DETROIT – Organizers of the 2018 Meridian Winter Blast announced that a projected 100,000 people came to downtown Detroit to enjoy the winter festival, which is up over 10 percent from 2017 and the highest in the past ten years. This includes 19,000 people from the North American International Auto Show, who received free admission to the festival.
Charity donations to Matrix Human Services at Chemical Bank locations, along with those collected at the festival reached 17,500 pounds of food that will be distributed to the local community this winter.
“I am thrilled with how this year’s festival went, especially due to the warmer weather,” said Jon Witz, festival producer. “Our partners help make this possible, and I want to give them a big thanks for all that they do. We brought thousands of people into the city to experience the downtown’s continued transformation and make cherished memories.”
The new additions to the festival were big hits with children and adults, including the City Slopes presented by Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands, which attracted nearly 2,000 participants who had the opportunity to learn how to ski and snowboard. Special Olympics of Michigan also had strong participation in the Polar Plunge on Saturday and Sunday, supporting a great cause and are projecting donations to hit more than $15,000. An additional $15,000 in revenue will be received by Matrix Human Services, making total non-profit contributions generated by the festival to be $30,000.
“We want to thank everyone who came to the festival and donated food items for admission,” said Brad Coulter, president of Matrix Human Services. “The dollars are critical, and the food collected will stock an entire storeroom and provide food for those in need in the area. We are so proud to be part of a festival that gives back to the community in a big way.”
Festival attractions had record participation with thousands of people enjoying many activities inside the festival footprint. The Meridian Winter Slide had more than 8,500 riders this year, while the MetroPCS Zip Line Adventure in its new location on Woodward Avenue saw a big spike with 1,700 riders, which is 25 percent higher from 2017 and was the highest number of riders since its debut four years ago.