Downtown Detroit's Winter Blast has grown. The annual festival, now dubbed Quicken Loans Winter Blast, is entering its 14th year, and will now be spread over four weekends — up from its previous incarnation as a three-day event.
Additionally, organizers announced on Wednesday that the event will now be free to attend. (The last event cost $3 to attend, or one donated canned food item.)
"By opening the event to everyone, free of charge and without fences and barriers, this winter celebration will help create an inclusive environment that encourages people to explore and discover all that Detroit has to offer," Quicken Loans' Vice President of Strategic Investments Helen Johnson said in a press release.
The event will be held over four weekends in 2019: Jan. 19–21, Jan. 25–27, Feb. 8–10, and Feb. 15–17. The first weekend, timed to coincide with the North American International Auto Show, will run Saturday through Monday, while the rest will run Friday through Sunday.
Expect the festival's typical wintry activities, like ice skating, ice sculptures, marshmallow roasting, the big Winter Slides, and a "Polar Plunge" to benefit the Special Olympics. As in past years, there will also be food trucks, live music, and a zip line.
Ice skating at the rink at Campus Martius will be free Jan. 19–21 and Feb. 15–17. Otherwise, it will be $10 for adults and $8 for children under 12 and seniors, with skate rentals at $5.
Live music acts have not yet been announced, but organizers say the festival will include a DJ showcase from Movement Music Festival. Participating food trucks include Beans & Cornbread, Taste of Nawlins, Bigalora, the Nosh Pit, Chick a D, Fortune Cookin', and Imperial Ferndale, among others.
Activities vary each weekend; the full schedule is available at winterblast.com.