Cold Snappin’

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Winter Blast keeps packing them in

Metro Detroiters brave frigid temperatures to be part of the fun

Super Bowl XL?

That was nice, but SO last year.

The tens of thousands of people who pulled on snow pants and snuck hand warmers inside their gloves to venture into the core of the city on Saturday for the Winter Blast proved that metro Detroiters don’t need a big game to party in the cold.

Jim Allor, 61, of Plymouth, was undeterred by temperatures in the low 20s as he pointed his Canon camera at snowboarders riding rails and doing jumps on a manmade hill.

“The city is coming alive,” says Allor. “And I want to be a part of it.”

He had a lot of company.

The Blast had started with strong crowds on Friday, trickled down when wind and darkness hit (though hundreds of people took part in the ongoing MetroPCS Dine in the D program, which offers 15-30% discounts on about 60 restaurants), and really packed in people all day Saturday, though unlike last year, there was enough space for everyone to move around comfortably.

Brenda Savoy, 29, of Macomb Township, recently moved back to the Detroit area after a decade in the military and wanted her three kids to check out the activity downtown for their first-ever Blast.

“This is wonderful,” says Savoy, who was roasting marshmallows at Campus Martius. “It just brings everyone together and reverses the images people have of Detroit. It’s not all negative. There are a lot of positives going on.”

The long lines showed it.

For most of the day and evening, the wait to go down the Michigan.Org Snow Slide stretched to well over an hour, the dog sled line was two hours and the line for skating was at least a half hour.

So, if you’re planning to head to the last day of the Winter Blast today, go early for the best chance of avoiding a super-long wait. The Blast runs from 10 a.m.- 9 p.m.

Contact ERIN CHAN at 313-222-6696 or echan@freepress.com.

Copyright © 2006 Detroit Free Press Inc.

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~ by Keith A. Owens on February 13, 2007.

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