Royal Oak officially becomes new home of Winter Blast for 2022

The Winter Blast's new 2022 home was officially announced as Royal Oak on Wednesday after the city's downtown development authority approved the event today.

Organizers announced that the festival will return with a new home, name and logo. Winter Blast Royal Oak presented by the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort will take place Friday, Feb. 4 through Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022, in downtown Royal Oak and will have free admission.

It was previously held in Downtown Detroit, but did not have enough sponsorship to happen in 2021 and was suspended for 2020 due to the pandemic.

"I want to thank the City of Royal Oak and the Royal Oak DDA for providing critical funding to continue this great winter tradition, and we’ll have an exciting new layout and plans to announce in the coming weeks," said Jon Witz, Winter Blast Royal Oak festival producer. "Winter Blast is a celebration of winter experiences, dining, live music and family fun. Attendees can expect the same wonderful winter-themed attractions they’ve come to know and look forward to over the years, as well as some new programming."

The inaugural Winter Blast Royal Oak presented by Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort will include winter-themed experiences, family activities, a local music showcase with much more. All of the festivities will take place east of Main Street and south of 11 Mile Road, mainly near the Royal Oak Farmers Market and surrounding the new Centennial Park.

The Royal Oak Farmers Market located at 316 E. Eleven Mile Rd. will transform its western parking lot into a frozen ice rink, giving festivalgoers the opportunity to enjoy free ice skating – a favorite winter pastime that also is a great way to get in some exercise. Skate rentals will be available for a nominal fee.
The legendary winter slide will be revived at the event, sending riders through a dark tube at up to 20 mph and dropping them at a 40-degree angle. There also is a 30-degree drop slide for children, and those who like their adventure at a gentler pace.

An Ice Garden will showcase plenty of carved sculptures, as well as interactive pieces like seats and benches that make for great photo ops. To see how these unique creations are made, carvers will be on hand providing attendees ice carving demonstrations.

Also returning will be the thrills and outdoor chills of the world’s longest mobile zip line, as the 300-foot long, 34-foot high zip line will make its way to Royal Oak as a feature attraction with discussions taking place with city officials for the right spot to have patrons flying through the air and the downtown.
Festivalgoers will have an opportunity to stay warm inside one of the many Warming Zones inside heated tents, as well as at one of the many roasting stations located throughout the festival area. Marshmallow and s’more kits will be available for purchase.

Another returning feature to the festival is the Food Truck Rally, featuring nearly a dozen of the hottest and tastiest food businesses on wheels that will offer a large selection of mouth-watering and creative cuisine sure to please everyone’s taste buds. Additionally, downtown Royal Oak’s award-winning, walkable community offers a variety of dining and beverage venues that festivalgoers can support before, during and after attending Winter Blast.

A full lineup of fun for children will be offered in the Family Zone. It will feature free, hands-on arts and crafts activities and a Kids Stage with live entertainers to keep youngsters both engaged and entertained.

"For Royal Oak, cold weather means a new hot festival. We are thrilled to bring Winter Blast to downtown Royal Oak and have our city’s residents and families from all over metro Detroit embrace its seasonal offerings," said Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier. "We anticipate the event to be safe and enjoyable for all and for it to also have a positive economic impact on our downtown businesses. This is an opportunity to start a new winter tradition right here in Royal Oak, a destination for year-round festivals."

In addition, discussions are ongoing with stakeholders to bring back the popular learn to ski and snowboard experience. An announcement on the return of this great attraction is expected early next month.

Winter Blast is known for showcasing dozens of metro Detroit’s most talented up-and-coming and longtime favorite local musical acts, and this year is no different. A wide range of genres will be represented and live DJs also will be featured.
Winter Blast Royal Oak’s complete entertainment and music lineup will be announced at a press event on Jan. 11.

Admission to Winter Blast Royal Oak is free and open to the public from 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, Feb, 4; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5; and 11 a.m.- 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6.

Royal Oak parking will operate as it normally does. The parking structures will offer two hours of free parking and is only $.75 per hour after that.