City to host Leap Year Winter Festival

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published February 17, 2016

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SOUTHFIELD — To celebrate a day that only graces calendars once every four years, the city of Southfield is hosting its first-ever Leap Year Winter Festival.

From 2 to 6 p.m. Feb. 28, the day before Leap Day, the city invites residents for family-friendly, winter-themed activities at the Southfield Pavilion, 26000 Evergreen Road. Following the festival, at around 6:15 p.m., fireworks will be shot off from Evergreen Hills Golf Course.

Admission and parking for the event are free. The event will include children’s games and crafts, an inflatable obstacle course and moonwalk, a clown, ice and wood carving demonstrations, and the Southfield Fire Department’s fire safety house. Food will be available for purchase.

Southfield Parks and Recreation Cultural Arts Programmer David Duchene said the festival is a way to get cooped-up residents out of the house.

“I think — for so many of us living in this part of the country — by now, we’re pretty sick of it all. I think any of us who live here, even though we know this is how the weather goes every year, we’re all just a little tired of being stuck inside,” Duchene said. “It’s the same grind, same routine, and we’re all kind of chomping at the bit for spring.”

According to organizers, the reason behind having the festival in the dead of winter is two-fold: to celebrate winter and the leap year, and to bring back fireworks to the city of Southfield.

Over the last several years, Community Relations Director Michael Manion said, the city has had to do away with a long-standing tradition of summer fireworks due to budget concerns. The fireworks will cost the city around $9,500, he said.

“Fireworks are a lot more affordable in the winter months, and costs are down,” Manion said. “A more realistic way to (do fireworks) is to tie it in together with family fun activities related to winter and the leap year.”

Once the festival wraps up, attendees can head outside to the plaza between the court and the Police Department to view the fireworks.

Duchene said that if it’s not dark by 6:15 p.m., event organizers may delay the fireworks by a few minutes. The sun is reportedly slated to set around 6:19 p.m. that day.

“We might wait a little bit, but we’re not going to wait until midnight,” Duchene said. “If we wait, it’ll only be long enough so that they can be appreciated more.”

The Southfield Fire Department will be standing by for safety precautions.

Duchene said that hopefully the event will be a way to get in some family bonding time.

“We encourage people to get the family together and come out,” he said.

Manion said the majority of the costs for the festival will be from overtime for police officers and firefighters to make sure the festival runs safely and smoothly. He also said some funding for vendors will come from corporate sponsors. It will cost the city around $22,350, he said.

For more information, call the Parks and Recreation Department at (248) 796-4620.

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