With 50 venues showcasing 100 different performances in just a few hours, the University Cultural Center Association’s 37th annual Noel Night will proceed at its usual breakneck pace.
Thousands will descend upon Detroit’s Midtown beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday for the FREE festival, which showcases the historic churches, museums, edgy galleries and unique boutiques that light up up the neighborhood.
“People have to come back every year to experience everything,” says event coordinator Njia Kai. “We encourage people to try to plan ahead since there is so much to see.”
Although Noel Night is now celebrating its 37th year, there are still many who have never experienced it for themselves. “We look forward every year to new audiences finding their way to experience this joyous occasion in Midtown,” Kai says. “This is one of the feel-good events in Detroit. It really speaks to the community.”
What sets Noel Night apart from other local festivals is that, well, it’s in December, which in Detroit means that the weather is typically cold. Those who attended last year still have memories frozen in their minds of braving the bitter cold and bracing winds while tromping between venues through two-foot snow drifts.
But ahh, ‘tis the season, as they say, and Noel Night isn't any less popular because of the sometimes brutal Michigan weather. “Because of the nature of the holiday celebration, folks still come out in the snow and in the cold,” Kai explains. She expects says about 25,000 people this year.
Another element that makes Noel Night unique is its Midtown location. As the the cultural and intellectual hub of the city (Detroit Institute of Arts, Wayne State University, Detroit Medical Center, Detroit Public Library, etc.), it makes sense that the culturally-rich festival comprises the singularly savvy vibe of Midtown.
In fact, Noel Night is a celebration of everything that makes Midtown so unique. It is a celebration of the cultural and artistic strengths of the community, as well as a celebration of its diversity.
“This is an opportunity to explore the many treasures in Midtown -- the colleges, churches, museums, galleries, businesses, and other institutions that join in to make this a special event,” Kai adds. “It is a multi-cultural experience in which people can explore our neighborhood and our diverse community.”
Expect everything from violin trios to flutists, an 11-piece Cuban salsa and timba group, Brazilian and African dance troupes and PuppetART Theatre.
If that’s not enough, there also will be choral performances, literary readings, children’s activities, crafts, blacksmithing, a petting zoo, art exhibits and crepes. And don’t forget that an ice-sculpting contest and horse-drawn carriage rides are also part of the celebration.
Take special note this year of:
- Thornetta Davis at the Detroit Public Library at 7:45 p.m.
- A Christmas tree sale outside Wayne State University’s Old Main Building starting at 5 p.m.
- The evening ends the traditional way with a sing-along on Woodward between Kirby and Farnsworth accompanied by the Salvation Army Brass Band.
“We encourage people to try to plan ahead since there is so much to see; we don’t want anyone to miss something they were really excited about!”
For the full schedule of events, click: 37th annual Noel Night