For the average American, it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day activities and forget about our troops, especially during the holidays. But for our troops, I can safely say there isn’t a day that goes by when they forget about us back home. So, in the spirit of the holidays, and in honor of those brave servicemen and women, I challenge all of you to do a little something extra to remember our troops during the holidays.
The most wonderful time of the year kicks off Friday, Nov. 16, as Quicken Loans proudly presents the 9th annual Winter Magic season at Campus Martius Park and Woodward Avenue. With a variety of fun events for the whole family, you won’t want to miss a minute of the activity in Detroit this holiday season.
There’s a lot going on downtown and we’ve got you covered with all the details you need to know to make this your most magical holiday season yet.
Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony:
Sitting on top of Campus Martius Park’s fountain, the 55-foot Norway Spruce from Manton, MI will be draped in more than 19,000 LED lights. The festivities begin at 5:00 p.m. and the tree lighting will be closer to 8:00 p.m. Enjoy main stage and on-ice performances from Detroit vocalist KEM, Ben Sharkey, Michigan Philharmonic Orchestra Brass Quintet, Detroit Skating Club, Arctic Figure Skating Club, Metropolitan Opera Theatre Children’s Chorus and more! Presented by DTE Energy Foundation, the grand tree will be in place until January 21.
At 6:00 p.m., The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division Brass Band performs holiday tunes and family favorites, ending with special guests lighting the organization’s signature world’s largest red kettle around 6:35 p.m.
Located on Cadillac Square and patterned after traditional European Christmas markets, nearly 60 Michigan area artists and craftspeople will offer jewelry, fashion, ornaments, photography, art, international gifts and more. From German pastries to T-shirts from the Detroit Mercantile Company, you’ll find unique gifts for everyone on your list. Join Santa’s elves and make candles to take home, cut out snowflakes for a tree to be donated, write letters to Santa and more. Tents are open Nov. 16-18 and Nov. 22-25. For more information and hours, visit ChristmasWonderfest.com.
Around 7:45 p.m., the rink at Campus Martius Park opens with more than 150 skaters. Following the tree lighting, a rink party presented by 93.9FM The River, will feature live music by Nathan Roberts and a rockin’ mix by on-air personality DJ Greg Gnyp. Open skating is available until midnight. The rink, with surround sound music and concession stands, is open daily until March 3, 2013. To find hours and prices for admission and skate rental, visit CampusMartiusPark.org.
Holiday Cheer Garden:
Warm up in the heated Holiday Cheer Garden and enjoy your favorite craft beers, holiday wines, warm winter cocktails, live music, giveaways, activities or catch your favorite sporting events on TVs. Open from 4:00 p.m. to midnight each night of the Christmas Wonderfest. For more information, check out HolidayCheerGarden.com.
E.G. Nicks Winter Magic Eaterie will offer a taste of home for the holidays, complete with Ultimate Mac-n-Cheese, Malted Beer Kettle Chips, Salted Carmel Brownies and many other specialty treats. Popular Detroit food trucks El Guapo Grill, Nick’s Concessions, The Mac Shack and more will also be available. Campus Martius’ year-round favorite, Fountain Bistro, will sell food and drinks at an outdoor sales station with the restaurant opening for indoor service at 9:00 p.m. Concession tents near the ice rink will sell hot chocolate and other goodies to warm you up in between your Olympic triple axel attempts.
Family Fun Activities:
- Santa Arrives: Santa Claus makes a special appearance for the night’s festivities from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. inside the Compuware Atrium. Children of all ages can share their holiday wishes with good St. Nick and receive a candy cane. Photos with Santa are also available for purchase. Acoustic ensembles will be performing holiday music among the atrium’s lighted trees and garland.
- Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides: Take in downtown Detroit’s beautiful holiday lighting; experience street performances and more from the unique vantage point of a beautifully decorated carriage. Tickets are available at the Compuware Headquarters Monroe Street entrance and are $7 for adults and $5 for children. Rides are available from 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. on Nov. 16 and will be offered every weekend until Dec. 22 (Fridays & Saturdays 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and on Sundays from 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.).
- Family Fun Tent & Red Kettle Bounce House: Discover free, interactive, fun activities and games inside a warming tent provided by the Salvation Army from 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- Strolling Mascots: Bring your cameras and snap a few photos of your family with DTE Energy’s Louie the Lightning Bug, Paws from the Detroit Tigers and Roary of the Detroit Lions! They’ll be wandering about from 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- Entertainment: The streets and plazas around Campus Martius and up Woodward Avenue will be animated and filled with music, choirs, street performers and holiday fun every weekend beginning Nov. 16.
Nearly 350,000 lights await you in downtown Detroit! In addition to the Christmas tree, Campus Martius Park will glow with 142,000 LED twinkle lights installed on 80 trees. On the 1200 block of Woodward Avenue, near Somerset Collection’s CityLoft, 32 8-foot high Christmas trees shine with 27,000 LED lights. More than 18,000 new LED twinkle lights drape trees on Woodward Avenue between Campus Martius and Grand Circus Park, and 135,000 lights and snowflakes line the downtown corridor.
Woodward Avenue at Christmastime has brought shoppers to downtown Detroit for decades. It’s no different this year, as Somerset Collection’s CityLoft returns with more than 40 popular stores, plus the Detroit Shoppe, a Michigan artists market, and more! You’ll even find Spinergy, a fitness studio with stationary bikes and Papa Joe’s Snack Rack, a mini-market of products from Papa Joe’s. Right next door, Moosejaw opened a pop-up shop featuring all the goods you need to keep warm this winter season. Open every Thursday – Saturday from Noon – 9 p.m. through Dec. 22, shopping amid the twinkling lights and holiday music is sure to bring back memories.
Taking a picture with Santa at the mall might be a tradition, but seeing him near a 55-foot decorated Christmas tree, ice skaters, hot chocolate, goodies and more are sure to make memories that last! So make your way to the heart of the city and experience some winter magic!