With Thanksgiving right around the corner, area theaters are launching their most festive holiday shows. We plan to attend as many as possible, and report back soon. But first, sharpen your skates and brush up on your wassail songs.
The fun officially begins with an outdoor extravaganza that happens this weekend. On Friday, November 20, the annual Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony at Campus Martius Park (which officially opens the ice skating rink) is capped off with spectacular entertainment by Motown legends the Four Tops. Other headliners include Michigan Opera Theatre Soloist Angela Theis, Detroit favorite Karen Newman , and former world champion and Olympic skater Todd Eldredge.
The 60-foot-tall, Michigan-grown Norway Spruce is a gift to Detroit from sponsor DTE Energy Foundation. Activities begin at 5 p.m., with the Salvation Army Red Kettle lighting at 6 p.m., followed by an hour and half Tree Lighting Ceremony and the big show. The official iHeart Radio Rink Opening Party runs from 9 p.m. to midnight. There will also be complimentary hot chocolate at the DTE Energy Foundation tent and cinnamon rolls in the IKEA warming tent.
This festive event officially kicks off a season of more frosty fun. The “Quicken Loans Season of Winter Magic” transforms the entire Campus Martius area into a winter destination to be enjoyed non-stop, seven days a week, until March 6. This includes the “Showcase D’ Holidays” series – a five-week crowd favorite that features five weekends of Detroit’s top bands, favorite restaurants, and holiday beverages, with new cozy lounges. Also ne this year is the Kidz Zone – a giant heated tent on Cadillac Square hosting science-themed presentations from the Michigan Science Center. There will also be stage performances featuring magic, puppets, and music shows, plus the chance to participate in arts and crafts project. The Kidz Zone is free, and operates Saturdays, November 21 through December 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The event is “With the stunning skyline and thousands of glimmering lights as a backdrop, Downtown Detroit’s spectacular Tree Lighting show and The Rink at Campus Martius Park’s opening party have become the most anticipated holiday family event in the city,” said Robert Gregory, president, Detroit 300 Conservancy. “Downtown Detroit will again transform into a magical winter wonderland, attracting thousands of skaters and visitors who can now experience an entire winter season with an ever increasing array of nearby restaurants, activity and fun.”
There is a long list of activities planned for daytime and evening enjoyment: amazing figure skating demonstrations, open skating and Broomball games; horse-drawn carriages; Street performances by Fire artists, stilt walkers, and carolers; plus a calendar of concert performances by your favorites. For a complete list of happenings, visit the Campus Martius website, their Facebook page, or follow @CampusMartius on Twitter.
Note that admission to The Rink at Campus Martius Park Admission is $8 for adults and $7 for children 12 and under and all those 50 and older; skate rental is $3. The rink is open daily Friday, November 20 through Sunday, March 6. Broomball takes place Monday and Tuesday nights in January and February.
The tree lighting event and related festivities are produced by the Detroit 300 Conservancy, an affiliate of the Downtown Detroit Partnership, with the support of the City of Detroit Parks and Recreation Department.