DETROIT, Jan. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- It's time for another exciting opportunity for family fun as the ninth annual Motown Winter Blast kicks off at Campus Martius in downtown Detroit, Friday, Feb. 8 – Sunday, Feb. 10. This year, with its world headquarters in Campus Martius, Quicken Loans has taken on the presenting sponsor role for the downtown celebration. As metro Detroit's highest profile winter-themed event, festivalgoers will enjoy a lineup of 54 local bands, 14 restaurants, great fun with snow and ice, and three new activities.
This year, the lineup of activities has several original and exciting additions including Hockey Haven in the D, a Hockey Shot competition, the unveiling of the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan's Cookie Van and tours of the new University of Phoenix downtown location. Attendees also can sample great fare from 14 exceptional restaurants, including new participants Santorini Estriatorio and Gaucho Brazilian SteakHouse.
"The Winter Blast continues to grow each year and we're excited to have these new activities while still providing attendees their only chance to ice skate for free at the Campus Martius Park rink thanks to Charter One Bank," said Jonathan Witz, event producer. "So many good things are happening in Detroit; this event allows us to showcase all the positive sides of our city and give families a chance to spend some quality time together."
A diverse array of winter programming is on the schedule, including live entertainment, special interactive events and fan favorites, such as free snowshoeing, dogsledding and snowmaking. Supported by a mix of great food and hands-on activities, this year's winter celebration is sure to be something the family doesn't want to miss. Event hours are:
- Friday, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
- Saturday, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
- Sunday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
NEW THIS YEAR: HOCKEY HAVEN in the D
Hockey is back in Detroit, and festivalgoers will win big as it joins the Motown Winter Blast celebration. The Winter Blast is excited to announce a new partnership with the Detroit Red Wings and Olympia Entertainment that will bring fun, hockey-themed entertainment to this year's festivities. For the first time, the Detroit Red Wings will have a pair of interactive hockey games, including top shot, where fans will have a chance to win prizes.
"It is winter in Detroit, the Red Wings are back and we are honored to be a part of this great winter-themed event and provide hockey-themed activities for attendees," said Craig Turnbull, Olympia Entertainment's senior vice president of marketing and communications. "Our fans and the city are passionate about hockey and by supporting the Winter Blast, we're able to make it a memorable and action-packed event for everyone to enjoy."
The hockey activities don't stop there: the Winter Blast is challenging festivalgoers with a Hockey Shot competition, presented by Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC). Throughout the weekend, attendees will have a chance to shoot and score cool prizes from GEDC, the Winter Blast and Detroit Red Wings. The grand prize winner will get a choice of a free set of braces or a premium dental care kit from GEDC; two tickets to an upcoming Red Wings home game; and a weekend in Detroit package, courtesy of the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel. Each person who participates in the competition, taking place on the Campus Martius Park ice rink on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m., will receive a GEDC t-shirt and smile bag for all their mouth-care needs.
"We're thrilled to be part of this exciting event, and encourage Detroit area residents to come out to enjoy the downtown area. Through this competition, people of all ages will have a shot to win big and see their favorite Hockeytown players in action," said Richard Beckman, chief executive officer at Great Expressions Dental Centers.
Another newcomer to the festival and the downtown area is University of Phoenix. The new sponsor is celebrating the opening of its new learning center by offering facility tours each day of the event, at 2, 4 and 6 p.m. Festival patrons can sign up at University of Phoenix booth, located in the festival comfort zone tent on Woodward Avenue.
Also making their debut at the festival is the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan (GSSEM) which will debut its Cookie Van, a mobile cookie selling unit. In addition to the opportunity to purchase cookies from Feb. 8, which is National Girl Scout Cookie Day, through Feb. 10, attendees will have the chance to win Girl Scout cookies for a year.
And while free skating at the Campus Martius Park rink isn't new for the Winter Blast, this year the first 250 people who rent skates will not have to pay the $3 rental fee, courtesy of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Blue Care Network.
MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT LINEUP
The Motown Winter Blast brings another exciting lineup for festivalgoers as the 2013 event features a variety of genres, perfect to please anyone's musical tastes, at no cost to attend. On three different stages, attendees can hear the voices and sounds of music from more than 45 local, high-caliber musical acts, spanning genres such as country, rock, indie, blues, pop, acoustic, Americana, funk and soul. The stages are located in the Compuware Lobby and throughout the festival in the Comfort Zones, which provide a warm and cozy environment for enjoyment. New and repeat performers will be featured on Michigan Lottery Stage, FatHead Stage and Meijer Stage.
The Michigan Lottery Stage
Beginning on Friday, Cheyenne Goff kicks-off the weekend-long performances from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., as neo soul band Cartie Cool, R&B group, Sax Appeal, and electric band, The Strange, follow the indie singer. Larry Lee, voted 2006 Urban/Funk Musician of the Year by the Detroit Music Awards, will take to the stage at 9:30 p.m. to round-out Friday night's lineup.
Headlining on Saturday is Persuasion, one of metro Detroit's hottest party bands with high-energy music in a wide range of styles, from Motown, disco and Top 40 hits, to rock, funk and more. Local sensation T $ Green's Roadwork will make their second Winter Blast appearance, beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
On Sunday, White Shag, one of the city's favorite rock bands is headlining on the Michigan Lottery Stage to close out the festival with a bang beginning at 7:30 p.m. In addition, festivalgoers can hear some favorites from The Reefermen, Detroit's finest cover band best known for rocking out Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones, along with other infamous music acts, who will take to the stage from 4:30 – 5:45 p.m. Following the duo at 6 p.m., is three piece blues-rock band, The Muggs.
On Friday night, the Fathead Stage is set to get the party started with blues, rock sensation A Day's Ride at 4 p.m. Match by Match, a talented, acoustic, folk/rock and pop/punk band, plays from 6-7p.m. Friday night's performance ends on a high note, as Otto Vector headlines from 9:30 – 11 p.m. with Motown, techno and legendary rock music.
Saturday night features the Blue Collar Boys, an all-star cover band specializing in Detroit deep tracks and rock and roll favorites. From 8 – 9 p.m., Citizen Zero, a thoughtful and meaningful modern rock group that was labeled "Detroit's next great hard rock hope" by Detroit Rock Blog, takes the stage before the headline act, Free Beer. Free Beer is a classic rock band that is sure to get people moving and grooving.
Sunday evening brings some exciting musical talents as the young country group, Annabelle Road, takes the stage and fills the room with their rocking sound from 6 – 7:15 p.m., and local blues and rock musician Laith Al-Saadi headlines the evening from 7:30 – 9 p.m.
The Meijer Stage, located inside Compuware World Headquarters, has neo-soul singer, Britney Stoney, taking the stage from 8:15 – 9:30 p.m. on Friday, sending the audience good vibes and inviting grooves. Headlining that evening is troubadour extraordinaire, Jody Raffoul from 9:45 – 11 p.m.
On Saturday, the stage will be filled with traditional roots and Americana music as Jennifer Westwood and the Waycross Georgia Farmboys get down from 8:15-9:30 p.m. Finishing out the day at 9:45 p.m. is the irresistible singing voice of singer and songwriter Lindi Ortega.
There's plenty of entertainment for the festival's young attendees as well. Sponsored by the Detroit Medical Center, the Radio Disney AM 910 Road Crew will be on-site with interactive entertainment themed around the hit Disney Junior series "Doc McStuffins" including a stuffed animal and toy check-up station where kids can check their toys' height, reflexes and heartbeat. Additionally, kids and families are invited to play games such as "Bandage Me Up!," "Name That Doc McStuffins Character" and more.
In addition to these performances on the Meijer Stage, kids can enjoy some spectacular acts and high-energy performances, including some of the most amazing magic you've ever seen, along with some laughs from Randy; jokes, audience participation, and lots of giggle-inducing fun from Rosco the Clown; and Ventriloquist Vikki Gasko-Green who will have everyone in the family laughing with her colorful cast of characters.
And if the kids are looking for more adventure, they can visit the eight-ride kid carnival, courtesy of Elliott Amusements.
THE GREEKTOWN CASINO-HOTEL "TASTE OF DETROIT"
With all these activities, festivalgoers will need to refuel and keep their energy high. That's why the Motown Winter Blast is pleased to bring back a tasty treat with the Greektown Casino-Hotel "Taste of Detroit." Attendees can try an amazing array of culinary delights, featuring food and drinks from some of the city's treasured eateries and restaurants, including upscale Greek dining from Santorini Estriatorio; classic Brazilian steakhouse experiences from Gaucho Brazilian SteakHouse; elegant seafood dining from Detroit Seafood Market found in the heart of Detroit; and middle eastern with a flare from Mezza Grille. More participating establishments include: Keego Harbor Specialty Sausage Company, Palm Palace, Mercurio's Pizza, Almond Hut, Hot Diggity Dog/Trenton Concessions, State's Cheese Steaks, J jag Catering, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, TJ'S Coffee Café and Bear Claw Coffee.
RETURNING FAVORITE ACTIVITIES
A winter wonderland in the form of a street full of snow will once again be created at the festival, courtesy of the snow cannon from Huron-Clinton Metro Parks, allowing attendees to have fun and get active with activities including snow shoeing and dog sledding.
Sledracer and Michigan native, Amanda Vogel, and the Snomad Racing Sled Dogs return for their fourth appearance at Winter Blast. Originally from Bay City, Vogel has been training and racing sled dogs for nearly 10 years.
For attendees looking for some physical activity, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will offer free snowshoeing for the weekend. Snowshoes in adult and kid sizes will be available so festivalgoers can get moving and incorporate an element of fitness into their Winter Blast visit.
Once again, Winter Blast visitors can take advantage of their only opportunity to enjoy free ice skating at the Campus Martius Park rink courtesy of Charter One Bank. In addition, local professional and amateur figure skaters will be showcased as part of the Ice Skating Exhibitions. Synchronized ice-skating teams, up-and-coming couples, speed skating demonstrations and four distinct ice skating clubs, including the legendary Detroit Skating Club, will entertain the crowds throughout the weekend.
The beauty of winter will be on display as well beautifully carved and lighted ice sculptures on display in the Flagstar Bank Ice Garden. Attendees will see and have the opportunity to pose with a variety of unique carvings.
Three large tents and the Atrium and Compuware World Headquarters will keep patrons feeling nice and cozy as part of the Winter Blast's Comfort Zones, which can be found every 150 feet. In addition, patrons can seek heat in the First National Bank Building Lobby as well as the Fox Sports Lounge.
SPEND THE NIGHT IN THE CITY
With all of the excitement of Winter Blast festivities and after-festival activities, attendees will once again have the opportunity to "Spend the Night in the City" at Westin Book Cadillac Hotel Detroit with special discounted weekend rates as part of the Winter Blast. In addition to the convenience of a mini-vacation downtown and located only two blocks from the Winter Blast activities, the hotel indulges the senses with amenities such as contemporary rooms, flat screen TVs, guest room services, valet parking, indoor pool fitness center and spa. The Westin Book Cadillac Hotel is offering nightly stays for $129, including complimentary overnight valet parking for one car. Guests only need to present the official Winter Blast program at check-in to receive the special rate.
WINTER BLAST-OFF, S'MORES HAPPY HOUR
This year's event brings two new activities for families and community members to enjoy – the "Winter Blast-Off," thanks to support from the General Motors Foundation, and Flagstar Bank's "S'mores Happy Hour."
The "Winter Blast-Off" features three hands-on, imaginative science programs put on by Mad Science of Detroit, a Michigan-based organization that offers children's science programming throughout metro Detroit. The kid-tested, teacher-approved programs running on Friday evening and all day Saturday and Sunday will engage children in Winter-themed activities, including the Fire & Ice Show, science fun stations and science trivia.
The "S'mores Happy Hour," presented by Flagstar Bank, is a first-ever for the festival and will honor Campus Martius-area employees. On Friday of the festival, from 4:30-6 p.m., the first 3,000 registered area employees will receive a complimentary s'mores kit to make their own custom s'mores, celebrating those who work downtown.
HELP END THE CYCLE OF POVERTY
For the fourth consecutive year, the Motown Winter Blast brings "Breaking the ICE on the cycle of Poverty" program presented by Matrix Human Services, in partner with one of the festival's new sponsors, University of Phoenix. Volunteers from the nonprofit organization will collect children's books, nonperishable food items or monetary donations at festival gates as part of a special Motown Winter Blast "admission fee." All donated items will support those in need to fight hunger and promote literacy in metro Detroit.
Winter Blast is made possible thanks to the generous support from many corporate citizens, including American Laser Skincare, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Blue Care Network, Brown Forman, Charter One Bank, Compuware, DEGC/Detroit DDA, Detroit Medical Center, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Regional Chamber, DMC Children's Hospital of Michigan, Flagstar Bank, General Motors Foundation, Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan, Great Expressions Dental Centers, Great Lakes Beverage, Greektown Casino-Hotel, Honigman Miller, Huron-Clinton Metro Parks, Ilitch Holdings, Marketing Associates, Meijer, Meridian Health Plan, MetroPCS, Michigan Lottery, Pepsi, Quicken Loans, Strategic Staffing Solutions, University Of Phoenix, U.S. Park, Wayne County and Westin Book Cadillac.
All weekend entertainment schedules and additional information can be found online at www.winterblast.com. Motown Winter Blast is produced by Jonathan Witz, president of Jonathan Witz & Associates.
About Winter Blast
Winter Blast is Detroit's celebration of winter experiences, dining, music and family fun to be held in downtown Detroit's Campus Martius from Friday, February 8 - Sunday, February 10. The three-day festival will be open from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Sunday. Originally created as the backdrop for Super Bowl XL, the festival attracted more than 75,000 people last year. For additional public information, visit www.winterblast.com or call (313) 963-8418.
SOURCE Motown Winter Blast