Music, Food & Ice: Winter Festivals in Downtown & Metro D

By: Toni Cunningham | January 6, 2014

Winter in Michigan leaves a lot to be desired. Personally, I’m not a fan of doubling the time of my morning commute, wearing three layers of sweatshirts both inside and outside of the house, or sloshing around in heavy boots all day long.

While there are plenty of winter aspects to complain about, let’s keep that New Year’s resolution of optimism alive! Sure, it may be below zero out, but that just means you can spend your spare time attending one of many winter festivals in Metro Detroit, where you’ll find winter sports, ice sculptures and all things snowy to delight in.

Grab your parka, a friend, and about eight pairs of socks and get ready to mark these events on your calendar!

The Plymouth Ice Festival will be held in Downtown Plymouth on Friday, January 10 through Sunday, January 12. The weekend-long festival will be packed full of events including a college student ice carving competition, a family fun zone, warming tent, festival food, and of course, tons of ice sculptures!

If your new vow to eat healthy prohibits you from chowing down on an elephant ear, popcorn or roasted almonds, there are plenty of great restaurants in the downtown area where you can satisfy your hungry stomach.

Rochester’s Fire & Ice Festival will take place on Friday, January 24 through Sunday, January 26. Admission to the festival is free, and includes activities like fireworks, snow shoeing, skiing, dog sled races, ice sculptures, food and more.

This year, a 5K race will take place on Sunday, January 26, for those of you who are still fulfilling your promise to hit the gym. A food truck rally will be held on Friday and Saturday including local favorites like El Guapo and The Mac Shack.

The Ferndale Blues & Music Festival will be held Friday, January 24 through Saturday, February 1. The event will feature music by local jazz musicians, and over 20 different venues in the area will put on events throughout the week.

What’s great about this festival is that 100 percent of the proceeds are donated to local charities. Plus, throughout just one week, you’ll have the opportunity to take in over 60 different concerts!

Check the website provided for official program information and prices.

TigerFest 2014 takes place on Saturday, January 25, and while the event is sold out, you can still get your hands on general admission tickets via StubHub. Tigers’ players and coaches will be present at the event, and there will be plenty of activities for families.

The 37th Annual Ann Arbor Folk Fest is another music festival, which runs from Friday, January 31 through Saturday, February 1 at The Ark. The festival begins at 6:30 p.m. both nights and features folk and roots music.

Headliners include Iron & Wine and Neko Case on Friday, and Ingrid Michaelson and Jeff Daniels on Saturday. Tickets cost $35 to $155 and can be purchased online via the Michigan Union Ticket Office.

The full lineup and additional information can be found on The Ark’s official website.

Motown Winter Blast will be held in Downtown Detroit on Friday, February 7 through Sunday, February 9.  The event includes music, free ice skating at Campus Martius, a 30 ft. snow slide, ice sculptures, marshmallow roasting, dog sledding and more!

For “great times & cool events,” Motown Winter Blast is the place to be.

West Bloomfield’s Winterfest is a single day event held on Saturday, February 8 at Marshbank Park. The family-friendly event includes ice sculptures, cardboard sled races, sled sprints, a snowman-building contest, and even appearances by reindeer!

The fun begins at 1 p.m. and goes until 4 p.m., and while the event is free, refreshments and snacks will be available for purchase.

Aqua Freeze Festival will be held in St. Clair Shores on Friday, February 21 through Sunday, February 23. The fun includes ice carving, ice bowling, a Friday fish fry, pasta dinner on Saturday, and a polar plunge.

Nothing says “fun winter activities” like hopping into a body of freezing cold water and catching hypothermia! At least the $25 participation fee goes towards future Aqua Freeze Festivals.

There are obviously tons of fun winter activities taking place in the D within the next few weeks. That leaves no excuse for boredom or seasonal affective disorder! Get out there and have a (snow) ball.