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Winter at Valade – Detroit Riverfront Conservancy

If you are looking for some outdoor winter fun this weekend then check out The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s family-friendly “Winter at Valade” celebration. The event will feature ice sculptures, live local music, hands-on activities and make-and-take crafts, as well as marshmallow roasting, giant outdoor fireplaces, and food and drink. The December 18-20 celebration is free and the first of four this season at Robert C. Valade Park that feature expanded activities in addition to those taking place every weekend through February 28.

winter at valade celebration

Winter at Valade Celebration

Robert C. Valade Park is located at 2670 East Atwater along the East Riverfront in downtown Detroit.  Every weekend features hands-on activities and winter games. Some activities include curling on synthetic ice and box hockey.  The “Sled Shed” will be open when it snows to lend out free sleds for visitors to use on the hills at Valade Park. 

Several giant outdoor fireplaces are placed throughout the park to help keep guests warm.  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.

Ice Sculpture Theme at Winter at Valade Celebration

While every weekend this winter will feature programming at the park, this weekend kicks off the first of four special themed celebrations that feature even more activities and programming.  This weekend’s “Ice Sculpture” theme will feature 10 ice sculptures by Metro Detroit-area artists, including several interactive sculptures for fun photo opportunities.  There will also be live local music and make-and-take crafts.

The hours for Winter at Valade this weekend are 5 until 9 PM on Friday, December 18. Noon until 9 PM on Saturday, December 19. Noon until 7 PM on Sunday, December 20.  For more information, visit detroitriverfront.org.

Delicious Food and Seasonal Drinks on the Menu

There will be no shortage of delicious food and drink 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 as well as 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.

Other themed weekends include:

January 15-17             Fire & Ice Tower and Live Music
January 29-31             Ice Carving Festival
February 12-14           Carriage Rides and Valentine’s Day Celebration

Local Musicians will Perform Holiday Music

Music plays a major role every weekend with performances by DJs or musical artists.  This weekend, several local artists will perform holiday music. 

Friday, December 18
6:00-7:00 PM                          Dan Tillery                   (Singer with Acoustic Guitar)
7:00 -8:00 PM                          Jill Govan                     (Singer with Acoustic Guitar)

Saturday, December 19
2:00-3:00 PM                          Pretty Strings                (Violin) 
3:00-4:00 PM                          Mike Ward &  Judy Brown                 (Singers with Acoustic Guitar)
4:00-5:00PM                           Mark Reitenga               (Singer with Acoustic Guitar)
5:00-6:00PM                           Kari Holms                      (Singer with Acoustic Guitar)
6:00-7:00 PM                          Julianne Ankley            (Singer with Acoustic Guitars)
7:00-8:00PM                           SaxAppeal                      (Saxophonist)

Sunday, December 20
2:00-3:00 PM                          Will Cyprian                    (Saxophonist)
3:00-4:00 PM                          Keynote Sisters              (Singers with Acoustic Guitar)
4:00-4:45 PM                          Sam Van Wagoner        (Singer with Acoustic Guitar)
5:00-5:20 PM                          Lori Flynn                     (Singer with Tracks)
5:30-6:00 PM                          Alise King                        (Singer with Keyboardist)