Downtown Detroit’s dazzling Christmas tree looks magical from any angle – more than 19,000 twinkling LED lights and sparkling ornaments combine to give the 60-foot Michigan-grown Norway spruce its multicolored glow. Rock Ventures digital media associate Stevie Soul decided to capture the official tree-lighting ceremony in Campus Martius from a different perspective: high above the crowd of more than 25,000 people. Soul was perched 15 stories above the crowd, while they counted down to the moment when Quicken Loans CEO Bill Emerson flicked the switch to bring the stunning tree to life.
“I love documenting special moments in Detroit, and I’m always thinking about unique angles and locations to do so,” Soul explained. “It was just breathtaking to witness that huge crowd counting down, and to watch the tree light up from that perspective. It was really powerful!”
The thousands of people seen in the aerial photo look like specks of color and tiny points of light spilling out into the plaza and onto the street. The shot is wide enough to show the skating rink, portions of several buildings, and lit trees around Campus Martius with the Salvation Army red kettle. It’s a picturesque scene people can enjoy now, and all winter long, as part of the Quicken Loans Season of Winter Magic.
“The tree lighting is one of the best events in the city,” Soul said. “It sets the tone for the whole season, and it definitely puts you in the holiday spirit.”
A host of performers, including Olympic gold medalist Ekaterina Gordeeva and American Idol runner-up Jena Irene, entertained the crowd at the tree-lighting celebration, along with various skating clubs, church choirs, street performers and bands. There were food trucks, horse-drawn carriage rides, children’s activities and even some early Santa sightings. WXYZ-TV also held a special live broadcast from Campus Martius during the big event. Nearby, construction is being completed on the TV station’s new glass studio at Chase Tower (the Qube), which will soon be the site of weekday noon newscasts.
The fun is just getting started – there’s everything from ice skating to holiday shopping, and so much more! Check out the rundown of events below and remember this: downtown Detroit is the place to be for winter magic!
Campus Martius Ice Rink
The ice rink is open daily, now until Sunday, March 1. Skate rental is $3, and admission is $8 for adults and $7 for children.
Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
Rides are available on weekends, now until Sunday, Dec. 28. They cost $10 for adults and $5 for children.
Jugglers, stilt walkers and fine artists will dazzle the crowds around Campus Martius every weekend until Sunday, Dec. 28.
Somerset Collection CityLoft – First National Building (660 Woodward Ave.)
Here’s an opportunity for one-stop holiday shopping in the D! The Somerset Collection will bring 40 retailers to the First National building (660 Woodward Ave.), ranging from Gucci to Gap. This attraction will be open from Dec. 3–23, from 10 a.m. – 7p.m.
NEW THIS SEASON:
Santa’s Wonderland – First National Building (660 Woodward Ave.)
For a $5 donation, children will receive five “gold” coins to buy gifts wrapped on-site. While the kids shop, parents get complimentary coffee at Roasting Plant. All proceeds benefit the Children’s Tumor Foundation. This attraction will be open from 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Dec. 3–23.
This heated tent offers festive food and entertainment reflecting the best of the D, including The Whitney, Ottava Via, Slows Bar BQ, The RattleSnake Club, La Feria Spanish Tapas Restaurant, and more. Small plates range from $4–$8. This showcase will be open in Cadillac Square Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 20, from 4 p.m. – midnight.
Rinkside Bar – Atwater Brewery
The Rinkside Bar will be open Thursday, Nov. 28 – Saturday, Jan. 3, providing cozy seating with heaters, drinks and a view of the rink.
The Snowman Collection presented by Somerset Collection
Twenty-five designer snowmen decked out in Somerset Collection retailers can be found under a 30-foot “igloo” in Cadillac Square. This attraction will be open daily from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., now through Dec. 23.
For more information, go to: CampusMartiusPark.org.