Frigid temps won't stop Metro Detroit NYE events

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Organizers of three New Year's Eve events expected to draw tens of thousands of Metro Detroit revelers said Sunday the show will go on as 2017 gives way to 2018. With a forecast of frigid temperatures, they offered advice to party-goers: dress warm.

Organizers of two events that could draw tens of thousands of revelers each said Sunday that the show will go on, despite the forecasted frigid weather, and offered advice to party-goers: dress warm.

By the time the ball drops in Metro Detroit on Sunday night, wind chills could make it feel like it's -10 degrees outside, said Trent Frey, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

The cold is due to an "arctic air mass" that's been parked over the area for the last week and could stay another, with temperatures not expected to break 20 degrees again until next Sunday -- a week into 2018.

After midnight, wind chills could drop to -17 degrees, before rebounding to a high of 9 degrees Monday. No snow is expected either day.

Brutal weather has iced plans for scores of events in the Northeast from New Year’s Eve through New Year’s Day, but not in New York City, where people will start gathering in Times Square up to nine hours before the famous ball drop.

Security plans set for Detroit's New Year's festivities

The cold won't cancel the revelry planned for Metro Detroit, organizers say. The events  — The D-Drop at Beacon Park in downtown Detroit, the Rockin' NYE Ball Drop in Wyandotte, and the Mount Clemens New Year's Eve Fireworks Gala — plan to fight cold with heated tents, fire pits and hot beverages. 

Cold or not, things have changed for the better in Detroit on the social front on New Year's Eve, said Regina Stocco, owner of The Social Connection, which is putting on The Drop this year.

"10 years ago, I threw my first Resolution Ball at the Fillmore, and it was the only thing going on downtown except a Red Wings game," recalled Stocco, organizer of The Drop: Motor City NYE. "We came out of there at the end of the night and half the streetlights were out. Everything was dark. The Gem, the Fox. Nothing was happening."

Last year, some 35,000 people came out to Campus Martius for New Year festivities, Stocco said, and some 20,000 are expected this year. Guests will come in from Germany, Arizona, California and elsewhere. 

Detroit’s New Year’s Eve ‘D Drop’ heads to Beacon Park


In 2001, Stocco was putting on small, restaurant-based events in Royal Oak on New Year's Eve. Now she's organizing events in both Detroit and Grand Rapids, with locations beyond Michigan planned for 2018. 

This year, there will be two heated tents, both 10,000-square-feet, at Beacon Park. An event for children from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., will include karaoke, face-painting, and an early ball drop, at 6:30. 

Former Motown artist and Detroit City Councilwoman Martha Reeves, meanwhile, will headline the main stage. 

In addition to the fire pits and heated tents, Stocco advised revelers to dress for the weather.

"People need to wear layers. Wool socks. Nice thick gloves. Definitely ear muffs. Really just bundle up," Stocco said. "There are definitely clothes warm enough for these occasions, people just need to be smart about it."

Another piece of advice: park nearby and warm up in your car before walking over.

Downriver in Wyandotte, Julie Law, organizer of the Rockin' NYE event is expecting similar numbers to the 10,000 to 12,000 guests of last year's event. 

Like Stocco, who called talk of cancellation "a four-letter word," Law said "the show will absolutely go on" no matter the weather. 

The event will feature two heated tents: one 3,200 square-foot tent will be for family-friendly events, until the 9 p.m. ball drop for children. And a 7,000 square foot tent will be for guests 21 and older. 

"We’ve been out here for two days setting up, and we’re all still alive," Law said Sunday morning. "Just make sure you layer. I also recommend hand and foot warmers."

If the heated tents and the body heat from fellow partiers isn't enough to keep warm, hot beverages including apple cider and spiked apple cider should help, Law said. The social media response to the event indicates people will brave the cold and come out anyway, she said.

"Everybody on social media has been really excited, and they keep sharing the event," Law said. "I don’t think the cold will stop anybody."

In Mount Clemens,  between 5,000 and 10,000 guests are expected for the fireworks, said Michelle Weiss, marketing coordinator for the city's downtown development authority. 

The city's celebration is a bit different than the others, in that 85 percent of it takes place indoors, Weiss said. People who want to ring in the new year will typically step out from downtown bars and restaurants at about 10:30, 10:45 p.m., she said.

Weiss said she felt some of the strong winds on Saturday when she covered metered parking spaces for the event. She advised guests to bundle up, even if they will spend most of the night at the event indoors.

"This is not about fashion, it's about keeping warm," she said, noting that Michiganians know the drill when temperatures drop in the winter. 

Like the other events, Mount Clemens will have an earlier ball drop for youth, and spectacles to keep their attention, such as magic shows, a petting zoo and pony rides on a pony that will be made to look like a unicorn.

"We don't cancel for anything but lightning," Weiss said. "I think people will come out ready to have a great time."