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Monday, 22 December, 2008 11:09 PM

A smaller Winter Blast is set for Feb. 6 - 8 in Downtown Detroit

PHOTO BY VINCE DERY / ©AMERICAJR.com

Jon Witz, Martin Beatty, Ken Cockrel Jr., Robert Ficano and Malik Goodwin.

by Vince Dery
vinnied13@prodigy.net

 

DETROIT -- On the morning of December 17, I attended the press conference which was called to announce the status of Detroit's Winter Blast for 2009. It started at 11 a.m. and was held in the lobby of the Compuware headquarters.

Jon Witz, the events producer and President of Jonathan Witz & Associates, began the press conference to announce that their would be a 2009 Detroit Winter Blast at Campus Martius Park on Friday, February 6 through Sunday, February 8, but it would be "downsized" for 2009 with a proposed budget reduction for this event in the amount of $750,000 in relation to the 2008 Detroit Winter Blast total budget. These words are most amazing in a governmental setting in which budgets continually increase in most circumstances.

A diagram of the 2009 event was presented and Mr. Witz outlined some of the changes as follows:

  1. There will not be a 200-foot long snow slide (the most costly item of this event) nor snowshoeing
  2. The number of DTE Energy Comfort Zone tents will be reduced from six to two plus the Compuware lobby will be open for this event.
  3. Food from restaurants and caterers will be reduced from almost 50 businesses in 2008 to 10 in 2009.
  4. The Winter Blast will close one hour earlier than 2008, thus giving participants time to enjoy a new event for 2009 -- The Bar Blast, a tour of downtown Detroit night spots.

Recurring events are as follows:

  1. FREE ice skating, as well as professional and amateur ice skating exhibitions and ice sculptures featured
  2. FREE entertainment on three stages and over 50 acts
  3. The Arts and Crafts area sponsored by Meijer
  4. Wine tasting

Detroit Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. and Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, both strong supporters of this event, agreed to be Co-Chairs of it, and each spoke at the press conference of their approval of it. Mayor Cockrel stressed the need of cintinuin the Detroit Winter Blast for the good of the community, and postponing it for a year would not be in the best interest of the city of Detroit.

Also speaking in support of the 2009 Detorit Winter Blast was Malik Goodwin, Project Manager at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation on behalf of his boss George Jackson, President of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation who could not attend. Marvin W. Beatty, minority owner and interim CEO of Greektown Casinos followed Mr. Goodwin with his support of the event.

In summary, Jon Witz stressed that due to the hard economic times presently in Detroit and the respective downsizing, past years contributors were approached and were asked if they could contribute 50 percent of what they contributed for the 2008 Winter Blast. Presently $50,000 is still needed to meet the 2009 Detroit Winter Blast budget. Further details on the 2008 Detroit Winter Blast will be forthcoming in mid-January 2009.

 

 

PHOTO BY VINCE DERY / ©AMERICAJR.com

Detroit Mayor ken Cockrel Jr. addresses the media.

 

PHOTO BY VINCE DERY / ©AMERICAJR.com

A close-up of festival producer Jonathan Witz.

 

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