DETROIT (WWJ) – Downtown Detroit’s annual winter festival will return in 2014, with a new name.
Organizers announced Wednesday that Meridian Health Plan, Michigan’s largest Medicaid HMO, has signed on as title sponsor for Detroit’s Winter Blast, bringing some much-needed financial support for the next three years.
The Feb. 7-9 festival in downtown’s Campus Martius will be known as the Meridian Winter Blast presented by Quicken Loans. The Downtown Detroit Development Authority, Flagstar Bank and the Michigan Lottery also are returning to Winter Blast as major sponsors.
Probably the most talked about attraction, the massive snow slide, will be back. Sponsored by Buick, the slide will be 30 feet high, 200-feet long, and feature 2,000 tons of snow.
Winter Blast started in 2005 as a practice run for Super Bowl XL in 2006. Since then, it’s returned each year. in 2013, the festival drew 75,000 people.
Event organizer Jonathan Witz told says there was a push to bring back the event.
“In 2005 and 2006, one of the goals of the festival was to create the populated atmosphere of patrons and businesses that major downtowns had, and that Detroit was lacking,” Witz told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Marie Osborne. “As I stay here in 2014, one can easily see that Detroit’s downtown is no longer lacking the energy, excitement and population.”
Buick’s David Koziara agrees the festival has played a vital part in downtown’s comeback.
“The more people that we can get downtown and see the revitalization that’s been going on down there the last couple years … You know, people see it on TV, but we need to get them down here and have them experience it, because that’s really the best part,” he said.
Get more event information HERE.