Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s ‘Winter At Valade’ Celebration Continues With Upcoming Fire & Ice Festival

This weekend features a 12-foot fire and ice sculpture, techno music, kids dance party, outdoor fireplaces,  food and drink, games, sledding and marshmallow roasting.


The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s family-friendly “Winter at Valade” celebration continues with a Fire & Ice Festival featuring techno music this Friday through Sunday.  The January 15-17 celebration is free and part of the Conservancy’s winter programming that takes place every weekend at Robert C. Valade Park through February 28, according to a press release.

Robert C. Valade Park is located at 2670 East Atwater along the East Riverfront in downtown Detroit.  Since launching in December, the “Winter at Valade” celebrations have been enjoyed by hundreds of visitors each weekend.

A 12-Foot Fire & Ice Sculpture Lights up the Sky on Saturday

One of the most visual and exciting elements of the weekend will surely be the dramatic lighting of a 12-foot ice sculpture along the bridge overlooking Valade Park, according to the release. The lighting of the “Fire & Ice” sculpture begins promptly at 7 p.m., and visitors interested in witnessing the spectacle are encouraged to arrive by that time because once the sculpture is lit, it will not stay up for long due to melting.


Techno Music All Weekend with a Kids Techno Dance Party on Saturday

The pulsating sounds of techo will be bumping throughout the park all weekend long with jams spun by local DJs.  Children can get in on all the fun with their very own techno dance party on Saturday afternoon from 2 to 5 p.m.  A limited number of lighted jewelry will be available for free all weekend long to help get visitors into the techno spirit.


The techno schedule includes:


Friday, January 15

6 to 9 p.m.                   DJ Shea


Saturday, January 16

2 to 5 p.m.                  Kids Dance Party with DJ Etta

6 to 9 p.m.                   DJ 5th DIM


Sunday, January 17

2 to 6 p.m.                  DJ 5th DIM

Other highlights for visitors to enjoy throughout the weekend include a variety of ice sculptures made by local artists, marshmallow roasting stations, giant outdoor fireplaces, sledding on the hills of Valade Park, fun games like box hockey and curling and delicious food and drink.

Additionally, Conservancy volunteers have free gloves and hand-warmer pouches available for guests during select hours.

The safety of all riverfront visitors is of paramount concern to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, so social-distancing protocols will be in place for all activities during “Winter at Valade.”  Additionally, the Conservancy requires that all guests wear masks when not eating or drinking and to practice social distancing at all times.

Additional Themed Weekends This Winter

While every weekend this winter has programming at the Valade Park, there are two special themed celebrations that feature even more activities and programming.

Upcoming themed weekends include:


January 29-31             Ice Carving Festival

February 12-14           Carriage Rides and Valentine’s Day Celebration

Food and drink are on the menu this and every weekend during “Winter at Valade.”  Bob’s Barge will feature hot seasonal alcoholic and non-alcoholic classics for purchase like hot chocolate and cider and Granny’s Hot Toddys.  Marshmallow kits for roasting at the park will also be available for purchase.


Since opening several months ago, the two eateries operating out of The Shed at Valade Park have gained quite a following among Detroiters.  Smokey G’s menu includes pulled pork, brisket, ribs, macaroni and cheese and other delicious items.  The menu of Geisha Girls Sushi features crab Rangoon, shrimp tempura, Panko chicken tenders and more. Both eateries are open Wednesday through Sunday from Noon to 8 p.m. year-round.

Since the pandemic began, the Riverwalk has seen a 20% increase in usage, while the Dequindre Cut has seen a 40 percent increase.  The Conservancy team is looking forward to continuing to provide public space for people to enjoy safely during these challenging times.

“Entertainment options are typically limited during the winter, especially during this pandemic,” said Rachel Frierson, director of programming in the press release. “The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy is proud to offer people throughout our community the opportunity to get outside and enjoy themselves in a safe, fun environment where socially-distancing protocols are in place.”


The hours for Winter at Valade this weekend are 5 to 9 p.m on Friday, January 15; Noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, January 16; and Noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday, January 17.

For more information, visit


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