The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s popular Winter at Valade activation, which features free family-friendly programming at Robert C. Valade Park every weekend this season, continues with a Fire & Ice Festival featuring a medieval theme and a techno dance party on January 14-16. The Fire & Ice Festival is presented by Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort.
The medieval theme includes live musical entertainment, fire dancers, renaissance faire-inspired roaming characters, blacksmith demonstrations and photo opportunities with ice sculptures, including a six-foot tall iron throne made of ice and dragons.
The event will also feature lots of ways to warm up such as an all-day techno dance party with neon giveaways. Additionally, the Fire & Ice Festival includes an ice carving competition, the lighting of a seven-foot-tall fire and ice sculpture, inflatable axe throwing and smoked turkey legs for purchase.
Presented by Huron-Clinton Metroparks, Winter at Valade started in December and offers visitors to Valade Park a plethora of winter fun every weekend through February 27, featuring oversized outdoor fires, marshmallow roasters, hot seasonal alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, delicious food, sledding, synthetic ice curling and great programming from fitness classes to dog walking for all ages every weekend.
The Fire & Ice Festival is the second of five special themed weekends during the Winter at Valade celebration in which the Michigan winter is re-imagined through ice sculptures, cultural events, live music and more. Upcoming enhanced themed weekends include:
January 28-30 Winter Around the World, presented by Visit Detroit
February 11-13 Motown Love
February 25-27 Mardi Gras at Valade
Robert C. Valade Park is located at 2670 East Atwater along the East Riverfront in downtown Detroit. The hours for Winter at Valade each weekend are 4 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Ice Sculptures Play a Starring in Role in Festival
The Fire & Ice Festival will feature an ice carving competition showcasing the creations from local artists vying for a chance to be named best in show as voted by event attendees. Saturday’s programming is highlighted by the dramatic lighting of a seven-foot ice sculpture at 7:15 p.m. Additionally, a large six-foot iron throne carved from ice will provide visitors with photo opportunities all weekend.
Live Music on Friday and Sunday and an All-Day Techno Party on Saturday
An eclectic selection of medieval and Celtic music performed by live artists will provide a fun and whimsical renaissance faire-themed atmosphere to the festival on Friday and Sunday.
On Saturday, an all-day techno dance party from 1 to 9 p.m. with separate times for children and adults will provide attendees with the chance to vibe out to some pulsating tunes and dance those winter blues away. Free glow and neon jewelry will be available for guests.
Guests to the Fire & Ice Festival on Saturday and Sunday will be able to enjoy watching an authentic blacksmith create a variety of metal objects using fire, steel, an anvil and a selection of hammers.
Strolling Costumed Characters in Renaissance Attire on Sunday
Members from Michigan Renaissance Festival will be decked out in their finest and most authentic medieval and renaissance faire attire and will stroll throughout Valade Park on Sunday afternoon. Also that afternoon, Elsa from Disney’s Frozen will be available for free photo opportunities with children.
The daily schedule is as follows:
Friday, January 14
Live music with Celtic Isle 4 – 5 p.m.
Live music with Black Murray 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Flames & Dames Fire Dancers 6:45 – 7:45 p.m.
Live music with Billy Grogan’s Goat 8 – 9 p.m.
Saturday, January 15
Kids Techno Party with DJ Seoul & Neil V 1 to 5 p.m.
Ice Carving Competition 1 – 4 p.m.
Blacksmith demonstrations by Spy Ops 1 – 5 p.m.
Inflatable Axe Throwing 1 – 5 p.m.
Carve the Ice Chunk activity 1 – 5 p.m.
Winter Techno Party with 5th Dimension Detroit 5 to 9 p.m.
Lighting of the Fire and Ice Tower 7:15 p.m.
Sunday, January 16
Live music with the Fairy Godmother of Music 1 – 2 p.m.
Meet and Greet with Elsa from Disney’s Frozen 1 – 3 p.m.
LARP Meet up 1 – 4 p.m.
Roaming Renaissance Performers 1 – 5 p.m.
Blacksmith demonstrations by Spy Ops 1 – 5 p.m.
Live music with Jennifer Westwood
& Dylan Dunbar 2:30 – 3:15 p.m.
Live music with Theandric 3:45 – 4:30 p.m.
Live music with Wakefire 5 – 6 p.m.
Winter at Valade Has Something for Everyone Every Weekend This Season
Every weekend features hands-on activities and winter games, including curling on synthetic ice and box hockey. The “Sled Shed” is sponsored by Chip and Sarah McClure and when weather permits, it will provide free sleds for visitors to use while at the park. Several giant outdoor fireplaces are placed throughout the park to help keep guests warm.
There will be no shortage of delicious food and drink every weekend during Winter at Valade. The Shed Bar 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.
In keeping with the medieval theme, Smokey G’s Smokehouse will feature turkey legs for sale during the festival, in addition to favorites such as pulled pork, brisket, ribs, macaroni and cheese and other delicious items. 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.
The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority announced in 2020 the details of an enhanced partnership that will leverage the unique assets of the two organizations while strengthening regional outdoor recreation opportunities for youth throughout southeast Michigan.
The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy is grateful to all sponsors that are supporting Winter at Valade. Sponsors to date include: Presenting Sponsor: Huron-Clinton Metroparks; Fire and Ice Festival Sponsor: Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort; Winter Around the World Sponsor: Visit Detroit; Sled Shed: Chip and Sarah McClure; Cozy Community Sponsors: Scott M. Delcomyn, Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, Janine Pixley & Bryan Parkhurst, Goyert-Treadwell Family Fund, Matt Grimes & Elle Schroeder, Meijer Rivertown Market, MI Building & Construction Trades, Russell Development Company, Barbara Senatore, Walker-Miller Energy Services, Wendy Lewis Jackson, Scott Wickens and Wolverine Packing. Activity Booklet Sponsors include Banner Sign Co, Detroit Segway and Means Group Inc.
Limited sponsorships are still available. Visit detroitriverfront.org/WinteratValadeSponsorships for more information.
The 2020-21 winter season marked the debut of Winter at Valade programming for the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. The Conservancy team is building upon the successes of last season’s events by bringing back some favorite amenities and introducing new ones as well this season. Holly Jolly Riverfront just this past December was the first enhanced Winter at Valade event this season. More than 3,000 people attended the event.
“The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy is proud to provide a variety of programming for people to enjoy year round,” said Rachel Frierson, director of programming. “We welcomed more than 40,000 people to Winter at Valade last year and we are off to a great start with the tremendous success of Holly jolly Riverfront. We are proud to provide our visitors with opportunities to get outside and enjoy themselves along the Detroit Riverfront this winter season.”
As presenting sponsor of the Fire & Ice Festival, Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort will have a variety of free giveaways and special offers for visitors to the event, including 30 percent off coupons for an overnight stay and credits for on-site dining.
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.
For more information, visit detroitriverfront.org.