Sharkey (Jazz/Pop)

9:45-11 p.m. Larry Lee & The Back In The Day Band (Funk/Soul)

Saturday, Feb. 8

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Soul Pepper (Blues/Rock)

1-2 p.m. KLR & The Saints (Acoustic/Pop)

2:30-3:30 p.m. The Fernwoods (Alternative)

4-5 p.m. Adam Plomaritas (Rock/Soul)

5:30-6:30 p.m. Raye Williams (Country/R&B)

7-8 p.m. Cast-Iron Cornbread (Country/Rock)

8:30-9:30 p.m. Daylight Sinners (Rock/Classic Rock)

10-11 p.m. Alise King (R&B/Soul)

Sunday, Feb. 9

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Nick Juno (Folk Rock)

1-2 p.m. Sara Marie Baron (Soul/Pop)

2:30-3:30 p.m. Lucy’s Brown Seville (Blues/Soul)

4-5 p.m. Alan Turner (Country/Rock)

5:30-6:30 p.m. Laura Rain & The Caesars (R&B/Soul)

7-8 p.m. The Persuasion Band (Cover Band/Top 40)

TCF Bank Music Stage

Friday, Feb. 7

5-7 p.m. DJ Head (Rhythmic)

7-9 p.m. DJ Seoul & T.Linder from Detroit Techno Militia (Techno/Electronic/House)

7-11 p.m. Motor City Dance Academy (Street Dance)

9-11 p.m. Movement Presents Mister Joshooa (Techno/House)

Saturday, Feb. 8

11- 1:45 a.m. Jason Hudy: Mesmerizing Magic

12- 2:45 p.m. Michigan Science Center

1-1:45 p.m. The Fairy Godmother of Music (Kids Music)

2:30-3:15 p.m. Detroit Circus

4-4:45 p.m. Michigan Science Center

5-6 p.m. The Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music – Acoustic Showcase

6:15-7:15 p.m. Taneen (Pop/R&B)

7:30 - 9 p.m. Amp Fiddler (Funk/Soul)

8-11 p.m. Motor City Dance Academy (Street Dance)

9-11 p.m. Movement Presents Andrea Ghita (Techno/House)

Sunday, Feb. 9

11-11:45 a.m. Jason Hudy: Mesmerizing Magic

12-12:45 p.m. Michigan Science Center

1-1:45 p.m. The Fairy Godmother of Music

2:30-3:15 p.m. Detroit Circus

4-4:45 p.m. Michigan Science Center

5-6 p.m. The Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music – Acoustic Showcase

6-8 p.m. Dueling Pianos International

Food truck rally participants 

A Taste of Nawlins

Baked Delicious

Big Mike’s Mexican Trailer

Mr. Deep Fried

Chick-A-Dee Fried Chicken

Crepe De Twah-Sweet & Savory Crepes

Detroit Panzerotti

Imperial Ferndale

Mercurio Foods Elephant Ear

Mercurio Foods Grab

Mercurio Foods Popper

Niko's Gyros

Soaring Eagle Cuisine Machine

The Lobster Truck